Saturday, August 20, 2011

Don't console me. I'm not fishing for compliments, I swear.

I only signed up for Creative Writing because I didn't want to take any sort of painting or drawing class. I burn myself and everything I touch when cooking. Study hall doesn't earn me any graduation credit. I don't aspire to be a mechanic or an engineer. So I chose Creative Writing.

I realize I should be grateful that my upper-middle-class high school even offers all these classes, but I'm starting to regret my choice. I've always fancied myself a writer, and I don't want to shatter that illusion. Fiction I can do half-well, and I've been conditioned to write complex critical and persuasive essays. But the first unit is creative nonfiction, and I'm scared. Scared I'm going to have to reveal how dull my life really is, how I haven't sucked the marrow out of life enough to have any stories worth retelling (I'm too young and too timid), scared that even if I find a suitable topic, my writing will be horrible.

Yes, I've seen this video. But I feel that's really more about writing fiction (that time will come, I will then have similar anxiety. . .). What in hell am I supposed to write about when we were prompted to write 13 short pieces on 13 experiences that were extremely happy, sad, frightening, difficult? Newsflash: This is my life. I spend it in my room, listening to music, reading, and writing. Not writing writing much, either. Writing blogs and tumblr posts. Having an elaborate typed conversation with the inside of my computer to keep my mental health in check. Making half assed passes at my novel. I'm not good at finishing things. (Theoretically, these should ultimately be helping me to improve my craft. But this class is different. Someone is going to have to see this, read it, judge it. Do not want. In the passages I submit, I can't swear or reference memes or use excessive parentheses or just let sentences trail off. Do not want.)

Sure, I occasionally venture out into the real world to get an "education", interact with people, eat. But I'm happiest where I am right now. I'm content, but contentment doesn't lend itself to well-defined, well-described moments. It's a routine state of being and I try to keep it that way. It's my life. Maybe it's dull on the surface, but it's really all I can handle.

Now please excuse me while I go scour previous blog posts for suitable material. (It's not plagiarism if I take it from myself, right?)


Vita said...

Oh man. I know what you mean. I've dreaded every single "write about yourself" assignment ever because my life is so dull. The teachers have normally given the excuse that "you know your life really well so you'll be able to focus on your writing" but almost everyone in the class has the exact same problem.
I don't know how this would make you feel better, but I've got fairly varied grades on the sort of nonfiction creative writing-about-yourself assignments. The highest I got was 100% 'cause I'm pretty sure it was secretly graded more for completion that quality and the lowest was, I think, 80% because I was telling but not showing. Or I didn't let the readers decide the moral of the story for themselves. Or something. I don't know, I don't claim to be a great creative writer, I just think the teacher and I had different views on that sort of thing. I also totally know your feeling of being petrified to show your work to somebody for judgment; that always freaked me out enough that I think it prevented me from really trying anything crazy. The thing I've written that I liked best, my teacher said was too ambiguous (or confusing, or something. It wasn't in a good way, though) so who knows! It's hard to be objective about your own work.
Good luck! On the plus side, it'll be a good exercise in making something interesting out of the mundane! I've always really admired writers who are able to do that. It's certainly possible; I believe in you!!

Alex said...

I have never had this problem so I can't really advise you. But it occurs to me that a good writer can make a story out of anything, as Vita sort of said. Couldn't you right a story about a certain Tuesday night on tumblr? Or the hunt for that book you'd been wanting to read for months?

I have so many stories to do with my life and I love telling them but that's how I started writing.

Anyway, I'm sure it will get somewhat easier as it goes along but I wish you bravery for the first few assignemtns.