Wednesday, April 21, 2004

Sorry I didn't post yesterday. Stuff.

I've been more or less miserable for the past week, as going away to the community college has taken its toll. If I'm not constantly surrounded by people to contrast me, who am I? So, I've been lulling in my room and wanting to cry and playing Mario & Luigi instead. Wonderful.

(Not to mention I should be doing homework. That'll cheer me up. Hydrogen, helium, lithium, beryllium...)

I hate my writing class. Hate it hate it hate it hate it. Our teacher, who has a bald spot capable of harnessing the sun to power several city blocks, will sit at the front of the class and talk about his favorite obscure authors. A typical class session might go like this, no exaggeration:

You know, you might put speaker tags at the end, like most people, but a speaker tag might go in the beginning. Like, "Bob said, 'give me the fucking keys.'" But sometimes, you can just have him make an action, and then say what he's saying, because then we don't need a speaker tag, because we already know it's Bob. So, like, "Bob sighed. 'Where are my fucking keys?'" But, it's good to put in those action words to break up the monotony of the paragraph, you know? Like, if I had to read this paragraph-long monologue, I would just get bored unless there was something like, "Bob threw the glass at Joe. 'Where are my fucking keys?'" But, you know, you don't have to. Remember, some of the best authors do not use speaker tags at all, such as the noted E. Dwight Haisenhoffelobscureaton, who says in his story, "Cheese is the master of all life, except between the hours of 3am and 5pm on Sundays..."

And on and on and on. Dreadful. So, needless to say, my drawing skills have greatly improved. Sadly, it's too late to get a refund, so I'm stuck with Mr. Solar Panel and his hour-long monologues (unbroken by any action on the part of the students; professor, you'd make a crappy story) for de rest of de term. So...

Today, in which I convinced him to have some story sharing (in which we share our stories and get feedback so that we can, you know, improve our writing, what I imagine we signed up to do), so the day was marginally less dreadful. Except... and this is really sad... they are all in their forties, and they really wish they all had been writing since my age.

Jesus. I always thought _I_ had been short-changed educationally... but everybody still needs to ask ME, the seventeen-year-old who writes dumb stories in her spare time, how to get past writer's block and whatnot. (How to get past writer's block: pretend it isn't there. Really. Alternatively, bash your head into the wall until you forget you have it, or put on really obnoxious music that prevents you from thinking about what you're writing. If all else fails, remember that nothing you write could hope to win a Pulitzer in the first draft; just write a bunch of nonsense and sort it out from there. Some of my favorite stories never got past that nonsense stage.) Anyway, somebody asked the teacher "Do you have any tips on getting past writer's block?" and he said, "Try not to edit what you're writing."




He should have said that, not just in the first day, but in the first five seconds of his class. More importantly, it was the first piece of useful information he had given the whole damn time. He loves to talk about speaker tags and dialect words and settings and people and throwing glasses and talking about fucking keys, but if you tried to hold all that in your head while simultaneously writing about Joe and Jane's Fantastic California Adventure or whatever nonsense you happen to be spewing at the time, you would go positively bonkers. Insane," Leticia said, taking a swig from her cherry soda. "Then again, that's just me."
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