25 January 2012

there ARE downsides.

sometimes, being an english major is REALLY hard.  i’m not trying to write this post just so i can complain... but i’m writing this post so i can complain.  (because i like writing more than i hate writing, i'm limiting myself to three complaints... you're welcome.)
1. in my capstone class (you know, the-one-that-cannot-be-referenced-to), i’m in a class of about fifteen - ten of which i have been in a class with for the last three or four semesters.  and let me say, after almost two years of being together, it is DANG HARD to like someone's work after they've disappointed you and semi-wasted your time multiple times already.  and i never WANT to dislike someone's work.  i know how hard writing can be, i know all of the time, effort, experience, emotions, etc. that (should) go into a single paragraph of writing.  just, sometimes i don't think my peers know this.
2. i never realized, as a freshman, exactly how much pornography i’d be subjected to in a four-year english program.  oh my gracious, A LOT.  you can find it a little bit in the literature courses (my lit professor just told our class yesterday that if we want to be lit censors professionally, we need to be all over our pornography in order to be really good at our jobs), but i’ve seen most of it in my writing classes.  this is reeeeeally hard because i have to give adequate feedback on stories, and if i just skip parts that take up more than fifty percent of a story, there’s not much i can do other than:
um, i liked your wording in the first sentence, it was quite lovely! (i always have to start out with praises in my critiques, and if this is the first thing i praise it's usually the ONLY thing i praise... aka, it was a BAD* story.)
your grammar could use a little work, try reading your stories aloud and you’ll pick those mistakes up better.
try fleshing out your characters more, they’re a little too one-sided.
oh yeah, and this story is trash.
i’m not just talking about a little sex here and there.  that’s unavoidable in the world that is literature, and there are many stories i have read in my lifetime in which the subject or scene is written quite delicately and tastefully.  i just haven’t read any of those in my classes.  it’s all sorts of terrible graphic things, and the worst part is when you hear a classmate say, that’s my thing, i want to write to harlequin romance one day, trashy novels are what i dooh heavens, puh-lease, and you want to razz me for wanting to be a mom instead of a published writer?  get out of my face, right now.  (got slightly aggressive there, sorry.)
3. i covet originality.  but this is a largely unattainable goal, this fact being the most detrimental blockage to my ability or desire to write.  also, knowing that there are a finite number of plots in all of the world’s existence is not helpful or comforting at all  (see here).
but you know what?  sacrifices have to be made.  not everyone can have easy jobs, some people have to take one for the team and do the jobs that are super hard.  and since i’m such a nice person, i’ve been willing to take that bullet.  you’re welcome, people.
in all honesty i love writing.  I REALLY DO.  i know that i mostly seem to complain about writing, and i promise that one day i will write a love note to writing and let you all read it just to show you how much i love it.  it's just, sometimes there are just hard parts that seem to take over the good ones.  and when it’s too hard to be optimistic... well, i complain and do my best to make you feel bad for me.  working?  no??  okay, complaining over.
*yes: a story can be good or bad.
and double yes: creativity CAN be graded.
so there.

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