Wednesday, August 31, 2005


Sometimes, when I'm alone and bored, I get this overwhelming urge to write. Most of the time, it's all a ruse to make passers-by think that I'm busy and somewhat important. I get a lot of silly notions of becoming an acclaimed writer. I don't mean in the sense of becoming an international best-seller (although raking in that much dough would be nice) but rather in the sense of being known to have my own style, my own unique way, of telling a story.

But I can't, for the life of me, write anything worthwhile. In a quest to cure myself of the curse of remaining a newbie writer for life, I determinedly enrolled myself in a creative writing class (CW 10 to be exact). My professor said I had "good command of the language" and that she "appreciates my effort at trying out new and creative ways of presenting time and plot." I think it was her way of being nice while trying to tell me that I'm a genius at dotting my i's and crossing my t's but at the end of the day, I'm the only one who has any idea what I'm talking about.

To complete the course I had to write something to be workshopped by the whole class. Being workshopped meant making a zillion copies of your work, and preparing yourself to watch it be torn apart by the rest of the would-be writers who enrolled in the course. It would undoubtedly be placed under the guise of "constructive criticism". Our professor kept reminding us not to take whatever words were to be exchanged personally. Uh-huh. Sure. As if complete strangers (okay, maybe not COMPLETE strangers) telling me that my work wasn't worth the paper it was written on isn't personal. However, I was willing to take her advice no matter how misguided.

I came prepared on the day my piece was to be workshopped. I was confident. I was more than just a little bit excited. I had written the best piece of literature since the Bible. I was ready to shine and be hailed as a master.

Nobody booed. Nobody made a snide remark. Nobody did much of anything except stare at their desks and think of new ways of shuffling their shoes. Nobody had any idea what I was trying to talk about. Of course, my professor came to save the day with the brilliant question, "How many characters do you have in here?"

It's kind of sad really when all I've ever wanted is to see something I've written truly move somebody.

And so I find myself here with a half-eaten donut and a half-full glass of iced tea, writing to look busy and maybe just a wee bit important as passers-by steal a glance at my direction perhaps wondering what I'm being so intent on. Ha! If only they knew that I've already put Mona Lisa'a smile into words, that I've captured the essence of our existence on paper, that I have created the supreme masterpiece and that after my hard work all I drew from the rest of the world was blank stares.

This is my true story.


_Soulless_ said...

There, there. Let me empathize... I have gone through prose workshops in my undergrad days. Can't say I relished the experience; can't say either that I hated or regretted it. But throughout, and especially in the end, I've repeatedly affirmed what I've suspected since my first CW elective: that the professors were gearing up students to be faithful to the "traditional" way of writing... and yet still contribute novelty. Ehng? Kinda paradoxical. Hmm. Anyway, I never intended to be a published writer; hence, it was not as depressing a future venture as I imagined a career in writing would be. I just... write. *sheepish grin* Guess what I'm trying to say, in a beating-around-the-bush kind of way, is that a certain degree of conformity is a must in prose workshops. (I don't know about poetry workshops, though, since I've never been in one.) Keep us updated with your CW highs and even lows. Will be dropping by from time to time. ^_^

Thank you for the kind words you have graciously left at my poetry site. Much appreciated. ^_^

cargwaps said...

haha! thank you soulless. i saw that experience as somehow funny. i've learned to conform a bit more to the standards that most people have set. but i still enjoy writing in my rather unorthodox ways. and i've decided, that the world isn't ready for the mess that is me. ^__^ thank you for visiting! i truly enjoy your poetry. i'm not so good at reading poetry but when encountered by truly great poetry, it moves my soul and without explanation the words open images and emotions inside me. i love reading and rereading your poetry. but i don't leave to many comments because it takes me a while to finally put into apt words the feelings your poetry evoke. ^_____^

blue rogue said...

i have also been to workshops and i learned but not as much as from that deluge of reflections after a well-earned gasp following each finished piece.

have linked ya. never was one to turn down the appreciation and attention of another fellow writer. your passion will also spurt genius in its wake. and as a disclaimer, my friends and i never consider ourselves as geniuses but i can speak for myself when i say that writing (aside from the only other person in this world who holds my heart in her sleeves) makes me breathe.

i'm looking forward to your creations. :)

Andrea said...

Dear cargwaps:

I am reading very fast your Blog, because I am away from home now, but this attracted my attention, you said:

"I get a lot of silly notions of becoming an acclaimed writer"

Dreams are not silly, and if we really believe in them we can make them come true!!


cargwaps said...

thank you blue rogue for that vote of confidence. ^___^

thank you also for linking me. i didn't expect that. i just really wanted to put a link to your blog. i can say, with just a wee bit of embarassment, that you made my day. (i'm such a child!;p)

more power to you! can't wait to read more of your posts! (especially your poems)

cargwaps said...

andrea, thank you for visiting! yes, dreams aren't silly. but there's this wonderful line from a movie i saw: "A dream isn't a real dream if it comes true."
but i suppose it's more indicative on the efficiency of the language games we play rather than on the fact that our hopes are within reach. ^__^

again, thank you for visiting!

BG said...

Sometimes... I, too, feel like I can't go on without writing.

Max Bouillet said...

The workshops are better in the advanced classes... once you start to get past the people who have to be there to those that want to be there. My minor in college was literature and creative writing (sounds more impressive than it actually was... it was only one poetry workshop, one short fiction workshop, and a whole bunch of early English Literature). It was fun --but I gathered more of my actual style through private experience then through classwork.

cargwaps said...

thank you for dropping by bg! i hope you never do stop writing if that is what stirs you. ^__^

cargwaps said...

hello max! i know what you mean. although i still have a lot of things to go through, most of what i write about and the way that i write about it is mostly from the different things that i've experienced and the way that these have affected me. i suppose what i gained from writing classes is practice and perhaps an audience upon which to test out my pieces. ^__^