Wednesday, October 11, 2006


I slept in the living room last night to avoid the noise from the street outside my bedroom window. They are now paving the road they dug up last week, and Monday night I barely slept at all. Last night wasn't that much better, even after taking two Tylenol PMs.

It didn't help that every time I woke up my brain fixated on one or two things that were bothering me: a short story I need to finish by today (!) to email to my writing workshop (the live one), and two stories I need to provide feedback on for my new online writing workshop. I am now taking a master fiction class, which I am hoping will be a more positive experience than my last online class (which, as you may recall, virtually fell apart when our teacher went AWOL for the last several weeks.) It's only been one week and we're in that awkward phase where students are asked to share their bios and answer questions like, "Why do you write?" This class is filled with those who wax poetic on how "writing is like breathing for me" and "if I don't write, I die just a little bit," trying desperately to sound more intense and intellectual than the next. I tried to cut through the bullshit and say that I can't find time to write every day, although I wish I could, but if we're equating it to breathing, well, I've gotten pretty good at holding my breath.

What kept me up at night, though, was one student who arrogantly announced that he hates reading, because everything everyone else writes bores him. You know where this is going, right? He was the first to submit a story for class review, and while I really hoped it wasn't brilliant, I hadn't expected it to be crap. But it was. Probably the worst piece of writing I've read in any online class. It took all of my resolve to finish it, but then to have to put my reactions to it in the form of constructive criticism? Nearly impossible. My immediate reaction is, "Dude, it's apparent you never finished reading a book in your life." The master class requires that you take two advanced fiction classes, so this guy apparently has been through at least two rounds of workshops. I can't believe that nobody has gotten through to him that his arrogance is misplaced, but then again there's this guy and the delusional half of American Idol's wannabes.

Last night I managed to post my comments for that guy's story, and complete another 5 pages to my own story draft, which I probably can finish tonight. I'm hoping that the proximity of these two exercises strengthens my writing (inspired by how much better I am) instead of resulting in some kind of contagious spewing of crap.


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