Near the end of the second-to-last month of 2017 and also near the end of my first semester at Albertus Magnus. I submitted my revision of my original work for The Creative Process for our third and final in-person meeting but due to the professor getting sick, the class was cancelled, so I only received feedback recently. For those days, I usually write comments like I’m going to post them on the forum anyway (and usually do), but the others like to write it in different ways, even take notes on the writing samples they print. It seems like they won’t write them in regular post format and were going to hand their physical notes but I got nothing and I didn’t notice anyone giving an indication they wanted to give me something. I might have to email about that.
We finished Margaret Atwood’s last few chapters in November, covering the relationship between reader and writer and how writers take inspiration from the underworld. It was interesting to read how the former had been interpreted across time, the debates of how intimate it should be, and the talk of how writers use an ideal reader to write. Though I can understand the wariness about fame, I can’t be content to publish works and receive no response. Feedback is what keeps me going. I don’t think about ideal reader much, only concentrating on editing the text itself. If I do think about an Ideal Reader, which for me is an amalgamation of various overemotional reviewers I’ve seen online, it’s more to cackle about how they might react to a story segment to come.
For the last chapter, it was interesting to see how writers connected storytelling to death but I didn’t connect to the conceit that writers write because they want to leave something behind. Writing for me is more a compulsion than anything. I can more believe how the underworld often influences the subject matter of stories, as a theme or source of conflict, and that the past falls under the underworld since even yesterday is dead in a sense and will never be resurrected. All in all, a more philosophical read but still informative.
We moved on to the much shorter Wen Chi’s “The Art of Writing,” a series of poems from an ancient Chinese poet and military person that advises on writing. There was a big preface explaining the poet’s context and that the translation tries to capture the spirit of the poems but like all translations can never be exact. With that caveat in mind, these poems seem to demonstrate that writer experience and struggle is far more common than might be thought, regardless of time and place. There was the expression of fear of not being able to produce any more stories, how starting a writing session might be difficult at first but inspiration will flow into you as go, and that people’s stories are often formed from the stories of the past. There is also some basic writing advice, like to not chase trends, be honest, or not have style overcome substance. Things I have heard before but who knows, I might need that basic advice in the future and so it might be one of the ultra rare college books I have that just don’t gather dust.
I have another paper I need to write before semester’s end. It being the final one, I assumed that it would be twice the length of the five to six pagers we did but judging from the word length, it’ll be around four to five pages and it seems like we can choose or expand on any topic we covered before. I’ll be sure to think about the topic I’ll choose next week, when I’ll have time to write a page a day in time for the due date. But the professor also had a workshop date for that week. Since the date fell on a weekday, I emailed to ask if it was a mistake, but likely due to busy and sick, he fell behind on his forum posts and emails, so it took until today for him to confirm and fix the mistake.
As for the Writing Portfolio class, reviewing one or two works a week as usual but the time to submit my revised work is next week. I remember how hard it was to do two pages a day to get to the six page limit, so I’ve started writing this week with a page a day. I felt a sprout of anxiety in anticipation to starting, as it has been awhile since I made my revision notes to myself and I didn’t know how I was going to get through all those changes. When I actually started, I was slow and stressed, unable to decide if something wasn’t working and then having to erase and rewrite passages all over again to get on the right path. I had the same struggle with writing fanfics. I even fell behind a day. I checked my rewrite notes frequently, to remind myself of a direction to try. Today and yesterday, however, the writing became a bit easier, the direction becoming clearer even if I still hesitated and falling further behind. Still, I’ll press on. I hope I can rewrite and edit a submission that feels right and I can be proud of. ( Cut for babble about Marshall and Thor Ragnorak. Spoilers expected, and a tw for the mention of rape and racism in concern with the historical case Marshall covers )
That’s all I can think to talk about for now. I’m still coughing from a sickness caught last week, so I’ll go for a check-in tomorrow. I hope I can catch up with my writing and end this semester on a high note. At any rate, see you at the end of 2017!