OK, so I couldn’t think of a title for today’s blog. There’s a reason for that.
It;s because I am coming into this blog entry completely cold. I don’t have any idea what I will blog about. I don’t even have my usual echoing shadow of a great idea I had earlier then forgot, like usual.
Nope. So I have no intentions, no plan, and no idea what comes next. I’m winging it.
Let’s see if it makes any difference to the end product. I predict it will not. I never follow any plans I make and I never follow the topic I set out to discuss, so all that is really missing is the vague delusion that I know what I’m doing.
I don’t know what I am doing. And I like it that way. There’s great freedom in not knowing what you’re doing. You are free to make it up as you go along and do whatever seems to make sense at the time.
And that keeps things organic, at least for me. Good art is a single living organism, and writing off the cuff aids that.
I couldn’t do all kinds of writing like that. Like, if I was writing an episode of a TV show,. I would have to at least get some idea in my head of where I want to go with it.
But the thing in my head is not an outline. It’s not even words. It exists only as potential in that hyper-concentrated form that creatvity takes before the conscious mind unpacks and expands it into something words can express.
As you know, I can’t do outlines. My creativity only works when the energy of that bundle of potential has only one way out and that is by me actually writing the thing.
If I do an outline or something like it, the energy is released and I lose all interest in actually doing the thing. It’s over, it’s done, it’s in the past.
It’s not how I would prefer to be, but it’s how I am.
I would rather be a master planner who creates massive and marvelous stories that are finely engineered to glittering perfection for maximum impact.
Instead, I am a poor schmuck stuck with a muse that never ever want to look back at what it has done and refine it.
To my muse, that would be as disgusting as re-using a used Kleenex.
Worse, actually, but you get the idea.
And this is kind of a massive handicap for a writer. Nobody publishes first drafts. But it is not something I can overcome by sheer grit and willpower alone.
I need an editor. Someone who can read what I write and take out their red pen and correct everything they see as wrong, preferably with explanations, and then send it back for me to fix.
It’s something I got in VFS, althought there I never had any sense of progress. I had no idea if my thing was getting better most of the time because VFS writing teachers refused to grade things.
I’n serious. We would sometimes get all our assignments back, graded. AFTER the course was over. And even then, you could tell they had graded them in a hurry and with the least effort possible.
In fact, looking back on my VFS education, the whole thing was done in a minimal-effort kind of way,. The teachers clearly saw their job beginning and ending in class and did not want to even think about it outside class.
I know this because I very gently (but unexpectedly) asked a few of them when our assignments would be graded and they gave me a deer in the headlights look and mumbled something then changed the subject.
I honestly feel like the underlying attitude in the Writing facultry at VFS was, “look, they’re really only here to get the piece of paper that says they graduated from here, and they’re gonna get that, so why put in a lot of effort?”
There was only one teacher – one – who was willing to tell us, “no, that’s not good enough, do it again. ”
And I loved that because it was actual actionable feedback instead of the warm wet ocean of vagueness I got everywhere else. It gave me solid input as to what I was doing right and what I was doing wrong, and I need that like cancer needs curing.
But that was the lone exception. Everything else was done by nice people who didn’t want to be the disciplinarian or the authority figure and saw themselves more as facilitaors than “teachers” or “professors”.
It was like a whole school full of overly permissive parents.
And it sucked from my point of view. The point of someone who came to the school looking to be challenged and who really, really wants to learn the subject but who needs some kind of solid feedback, with numbers and stuff, or he feels lost and like there is no point to any of it.
And my god was I BORED in some of the classes. That’s more about me, though, than about VFS. I am always bored in most classes because to me, everything is going waaay too slow and I want to learn at my speed.
Which is, I admit, a pretty taller order because I absorb information extremely fast. I don’t know that I have ever learned at my own speed in class.
I don’t know if it would even be possible for someone to talk fast enough.
Instead. it would have to be very high density content delivered by a highly dynamic and engaging teacher who had a firm on the difference between information and fluff.
But alas, I would have to be rich enough to afford tutors for that. Or somehow manage to get into a gifted kids’ program at the age of 44.
Looking back, I wish I had expressed my boredom and frustration more openly. Maybe that would have goaded the system into figuring out a way to challenge me.
But no. I just faded into the woodwork, and unwittingly gave out all the signals that said I was not a kid a teacher would have to worry about because no matter what, my grades would be high and I wouldn’t raise a guss.
So teachers simply put me out of their mind. And when I tried to remind them of my existence, the easiest and most natural thing in the world was to brush me off.
Just like at home, they wanted me to go back to my easily ignored state.
And I was too wimpy and desperate for approval to fight back.
God, my childhood sucked. Sucked so bad that I am still trying to get over it.
Thank goodness I have you wonderful people there to help me.
I will talk to you nice people again tomorrow.