by Giorgia (’14)
One of the main things Creative Writing has taught me, through a constant struggle of tears and rage and wailing (“But I’m not good enough!”) is that I have opinions and think things. And, even more shocking, is that I am allowed to do that: that is why I write–– and it is okay for me to have more to say than describing a field. Describing a field is great, and I love fields, but sometimes a field is just a field and sometimes a field is a metaphor, but then a lot of times a field becomes this yucky in between thing when you’re trying to say something that you are blatantly not saying which results in a massive portfolio full of dead dogs. My last two years in Creative Writing has taught me that it is okay to just write about a field if I am in a field-y mood that day, and that it is okay to make the field a metaphor–– as long as I make it into a metaphor and everyone is aware that it is a metaphor and are then able to think about what it means. But also that the meaning of the metaphor does not always have to be a metaphor, that sometimes I can just write what I mean and add the bells and whistles later or maybe the point is that it doesn’t have any bells and whistles, and that that is good writing as well, often better writing. Because maybe my writing wasn’t meant to be a field. People like Alex (’12), their writing can be the field and the field is a field and a metaphor and everything a poem-field should be, filled with little imagery flowers and sensory detail birds and bees, but my writing is not a poem-field. And my writing is not “warm snow covering my house of sticks,” or “changed by your optimism,” or a “bad case of American society,” or my “serpentine, turpentine valentine” or “a bramble of briars beneath my coat,” or “hey you with the astrolabe eyes,” or “as he walks he soars.”
My writing is a little bit of all of these things because these amazing people have helped me realize that my writing is my writing, it is “curled in the crooked arms of the tree,” and “pressing outwards towards some kind of heaven,” and “i shake when I speak and you say okay? okay,” and things I might not always be happy with and that is okay.
Usually my writing is things I’m not happy with because I’m not being honest. The point of writing is to be honest, to talk about things and try to explain them and mostly fail. And things that I think need explaining are different than what other people think need explaining and that is great, A-PLUS.
So I might not always write things I like and I am lifetimes away from being the best writer I can be or the writer I want to be, and hell, I probably won’t get anywhere close, but so far I’ve learned that the first step to any of that is being honest, if nothing else. Being honest about what I have to say and how I feel and the way words contort themselves in my brain and that sometimes they’ll trip and come out ugly and that is okay. It’s all okay. I am a writer and I’m just trying to make it okay and if I’m not okay right now, if I am sad and angry and betrayed by some of the people I loved most, I am allowed to feel that way and I am allowed to–– I should write about it. I can and should write about how sad I am, or how happy I am in the roda, or the sound buses make in the night and fog, and that these are the things I need to be writing and I don’t need to always write about the field.
(Midori) Over the summer, I had my own version of this revelation, though in a far more anticlimactic way. Caught up in writing my personal stories, I ran out of time to write the 10-page short story for Creative Writing, and I thought instead of coming up with a brilliant lightbulb idea of a plot, I’ll just play it short and safe by writing from personal experience instead.
Only, it wasn’t short, nor was it easy. In fact, it was one of the hardest things I’ve ever had to write, and the product, despite being assured over and over again by people that it is one of the best things I’ve ever written, is something I can read a hundred times and still just stare wryly at. Maybe, given time, I’ll grow to be fond of it, even proud of it, but at this point, I can only scrutinize it, wondering if this is really the best I can do, if this simple little thing that I got to experience is truly something people should awe and marvel at. One thing, though, is that I can’t bring myself to be ashamed of it in any way, as I do with most of my other pieces (the same “I’m not good enough!”). It’s a very subtle enlightenment that I’m still working my way through, but right now, I’m just infinitely glad that I don’t hate it.