If we were having coffee right now I would tell you that I’m thinking about taking a writing class again. As I mentioned in my “about” page, I’m not good at writing, so why not give it another try.
Back in college I had to take a mandatory writing class and the idea of taking it excited me and scared me at the same time.
It was after my first class that I noticed the methodology of the teacher was different from the one I was expecting. There was no formula to follow or writing strategies that taught us how to write well, for example: spelling, punctuation, etc. The class focused more in reading and discussing each other’s work as well as giving feedback.
But, what to write about, how to start if nobody is telling us how to go about it? However, it seemed like the other students had a clear view on how to write and how to do it right; at least, that was that I thought. My little knowledge of the writing “technic” didn’t allow me to distinguish between a good and a bad story or to spot a grammatically incorrect writing.
While they were presenting their works, I thought that maybe there was no correct way to write well because all of them came up with nice stories, even though the teacher never explained what to do when an idea pops up of your mind and how to organize it in a story that can be engaging for the audience. So perhaps, it might only be that powerful instant when inspiration brings us to unexpected places and sometimes we just don’t know how the journey is going to be to get there.
We have the inspiration to write, we reach our muse, but what happened with the grammar, punctuation, the construction of our arguments and the way to support them ? Is it really important when we write? Can having some knowledge on that be a plus in the way we communicate the real meaning in our story?
If we were having coffee right now, I would tell you that I finally wrote my master piece to present to the audience and everyone had a copy on their hands ready to be exalted. I can say that I abandoned myself for a couple of weeks in writing my story to make it enjoyable to read. I was in a state of constantly bursting with ideas and bringing them to life; a state that I would call “my deep state of inspiration”. I believe all of them were in that same state in order to create those amazing stories I heard and which had so many positive feedbacks.
The teacher read it aloud to everyone.
I was carefully observing him and saw that he started touching his front head, took his glasses on and off several times while he was reading, putting them from one point to another one, and then began to sweat and made a small pause looking at the classroom.
If we were having coffee right now I would tell you that when he finished reading, he elevated his eyes, touch his front head again, put his glasses back on, and said: “I don’t know about you all, but as far as I’m concerned, I didn’t understand anything I just read”. One girl in the class yelled: “Me neither”. Another one said: “It is too hermetic. “I got lost, what’s this about again?” another one replied.
What a mess! What an awkward time in my life. Everyone ripped my story to shreds. I couldn’t argue or refute their critiques and interpretations. They stomped my inspiration. I was in shock.
I had a story bud I didn’t know how to tell it. I fall in a “deep state of inspiration” but it was not enough to communicate with my readers. I polished my draft many times but the result was just an “ambiguous prose” (another comment the teacher said about my story)
Having good writing skills can take some time, and having a routine helps us to improve them. Perhaps it was what made my classmates’ stories “good” and not just the state of inspiration which is what I used to believe before. We’ve all had different experiences in the writing process and mine was very narrow but ambiguous.
I wanted a perfect ending. Now I’ve learned the hard way, that some poems don’t rhyme,and some stories don’t have a clear beginning, middle and end.
Life is about not knowing, having to change, taking the moment and making the best of it, without knowing going to happen next. Delicious Ambiguity.
– Gilda Radner.