Monday, 1 March 2010

Letter to the Teacher 11/15/09 11:39PM

During my writing classes we were given assignments and I was lucky to be inspired by most of them, so they were an ease to write. However, when we were given our last assignment, I lacked courage, direction and a wee bit of inspiration to start typing away. So, I started with a letter to the amazing teacher.

I didn't include it in my draft to him since it seemed silly and I've been meaning to write to him anyway (I'm very slow on replies to people) after I stumbled on the Nylon offices to be like, "Hey, I went there too, yo!" Harr. Harr.

"I was procrastinating. I wasn't getting the assignment for my class done and I knew that I wasn't really trying. I did take time out my day to collect images and get a feel for the place so I could really hit the mark on describing the street where I was basing my story. I went to a cafe with some friends and for moments we worked silently. I wrote and I re-wrote and I tried to block it out, but I was just afraid.

I also feel like I've delved so far into the world of typing, that writing anything for too long with ink, unless it is journal or a planner, feels like a waste of time.

So I sat down at my computer in the middle of last week and just began to type and since I am a hoarder and don't want to throw away very much at all, here is how I worked my way into typing the story, which was completely different to the one I had sat at a cafe in, planning.

Before Crumbs of Cake:

I’m just going to write and see if I can form something that will flow.

It’s not that I don’t have ideas; I just don’t have conviction and don’t give myself the time to think them out and follow them through.

Also, to be quite honest, the rest of my stories for you were pulled out of my arse. I wrote a quick draft and then the pressure of time got to me and I just ran with it. I know they aren’t perfect but at least they were created.

Now I have time to try to put the lessons into action and actually craft something and I’m scared. I’m just scared to fail.

Worst of all I’m scared to disappoint, because I respect your opinion and am always so damn eager to please and be accepted… and yet I may have already disappointed you with this being late. So why am I even bothering stalling on it?

I think my head is full of clich├ęs. Or at least it is so full of thoughts I have thought about over and over again that I’d like to record and heighten in some way whether it is through paper or camera lens, and I feel like I can't get pass them until they are created. They are just a well used record, replaying and replaying.

I also feel like I’m relying on a lot of personal experiences instead of creating something new. The only thing that didn’t have some element from my life was the story about Max and Mabel."

...then I created something new with some elements of my life in it, really only the memories, and most were exaggerated.

6 pages. 3500 words. Most importantly, something complete... for now.


Simon said...

Harness your fear! I don't know how but I am sure there is a self-help book with that title somewhere out there...

I like Merlin Mann's no bullshit ideas on creating for the web which applies to creating for anywhere.


Dizzknee said...

What I enjoy most about your writing is the amount of honesty within it. I don't necessarily mean that it's so truthful since I wouldn't really know (although, I'm sure it is), but it certainly comes across as very genuine and down-to-earth. I always appreciate that.

And remember, we're all scared to fail from time to time. Just don't let that stop you, in whatever you choose to try. In the end, it's really only ourselves that we can fail or disappoint.

-Earle : )

davidthecamel said...

'relying on a lot of personal experiences instead of creating something new'

Using personal experience can be a good thing in writing. Don't feel pressured to create new things for the sake of it.

Chris in the Studio said...

I"m sure you will have heard this many times before and its a cliched but its worth saying again I suppose.
The only failure you will ever accomplish fully is the failure to try or do something.
Once it has been done the level of excellence or lack there of can be adjusted to the perspective or the learning experience acquired based on the level or lack there of, of success. So miserable as any attempt may end up, you grow from that, learn, and entertain at least a few in the process.
And I might add this lesson with a story;

Once I was crashing the cymbals at my first performance in NYC at Alice Tully Hall, I think we were performing Copeland or something. It was the dress rehearsal and I came in the wrong spot. I was nervous. The conductor approached me and said simply. Its a big crash, make it louder. :)
And said, if your going to fail, FAIL BIG, so everyone thinks you did it intentionally. I'm sure you can work the rest out for your self.

Bilby P. Dalgyte said...

"relying on personal experiences" Well what do you think Louis Nowra does? (Famous Australian playwrite btw if you were unaware) He writes a lot of things inspired by his personal experiences and uses them in interesting ways in some of his plays. I am quite convinced that Lillian in Inside the Island is inspired by his own abusive and dominative mother. He also apparently wrote a story involving a divorce and the woman drowning herself in the same river her father died in. That was about his wife... she didn't kill herself, but he father did drown in a river. Nowra then turned out to be gay so the relationship ended anyway.

Personal experience can be a very powerful and evocative tool. Just don't go "This is a story of Caitlin who wrote a blog." that's a bit too autobiographical. Unless that's what's intended. Good luck!

Have a nice day :)