Wednesday, March 17, 2010

The Eye of the Beholder

As you know, I'm taking a writing class.
I don't know what I expected to take away from it,
but I can tell you I'm a little disappointed.

I've taken some workshops,
and I've entered several competitions.
In every case, I have received positive critiques.

The first story I wrote for my class,
was a coming-of-age piece with some Canadiana.
My professor loved it.

Then again, he's a Canadian author,
who proudly waves the flag for the home town.

I get it.
I should be proud to be Canadian.
And I am.
But if any Canadian author is honest,
they'll admit they want to break into the American market.
It's where fame and fortune resides.

I thought I'd flex a little on the second story.
It was a rewrite of an older piece.

He panned it.

I was down for days after that.
Not because he butchered it.
I'm OK with that.
I was upset because it bothered me.
I thought I could take criticism better than that.

But after a few days of moping,
it occured to me he was wrong.
That piece was good.
I had completely rewritten it for a competition.
The result was that I was short-listed and,
although I didn't win, to me, that says an awful lot.

I made further edits for the class and it was much tighter,
far better than my original piece,
and better than the competition entry.

Perhaps I wouldn't have felt as bad about his criticism
if I hadn't received such a glowing critique from the competition.
But they told me it was good,
good enough to be sent to the final judge.

And my prof wasn't impressed.

So, for my last submission,
I wrote something just for him.
Well ... not really.
I wrote it for the Life Rattle radio programme,
but I knew he'd like it.

I read it in class,
giving a disclaimer before I began:
"I have yet to read this story without crying,
so bear with me."
Everyone nodded.
And I cried.

He loved it.
The few amendments he suggested were good technical changes.

And then he panned someone else's piece.
It was a great piece,
similar to my style of writing,
and definitely not the prof's.

Which cemented it for me.
It's not me--or us, rather.
It's him.

I sent TH a text:

Me: On break. He loved the story. Figures. And he panned another guys story that was brilliant.

TH: Great literature = Mad Magazine.

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