If I go back in time to 2010-2011, I can still vividly remember what my writing career was shaping up to become. I was in a small liberal arts college in Florida. I’d come to realize I was going to double major in Creative Writing and English Literature. The professors demanded us all to participate, the other option being embarrassed and humiliated by the professor with all the other students present, for not doing the readings. We did the readings and we formed critical responses to the material. None of us were able to keep unnoticed during these classes. We were forced to respond, and flex our intellectual awareness.
I was dialed in. I could break down scenes and dialogue to find the inner meaning. I could accurately assess characters for who they were supposed to be. I knew the various turning points in the narrative arc. I was living and breathing fiction writing, non-fiction writing, and critical analysis of works of literature.
To keep it short and sweet, I didn’t graduate from this particular place. I had a window of opportunity to be in a workshop led by Dennis Lehane. There were only two slots available, and I secured one of those spots. However, I was in the wrong place at the wrong time, or, mentally, I wasn’t ready.
Since then, I’ve felt less secure about critical responses and my fiction writing. I took screenwriting courses, then I went to Grand Canyon University. The English Literature program at Grand Canyon University wasn’t anywhere near what it was at the school in Florida. At GCU, no one was required to respond to the professor. If you didn’t do the reading, the worst that would happen is you’d fail a quiz or a test, or get a failing grade on your essay. No one was embarrassed or humiliated for not doing the readings. No one was called out for not having a response. Only two or three people regularly responded in classes at GCU.
I should’ve majored in screenwriting. But I didn’t. I thought English Literature was a noble endeavor. To some degree it is, and it was fun majoring in English Literature. But, after I graduated with my bachelors, I went to community college to take creative writing workshop classes. Then in 2019 I wasn’t doing much of anything.
I tried a graduate level program for a Masters/MFA. Some Karen accused me of sexual harassing her. That was the worst feeling I’ve ever experienced, because it was false. I said something like, “it’s not fair to treat me like I don’t exist”. Kinda taken from Joker, but- I didn’t expound of elaborate my intense feelings for being treated that way. She got all fired up, and then, shortly after, I left the program. Shittiest experience in a university setting ever. I probably won’t return to take classes or workshops again for awhile, if ever.
I’ve had to regain my confidence, which I’m still doing. I’m not immersed in writing fiction the way I used to be. Which disappoints me. But, that’s that. I didn’t force it back in 2010-2011. I had a burning desire to write fictional stories. I read more often, so maybe that’s the magic I need in my life. I don’t know, either way, I hope to return to pumping out fiction daily.
All this to say, sometimes it’s near impossible to regain the energy we once had earlier in life. I could see about getting another bachelors from ASU or something, but I don’t have the financial backing I once did, so I don’t think that’s a viable option. I just remember dialing in so much, that in a year’s time, I was putting out some really good writing, per the creative writing director, and my classmates. That was a cool feeling. I want that again. I miss the respect from other writers.
Here’s to doing everything I can to make it back to that special place.