So yesterday I received a very cryptic warning, over the phone.
She couldn’t tell me, it was a professional thing, the object or the source of the rumor – just that someone at school is coming down hard on us creative writing cretins – again she couldn’t give me specifics, but I’d have to trust her.
And I do.
My advisor then told me that, while she knows all the research I did and the places I’ve been, others might not and she doesn’t want someone thinking I’m just white boy suburbanite writing about voodoo and other things I don’t know anything about – so, in the forward for my epic poem (which I still have to write…the forward that is), she advised me to really stress everything I’ve done, more than I normally would, to help tear down any prejudice, that some have, thinking the Creative Writing majors and masters are lazy little con artists who don’t do any real work, the real work that, say, a literary English major might do (or even better…someone in Math or Science or History).
While this can sometimes, certainly be true…when told to me directly, those kinds of thoughts usually make my teeth grind, just a little, and through a slightly forced smile say, Well, someone has to write the things they meekly study. And I wonder if they’d ever cut into themselves, just to see what would drip onto a page, if they ever faced off against self-esteem and self doubt (nightly), taking that risk of finding out that you indeed don’t have anything worth while to say, and seeing what is on the other side – or had they just traced the phantom paths of others who had done so.
But then…I feel like I’m taking myself too seriously and I usually laugh at myself and shrug my shoulders and think of all the times that I really did get away with something, con my lazy but past real work in grad school.
So my advisor and I talked about other things I should consider in my second draft.
And that was that.
It was one of the more clandestine calls I can remember getting.
It left me feeling a little bit…..excited. The creative writing classes never had a very competitive spirit (we all wrote different stuff) and theatre felt only marginally more competitive…and any real, competitive spirit is more or less a dim memory of sports in high school. So I find the prospect of having to defend this little monstrosity I’ve given birth to…exciting.
Better get to work on that Forward…