Thursday, January 17, 2008

Someone Quite Smart...

...sent me over this quote a couple of days ago to mull over. It's from Sharon Butala's The Perfection of the Morning:

“I wasn’t yet using writing as an instrument of self-knowledge, although I had already begun that first, surprising probing into what really makes the world go round: people’s motivations, their secret, even unconscious desires, what they must surely love or hate, revealed not by what they declared but teased out from the way they moved their bodies, or blinked or looked away, by their actions, or by small, half-heard asides.”

Ever since Monday night, when my teacher said that I'm writing a book that 100 other Canadians (or people for that matter) could be writing, and that even if I did, by some stroke of grace, manage to get it published, he would never read it, I've been having a few sniff-sniff feeling sorry for myself days. But I was glad that Sam sent this over because it got me thinking about the idea of describing characters, their actions, and their reactions in this way; from their smaller movements and knowing that it might be a nice way to approach writing about people outside the main characters.

So what if I never get it published. Right now my goal is simply to get it finished.


Melanie said...

Well, I've never read his books either. So.

Zesty said...

Uh yeah. WORD to Melanie. Like what, you're supposed to go buy a fainting couch to collapse on cause whatshisnut isn't gonna read your book.

I think when he introduces you to read at the IFOA you should mention this moment. To the AUDIENCE.

Beth said...

I can take criticism re: my writing, but I think your teacher's comments were definitely a bit much. (Would also have given me a "sniff-sniff" moment - or two, or three...)

Carrie said...

I think you should feel a little smug that this guy took the time to come up with something so nasty to say in reference to your work. Maybe he is threatened in some way by you writing a relatable book (at least, I think that is what he was attacking with that little nugget of joy).

So often with teachers you can't have a movieland relationship full of support and helpful critique. Instead, you just kind of take what you can get.

Chico said...

Your goal shouldn't be to write to finish any more than it should be to write to publish. Write because you need to, because you have something to say, because it feels good. And don't let that wiener get you down. What does 'could be writing' mean anyway? 'Could' vs. 'Are', nowadimesayin'?

Kate S. said...

That sounds awfully harsh. Was it at least wrapped up in something constructive? Saying that he wouldn't read it suggests that his criticism is based on the subject and not on the writing which seems altogether backwards to me.

Tan said...

Hey Deanna,

It's Tan. I was talking about my own writing to Trisha, and she mentioned the negative feedback. I thought I would drop in to lend some support.
I'm glad that someone (ie Sam) is sending you something inspiring!
I wrote about 50 pages before my mentor told me my point-of-view wasn't working last year. And after taking the first couple chapters and experimenting, I came to see what she was getting at.
I know you are much further along, but perhaps taking a couple chapters and experimenting with them might help you?
Anyway, I hope that the comment came with something more helpful. (If not, your mentor needs a lesson in positive feedback..)