Final Writer's Studio Class

After ten wonderful weeks, this past Wednesday, the current semester of the Writer's Studio came to a close. And yet, there was no sadness or regret, just hilarity and joy. We had a jubilant last class. It was the perfect way to end an incredible experience. These Wednesday evenings were the pivot on which my week balanced. I was so glad to have this time, place, experience, and wonderful group of people. Each person brought a special energy and spirit to the dynamic. I am immensely looking forward to the next semester. 

For my last piece, I decided to do a bit of tongue-in-check, self-effacing humor. I had been teased all semester for my verbosity and overly long pieces, always fudging the two page rule. I decided to be blatantly obnoxious and absurd in my piece. I had a very good time writing it (in only three hours on the plane to Moscow), and I loved watching the reactions of my fellow writers as they read it. They smiled, laughed, and ultimately applauded. It was a wonderful way to bow out of this semester.

That being said, our teacher of course encouraged me to go further. He always gently (and sometimes not so gently) pushes us to be better. So here I am posting two versions of the poem: the one that was deliberately obnoxious (stealing from the prompt piece) and the one where I edited it as per my teacher's encouragement. I am curious what people will like better.

(A small aside: the term 'kill your darlings' was used by our teacher to point out when we had to cut down on unnecessary detail and description or just extra stuff that wasn't needed in the piece)

The prompt was titled "Divorced Fathers and Pizza Crusts" by Mark Halliday, and can be read here.

Version 1

The connection between The Writer's Workshop and crying

is understandable. The writer strives to learn and write

confidently. She wants her piece to succeed.

The entire process is supposed to be rewarding. Writer's love

recognition. For some reason involving warmth and ego

 

writers approve of praise and accolades

years before they have any understanding of process or method.

So the writer sits down to create something beautiful, a masterpiece,

but ends up frustrated. The words hit the page faster than the writer can process.

Before the writer has had one thought, she has written thirty pages,

 

frustrated that her magnum opus cannot be shared with the class

the writer begins the editing process, but finds eight pages

that can't quite be cut down to size. There are six pages left

to be cut and the writer doesn't want them wasted,

there has been enough waste already; she sits there

 

in her pajamas editing. It's good except the margins are way too big –

if they move just a bit that isn't a big deal –

so she moves it. Then proceed to the next loaded page –

after the fifth page editing is basically a chore.

Finally there she is amid piles of drafts and tears.

 

All this is understandable. There is no dark conspiracy.

Meanwhile the piece starts to coalesce into coherence

which is the whole point. So the entire process makes

clear sense. Now the frazzled writer gathers

her tear stained drafts for the trash and dumps them

 

and dumps the crumpled reams of old drafts which are not

corpses on a battle field. Understandability

fills the bookshop. So thoroughly there's no room

for anything else. Now the other writers are reading her piece

and they follow, of course they do, she's a writer.

 

Version 2 - Edited

The connection between The Writer's Workshop and crying

is understandable. The writer strives to learn and write

confidently. She wants her piece to succeed.

The entire process is supposed to be rewarding. Writer's love

recognition. For some reason involving warmth and ego

 

writers approve of praise and accolades

years before they have any understanding of process or method.

So the writer sits down to create something beautiful, a masterpiece,

but ends up frustrated. The words hit the page faster than the writer can process.

Before the writer has had one thought, she has written thirty pages,

 

frustrated that her magnum opus cannot be shared with the class

the writer begins the editing process, but finds eight pages

that can't quite be cut down to size. There are darlings and descriptions left

to be cut and the writer doesn't want them killed,

there has been enough death already; she sits there

 

in her pajamas editing. It's good except the margins are way too big –

if they move just a bit that isn't a big deal –

so she moves them. Then proceeds to the next loaded page –

after the fifth page editing is basically a chore.

Finally there she is amid piles of drafts and tears.

 

All this is justifiable. There is no treachery afoot.

Meanwhile the piece starts to coalesce into coherence

which is the whole point. So the entire process makes

absolute sense. Now the frazzled writer gathers

her tear stained drafts for the trash and abandons them

 

and abandons the crumpled reams of old drafts which are not

murdered darlings on a sunken warship. Understandability

fills the bookshop. So thoroughly there's no room

for anything else. Now the other writers are reading her piece

and they follow, of course they do, she's a writer.

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