I just started a new Bible study that Heather
has put together, and all the girls who are participating have been emailing introductions to the group so that we know a little about each other before we start posting this weekend.
By the by, I'm the crazy Southern participant. Sort of a stereotype, actually, but usually good for some comic relief.
Anyway, several of the women are writers. Not the way I'd say, "I'm a writer" and then collapse into a fit of giggles - they are for real, working-on-a-novel / get-paid-for-it-and-everything writers. My writing has never earned me one red dime - though my Southern lit. professor in college really liked a paper I did comparing The Color Purple
to Ellen Foster
, and she said she might like to enter it in a contest, but she never, you know, did.
It's a rich writing legacy here at BooMama, is all I'm sayin'.
I'm always a little awed by people who can write fiction, because I SO cannot. I've talked about my limited skillz
before. But thinking about these women who can and do write imaginative works reminded me for the second time in the last week about my college creative writing class.
Let's just say that if it hadn't been a requirement for an English degree, I would've never. ever. in a million years. taken. it.
Here's what I remember - and Laura and Daph can fill in what I can't recall because they took the same class from the same professor (but mercifully not at the same time I did - or I would've been forced into seclusion or at the very least would've donned a wig - the Raquel Welch collection, perhaps? - to cope with the sheer embarrassment of it all).
We sat in a semi-circle, and our appropriately bespectacled professor sat on one end of it. The first part of the semester we wrote poems, which I have TOTALLY blocked from my memory. Because have I mentioned how literal I am? And you want me to compare a tree to honesty? Why? Why would I do that? What does one have to do with the other? Why would we care?
You can see why I might have some problems crafting a poem.
The second part of the semester we wrote a short story, and it had to be 15 pages long. I cranked it out over the course of a weekend - I just wanted it DONE - and at the time, I was pretty proud of myself for completing it. Fiction is not, as they say, my thang.
I wish I could explain the mental block I have when it comes to that genre of writing. All I know to tell you is that I have no imagination. I have never sat around and dreamed of being someone else. I have never thought, "Gosh, I wonder what it would be like to live in New York," and then created an imaginary world to accompany my musings. Because, hello? I don't
live in New York. I've never wondered what it would be like if I switched lives with one of my friends. Because you know what? I can't
. And don't even get me started about acting, because the attraction of pretending to be someone else in a made-up situation is COMPLETELY lost on me.
I'm not so much of a skit person, if you were wondering.
So back to creative writing. I wrote a story about a girl (who was really just me with dark hair) who was really close friends with a guy (who was really just Bubba in a different fraternity because at the time he had transferred to another college and I missed him terribly), and the guy was killed in a car wreck (sorry, Bubba - something dramatic had to happen...I couldn't just have us riding around singing like we did in real life...that would've only gotten me to page four), and then dark-haired me was very sad, and then she went back to the Bubba-esque character's fraternity house, and sat in a rocking chair, and made her peace with everything.
Gripping, isn't it? And not AT ALL cheesy.
That's not even the worst of it. The worst part is that we had to make copies FOR EVERYONE IN CLASS and then READ IT ALOUD, and when I finished reading it, here is the absolute nicest thing my professor could say about it:
"Well, um. Okay. We've all had close friendships like that, haven't we?"
Really, at that point, any back-of-my-mind questions I had about writing professionally were pretty much done forever.
But professional or no, what I love about blogging is that I don't have to pretend. I can be me, for better or worse. I don't have to create a person with a different name and dream up all the details of her life, because HAVE MERCY I can hardly remember how old I am, much less figure out how Laurel Marie St. Clair, the daughter of European royalty but currently "toughin' it" in the big city to prove to her daddy that she is a Serious Businesswoman, is going to meet her handsome prince in chapter 10.
And that last sentence? It exhausted me.
So hats off to all you fiction writers. I don't know how you do it.
But I hope I get to read it one day.