It’s Not Okay to Say Nothing.

So the Internet of writers blew up over an essay written by Ryan Boudinot called “Things I Can Say About MFA Writing Programs Now That I No Longer Teach In One.

I felt saddened that an Instructor would cling to the notion that “Writers are born with talent”; though I grieved more for the number of persons who consoled this concept of predetermination.

Indeed, certain mental attributes preclude writing mastery: analysis, theorization, extrapolation, recreation, innovation, and adaptability come to mind.  However, a lacking of one or more of these qualities can be traced back to various environmental circumstances or personable circumstances.

For example, America still lingers on the edge of authoritarian parenting.  One of the major drawbacks to this style of parenting is that it relies heavily on Negative Reinforcement.  Negative Reinforcement deters desire to commit an action.  When overused or used out of situation, this method of control damages a person’s sense of desire; and he/she may generally suppress desire altogether, or hide it, or feel ashamed to want something.

Desire drives intellectual skills, and a student raised from a heavily disciplined childhood will usually struggle in a creative writing course.  The student may lack confidence in herself, lack faith in her writing, or outright lack the prerequisite creativity traits; because she was too scared to exercise these traits growing up.

Now, I suppose these circumstances could be classed as Fate, but I don’t care; not in as it relates to teaching.

The teacher’s purpose is to identify weaknesses in the students, and help them to correct those weaknesses.

If an aspiring writer lacks key intellectual skills to become an elite writer, then help him/her to develop those skills!

Which brings me to the point that bothered me; and I speak not of the points he made, because he gives some good advice:

  • If you don’t have the time to write, make the time.
  • Write for yourself, not the teacher.
  • Make writing a passion first and a profession second.

I echo these sentiments.

This is what I found offensive:

“Things I Can Say About MFA Writing Programs Now That I No Longer Teach In One.”


He perceived improvements within students’ work/mindset/passion but to failed to address his qualms with those students?  To those students?

I don’t know what goes into the MFA program, but If I pay for assistance in achieving mastery in a craft, and you are my teacher, I am purchasing your subjectivity.  If you don’t like my writing, I expect you to tell me what you don’t like and why.  If you don’t think I belong in the literary world then you better tell me why; because your critique has been paid for and is owed!

Those students got robbed of their feedback; not to mention the assistance that could/would/should have followed pending said feedback.

/end rant.

/end topic.

I’m aware I promised a post within the last week and failed to meet that promise.

I don’t know if anyone holds me to that, but I disappointed myself.  I’m aiming to put up two short stories between now and next Sunday, and at least one other non-story post (I’ll probably share some of my favorite Touhou arranges).

For now, I’m going write and listen to Desire Drive, because I used the phrase earlier in this post 🙂

Desire Drive by ZUN, arranged by TAMUSIC

Finish your weekend well ^_^


Words Versus Pictures

After reading the article: Words Are Human, which relays pretty much everything I feel about the inundated notion “A picture is worth a thousand words”, I felt affirmed in my writers’ bias for words over motion pictures, but then I mulled over the idea for a few days.

My usual case-in-point argument for the sheer, irreplaceable power of words begins and ends with Martin Luther King Jr, but then I thought…

Not about whether words were truly so powerful, but that perhaps a picture could rival prose.

I once saw a picture of an angel getting her wings torn off; and a thousand words could not accurately describe the scene, because one thousand counts of abstracted physicality does not add up to the perfect physical definition of a picture.

One thousand pictures streamed at sixty per second though could not accurately describe in 16.666~ seconds my distraught reactions, because one thousand pictures of abstracted feeling does not add up to the perfect emotional definition of a prose, nor explain my revulsion.

A single picture possessed enough symbolisms to rile my ire in a way that words would not; invoking a web work of emotions that could only materialize words not suitable for any kind of substitution: pictorial, animated, or otherwise.  That one picture (that I don’t care to dig up) required an entire short story to reconcile, but the resulting short story would fail upon 60 frames per second…  I’ve always wanted to accompany Stitched Angel with some pictures, but only to assist those words making a physical account.

So right now, my working theory is that:

Words possess accuracy and truth over the immaterial, but through immaterial symbolism, words embody a great many pictures.

Pictures possess accuracy and truth over the material, but through material symbolism, pictures embody a great many words.

So which is better?

Words!  Duh!

How else would I transmit this idea to you?  🙂

Agree, disagree? Mine is but an opinion, and yours are welcome here too, so post away!

Giving up on a story: sometimes, it’s for the best.

So I gave up on the short story that bound me for a year.

After persisting for so long and so futilely, I decided to pursue volume writing and blogging. I wrote a fiction short short story, and when I cataloged it, I couldn’t help but notice the date of the last completed short story.

November 13, 2012!!!

I realized then, that giving up was absolutely the right decision.

I started Waltz on Water during WCU’s Spring Literary Festival. Listening to all these awesome writers speak charged me with writing vigor and inspiration, and I hit 3,000 words within two days, but then as the festival wound down so did my muse. I hit about 6,000 words by the end of spring and then I kept getting stuck at the same damn point.

I’d write, feel good, and then go back the next day and recognize some flaw so subtle but not in line with the rest of the short story. I kept repeating this series of “try again, fail” until I evaded writing outright.

I can’t identify the problem, because I think Waltz on Water simply surpasses my current writing skill. Maybe hanging around all those great writers allowed me to channel their grace and unlock my full potential, if only for a moment. I lost the beautiful spirit that I drew from those writers and now, Waltz on Water evokes only a gray pain.

When I listened to Paul Harding speak at the Aspen Literary Festival (On Youtube), he was asked the question, “have you ever abandoned a short story?” and he answered “no” quite emphatically. That drove me to finish my short story, but I just kept getting stuck at the same point and I realize now that I don’t have the answer. I attribute some of my stubbornness to my own little ego, which absolutely adored Waltz on Water.

I write because I can’t find what I want to read, what I truly love to read, and if I just finished this short story I could just point to it and say, “I love stories like this.” It would define me as a writer, but I realized now, quite late:

I’m still not sure who I am. I know the parameters, and could tell you what I’m not, but I could not summarize myself with a single statement.

Fairy tales? Magic? Fantasy meets reality? The merger between surreal worlds and realistic people? Yes, but there’s more, and I wrongly assumed myself complete.

You can’t shortcut sheer writing volume.

To borrow from the Bill Bellichick school of thought: nobody makes a Super Bowl team. Create the best team possible that can take a shot year after year, because even when you go all-in you’ll probably fall flat on your face, as I did.

Here’s to quantity over quality! Or at least enough quantity for said quality to matter.