Thursday, April 28, 2005

I am seriously considering changing the title of the manuscript I'm working on now from girls reading novels to feign since it sounds sexier and less clunky. Have also decided that the longer narrative project I plan to work on over the summer may turn out to be more like a chapbook and less like a book contrary to what I thought earlier. My attention span may not be ready to devote an entire 50 or so pages to one theme or one storyline. A nice thirty page chapbook should be just about what I need to get the job done.

On my way home from workshop last night, I was thinking about how, in many cases, the program might be the reason for this anxiety I have lately over my writing. A couple nights ago, another dream about an MFA comp exam, this time an oral one with weird questions that I can't remember now ouside of the dream, but which were all about books I haven't read. Not only that, but I couldn't seem to HEAR the questions when they were asked due to my classmates standing behind me futzing around and giggling. It all seemed very important that I get them right so that I could get my degree and be done with it. And there was some weird stuff with a mysterious elfin guy who understood the secret of poetry, and would tell me later if I met him outside, but then there was this bomb threat in the building, which was more like a log cabin in the woods, with greenery sprouting through the floorboards...

And I know it's all about what I don't seem to be getting poetry-wise, that makes some people great and others merely competant. How I feel like there's some quality in my writing that makes it amateurish and fraudulant, and maybe impressive on the surface, and flashy in its appeal, but lacking in some basic fundamental way. And I don't think I used to feel this way, before the MFA classes. I used to think everything was good even when it wasn't. It may be the workshops, hear the same voices echoing over and over that there is something wrong and you start to believe it--even from people whose poetry basically sucks. They are readers of poetry even if their bad writers, aren't they? Maybe they're right...and there is something you're work is missing that no one can put their finger on, and maybe you are a one-trick pony and a hack.

Now lest you think I'm wallowing in the self-pity once again, I only think this way half the time. The other half, I'm pretty happy with my work, sometimes even thrilled. But then sometimes, when I one too many rejections, or someone won't publish my books, or after a bad workshop, I start thinking maybe I am faulty in some way--knowing full well that it's all par for the writing course--rejection, etc. But it's not just that, but also the other poetry books where writers make it all look so easy--and I know it's not really, but why can't I do that...like that...so flawlessly...

No comments: