Does it surprise anyone that I have slacked a bit?
I tried, I really did. But the past month has been C-A-RA-Z-EEEEE (crazy! lol). LA was sick, I fell super behind in everything…. so I was a bit late submitting my pages to my writing instructor for critiquing.
I wasn’t super worried about it because he hadn’t forwarded me anyone elses work so I figured it was ok. Turns out it wasn’t. I had missed the deadline (even though he had never told me there was a deadline) and he hadn’t sent me work because he assumed I wasn’t participating. Which was very irritating because I paid for the course, why would I not participate?
I wrote back and asked him to tell me when the deadline was for future reference and if he could send me the other students work so I could read it. He never responded.
I tried to contact the main person to find out if I could skip this weeks course and add one on at the end of the class (same amount of classes for what I paid). Her response was to come to class to talk about it…. which seems strange since I was asking if I could skip it.
So when I get there I get the distinct impression that she is there to “handle” me… she offers to refund my money if the course wasn’t working for me etc. I said that the class wasn’t exactly what I expected but I wanted to stay and was ok with it. I had only been curious if I could miss this week and add an additional week on to my time. She explained that there were not extra courses.. so I said fine. I was surprised she was there as my question was simple and I wasn’t trying to make a stink…. I just figured if I had nothing to critique for others and nothing of my own to critique I was somewhat useless. And again, I got the impression that my teacher asked her to be there… which was odd because I didn’t think I was argumentative in my communication with him.
During class he passed over nearly anything I said or offered.
Thankfully after everyone’s critiques there was time in class for me to read from Sadira aloud.
This was really good for me. I’ve been looking at it so long most of it felt dull to me or in need of work. But the other participants really liked it. They said I had an excellent strong voice and an easy to read rhythm. They pointed out several stellar sentences (their phrase not mine) and they laughed out loud in parts. It was good for me. My teacher’s critique? “You were reading too fast and I didn’t catch it.”
What?! If I was reading too fast why didn’t he stop me?
Then he drops the bomb….
When I signed up for the course the advertisement said the class was to help finish a novel. As I mentioned in a previous post it was pretty clear that the class was not really designed to help with the grand scale of helping finish a novel. So I was hoping I could polish key pieces of my novel and get feedback on my style and technical needs. He told us that we were to turn 5 pages in monthly and that we could submit parts of our novel, a short story, or the response to writing prompts he would supply. I remember this specifically because someone asked directly if we could submit continuing sections of our novel and he said yes.
So tonight he passes out an outline of a short story. Similar to ones I gave my high school students when I was teaching and he tells us that our assignment is to write a brand new short story. He DOESN’T want parts of our novel, he wants something brand new and to try to write a short story that follows the steps. This is so basic. I know the steps of a short story. I have about 20 short stories that follow this outline… heck, I TAUGHT this outline. I am not here to do this.
Granted, it’s not as if it wouldn’t help… because again we can focus on style, voice, characterization etc… but I’m here to work on my novel!!!!
Another woman asks if we can work on our novel and he says, “Well of course you can do what you want…” and he went on to say that we could but heavily disapproved of. His disapproval was palpable. I wish I could remember exactly how he said it because it was good but the message was “You can do whatever you want but if you don’t do what I want I will not take you seriously and it won’t be the same and I won’t have as much to offer or help you with when your work is sent out you non cooperative, lazy, selfish, non team playing writer”
After class I went up to speak to him. I began by saying I was sorry if he took offense at my questions regarding the deadline for manuscript submission. He just kept giving me a condescending smile and not making eye contact. Said he hoped I could meet deadline this time. I said, yes on that note I wanted to ask about that. I reminded him that he previously told us we could continue to submit from our novel and that was really what I was there for. I was trying to have a conversation with him but he was clearly not having it. He again repeated that I could do what I want but basically that he didn’t approve…. a lot of shrugging and eyebrow raising. So disapproving.
I’m really disappointed.
I’m used to teachers liking me…. I’m annoyed that he seems to dislike me for no good reason. I’m annoyed because I feel like if I do what I signed up to do he will not take my work seriously and he won’t critique me as he would if I’d done his assignment.
I could easily pull a short story out of my “vault” or I could write a new one… it’s not a big deal but I’m trying to finish a novel… I don’t really want to split my focus or use a critique on something that doesn’t matter as much to me right now.
On the way out though another woman stopped me to ask if I had permission to submit from my novel. She had the same complaint and concerns that I did. She said she really liked what I read in class and asked if I’d send the first five pages so she could critique it for me and I could do the same for me. Better yet she said that she was going to submit the next portion of her novel so that we could both be “problem children” together and it wouldn’t just be one of us.
And on a bright note she told me that there is a local group that meets every Saturday morning for critiques. At this group you get five minutes to read and then everyone gives you input. You pay 35$ for the whole year…. so that might be really useful to me. If I had to have five minutes worth of reading every week it could be vastly helpful.