Saturday, August 28, 2010

Creative Writing Class (I be in one)

The few of you who read my stuff regularly have noticed that my posts have been few and far between. There are two reasons for this; I am back in college working towards a degree in Marine Geology so I am taking my general-ed courses so that I may transfer to CSUMB, and the other excuse is that I have been amusing my friends on Facebook with tales from my youth. Some of those stories may migrate over here in the future if I feel like polishing them up a bit.
The great news is that now I have a creative writing class, so much of what I write there will end up here after I get a grade for them. Three years ago I had been submitting writing for my book to various agents and publishers, and I never heard anything back from them. Then I got a short e-mail from one that said “you need to take some English and writing classes.” Ouch. Okay, so I signed up at Monterey Peninsula College (MPC, also known as “Elestero Tech” or “DMSU” [Dennis the Menace State University]) and went through the English 1A, 1B, and English2 classes. I lucked out and got a tough-grading professor who pushed my skills until I could integrate a quote with the best of them. I was also exposed to classic literature like Sophocles and Hemingway which gave me more options as a writer for tackling my 7th Infantry book.

The reason for taking the creative writing class is that I need to be pushed outside my comfort zone, and I need to bounce my work off the brains of people who don’t know me (friends are great, I love you guys, but I need to hear feedback from neutral or even hostile sources too). I already have a list of poets and poems to check out from our second day of class. Right out of the gate we have to write poems in the form of Haiku and Cinquain. I had never heard of a Cinquain before last Thursday. The Cinquain for is as follows:

Two syllables
Four syllables
Six syllables
Eight syllables
Two syllables
So you get something like this:

Where to hide them?
Flick them out the window?
Stick them under the table-top?
Eat mine.

I am sure this is exactly what the guy was thinking when he invented this framework. This is the kinda stuff you guys will have to endure from me through December.

I am pretty stoked as my professor, Henry Marchand, actually knows who Ambrose Bierce is which qualifies him to teach writing in my book. Plus he went to Penn State as did my high school English teacher, Mr. Scheckler, who was the first important person ever to believe in my writing. There must be something in the water at Penn State. Mr. Scheckler pulled me aside one day after class and told me to write him stories. He said that they would be extra credit, and that I would still have to do the regular assignments too. He said that the stories would not be graded for grammar; instead he said “just write, tell me a story!” So I did just that. My spare time was spent writing “Twilight Zone” type stories about parallel dimensions, time travel, and a double-crossing drug smuggler who gets his in the end.

Henry Marchand seems to be in the same vein of teacher. He knows that there is some great stuff stuck in everyone’s brain and he wants to get it out onto paper. He says that we will end up looking deep inside ourselves as we explore the writing process. You guys know that I have already done this, and that work is archived here. The class is orderly yet comfortable so I can’t wait to see what comes out of my brain.

Stay Tuned…

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