Wednesday, March 03, 2010

in which I write about hating writing

Something I don't understand about myself right now is why I don't want to write anything. I dread writing short papers or stories. I can write well, and I've enjoyed it in the past, so what the heck?

My recent theory is that since I've been reading so much FANTASTIC writing, I realize that mine is vastly inferior and have developed an inferiority complex. I don't think this is quite the case. I'm reading about the same amount or less literature now as I did in the past. However, as a writing teacher and a student of English, I do feel much more self-conscious about my writing. Instead of just writing my ideas down, I'll often worry about how to write it. Instead of letting my natural voice take over, I find myself trying to guess what my professor or what other people will want to read. And I really hate that.

I started working on a personal essay (about last year's job) for the creative writing workshop I so stupidly decided to take. I find that the weightier material is actually more difficult to write about (I know other people have said this, but I didn't believe them). I found myself concentrating on the details of events rather than how I felt. It's hard to talk both about my feelings and explain the situations that led to those feelings. I'm not even sure if it's therapeutic to re-visit those feelings. I don't know what the point of writing about hard things is.

Another thing I don't like about my creative writing workshop is that because of my stupid and sudden dislike of writing I never have anything prepared for everyone to read, and I end up submitting something half-baked and now everyone knows how I can't write. And I'm going to have to hear them tell me all the problems I felt so painfully aware of. Instead of addressing my problem of difficulty of expression, we'll be discussing the problems of the things I wrote and what I unintentionally expressed.

I think part of the difficulty in writing about supervising parents was that I felt frustrated about so many things. I felt frustrated that the majority of the time my notes would not make a difference in court decisions. I felt frustrated that courts ordered stupid things. Like that a teenager had to visit with her dad every Monday night when she rather would have been with her friends. Even I didn't spend that much one-on-one time with my parents as a teenager. I felt frustrated that good parents didn't have much time with their children and that bad parents had oodles of time. I felt frustrated that money had to determine how often some parents could visit their children. I felt frustrated that I couldn't stop parents from continually emotionally abusing their children. I felt frustrated that some parents, despite their best intentions, continued to emotionally abuse their children. I felt frustrated that I had to choose between being polite and liked or being assertive and hated and following the rules. I hated how I became less sensitive to the suffering of children.

But I think focusing on all those things I didn't like isn't the whole picture. I became more appreciative of my own parents, and I learned that I want to marry someone who will be a good father (not just a good husband, if that makes sense). And I think in some ways I'm more sensitive to child cruelty. I've decided that I don't want to be sarcastic about my children until they'll understand it, because I know that that's something I could very easily slip into. I still don't know what I think about parental rights. I find myself varying between too extremes ("screw biology!" and "let parents do whatever they want!"), which probably indicates that some medium value is how I really feel. And now you have all the reflection that I should have included in my personal essay, because I was too worried about how it would come out and how all those MFA students would read it.

1 comment:

Andrea said...

Maybe you should submit this as your essay. :-D

Totally understand the good father vs. good husband thing.

When I write stuff, it's because I want people to understand some person or situation they might not understand. That's the same reason I read stuff. There's lots of other reasons, though.