Thursday, January 10, 2013

Dammit, Hemingway (Part 1)

Now Playing: Wolfmother - Pyramid. 
I should have known better than to watch today's LBD episode before attempting any homework or cohesive writing. I know I've been sitting at this cafe for almost an hour, laughing to myself and squealing with each rewatch of The Lizzie Trap but...screw it, I'm gonna go see it again.

Okay, half an hour later, done. (Not really, I'll rewatch it in between writing this and research >.>)

Now, first things first.

Note: I was going to do my best to accurately retell a good chunk of yesterday afternoon/night, What Happened With the Hemingway Dilemma, and this morning's planning. So in short, this post was gonna be bloody long. However, because it's already late and this is taking up too much space, I'll continue tomorrow.

So from the beginning.

The bus ride was a little painfully long. Turns out even though the downtown campus is technically bus 7's last stop, it doesn't really come to a halt and pushes all the passengers out like the other buses do. It just stops for a brief second then immediately keeps going, except with the 7A heading. I had no warning.

Needless to say, I leaped out of my seat a little manically yesterday, especially because I'd been altering between reading, writing, and daydreaming about the class. I was also a little enamored by downtown. The hour and a half bus ride makes it worth it, just because I hate how the long distances in Miami make it impossible for people to casually walk over to the nearest mall. Cars are a necessity in almost all the towns and neighboring little cities, but in downtown, with all the shops, stores, public places so close together, I can actually see people (as well as the occasional homeless) wandering around. The city actually feels alive, even if not conventionally beautiful.

I got off at the plaza and got to walk around a little bit before ordering for a cup of coffee and sitting down on my computer to check the campus map and schedule. (I also proudly told Dario today that despite his previous worries, I was not raped by a homeless guy! People really distrust dowtown...)

Thirty minutes of just browsing around the web, I ended up on my college email and saw a message sent by my professor that had a copy of the syllabus. I decided to start reading it. That elicited about two to three hours of a panic, which I sort of outlined to Silvia, Dario, and any poor bastard who took a glance at my twitter. Why the panic? Many reasons.

The main one being that we--students, of course--have to critique each other's work. Which yeah, I really should have seen it coming, and yeah, I need to learn to thicken my skin. But I am such a coward, I would rather take a three hour long calculus exam that determines my entire future than have people read my terrible writing.

Plus I have to write poetry...hiss.

There was one line from the syllabus that I didn't really understand thoroughly until class started. My professor had written that we needed to learn to read works as a writer would, not as a critic or an academic.

I very clearly went "wat" at that.

I arrived to class 20 minutes early (I'd given myself 40 minutes to find the building). There was only one other person there so I sat by the wall closest to the door, as I am prone of doing. When a girl turned up and started conversing with the guy there, it became clear the class was mixed between CRW2001 and CRW2002. The primes difference is that as 2001 students, we have assignments every week, and we must explore all three main fields: short story, poetry, and creative nonfiction. 2002 students are allowed to focus on whatever project they want, like writing a book of poetry, short stories collection, or even a novel, and they don't have to do the same assignments we do.

(Actually, I'm a little angry at the way I let things plan out last summer. I could have signed up for creative writing 1 during the fall, creative writing 2 during the spring, and just left philosophy for this semester. But oh well).

My professor turned out to be a lot nicer than I had expected (prepared myself up for the worst here) and carried conversations rather easily--although not with me. I'd rather not speak in that class yet for fear of embarrassing myself.

My classmates were a pleasant surprise. Granted, the whole time I couldn't help but imagine the hundreds of ways they were all going to slaughter my writing in the coming weeks, but there was range and interest. Variety. Three people in particular stood out, and I managed to learn their names. Ralph, Frank, and Angelica (spelling may vary. I only heard them, didn't see 'em written) with an honorable mention of the Mysterious Sci-Fi Norma.

Ralph was the only other guy there when I arrived at 5:20 p.m. Rather hipster-y (dark cardigan, light blue button down shirt underneath, and the thick rimmed black glasses) looking and--as I later learned--in his 30s despite looking like a 25 year old. Him and the second person to come in, Chloe, both talked about the CRW2001 class they had taken last semester and how they were glad to be able to concentrate on poetry now. He didn't grab my attention until another person spoke about him. In fact, he was very silent or soft spoken for most of the class.

Frank came in a little late and sat at the very front. He had a bit of a loud voice and it didn't really draw much of an interest for a while until he asked our professor who Ralph was. They were sitting on the same row, with a girl on the seat between them. Frank turned around when he was pointed toward Ralph and immediately praised him for a story he had written, shaking his hand in the process. I was to their left, about a row or so over, and I couldn't help but break out into a grin. So did Ralph, but he was also taken aback, way more than the observers.

I've never seen anyone go out of their way to shake a relatively unknown writer's hand just because of something they've read. I don't think Frank expects to gain anything from Ralph; it really did just look like a compliment. I stared off in awe for a little while there. I think our professor said Frank is involved with the college's literary magazine (on what position I don't know) and so ended up reading almost all stories crafted in the creative writing classes. Our professor also assured us Frank was a great writer, a title which Frank rejected, noting that saying that meant setting the bar a little too high and dooming him for failure. He was also kind enough to let us know, during our reading of a short story, that Hemingway pretty much hated commas.

Angelina came in a little bit late--later than Frank and all the ten or so students that had gotten lost due to the misleading listing of the room--and so this was more or less a grand entrance in my eyes. I'm about to get creepy: when she walked in, I noticed she stood well over 5'10 (an estimate here, but definitely in the Taller Than Most category), wearing black stiletto pumps (WAY Taller Than Most), a small yellow dress that ended about four inches above her knees, with her blond hair tied back in a bum. I think she might have also had a black blazer. Her face was small, round, and a little disproportional to the rest of her body, which is not a bad thing, in fact, I do think it made her look rather exotic. When the professor asked her to introduce herself, we found out she's in fashion design and was just taking creative writing because it was an art she wanted to explore. She spoke energetically and with an accent, but I couldn't figure out where she was from. When Angelica declared Hemingway's writing in Indian Camp sort of primal and when she spoke of her interpretations regarding the suicide of the father, I immediately knew I would be keeping a close eye on her, Ralph, and Frank. AND YEAH. I am aware that sounds odd. I promise, it's just instant-but-sure-to-wither-away admiration from the wide-eyed 17 year old.

Sci-Fi Norma doesn't get much of a description here because she didn't go to the class. According to the professor she signed up for that slot (under some other course name because she'd already taken creative writing 1 and 2) yet hadn't shown up. Ralph asked about her sort of indirectly, saying something like, "where's the girl who wrote that sci-fi story?" It was vague, our professor knew immediately, and when he mentioned her name I wrote it down, just in case.

Class started rather normally. As I said, my professor turned out to be rather nice and funny. Because I had already gone through and worried about the syllabus, I managed to keep calm while he gave us an overview of the class.

After about an hour of discussing the structure of the class and the differences between the two levels, he sat us out on a circle and said, "You're going to think I'm the biggest cliche ever because I have a Hemingway story."

As stated before, it was Indian Camp, which he read out loud for all of us, analyzing it and allowing for little inputs to spring here and there.

And this is kind of where I got mentally hit by a train.

(continued tomorrow!)

1 comment:

  1. Anonymous9:13 PM

    Is that why you never let me read your stuff

    come on you know I only want to make your writing bleeeed a little. Just a nick or two it isn't too bad I swear


"Science and science fiction have done a kind of dance over the last century... The scientists make a finding. It inspires science fiction writers to write about it, and a host of young people read the science fiction and are excited, and inspired to become scientists...which they do, which then feeds again into another generation of science fiction and science..."
- Carl Sagan, in his message to future explorers of Mars.