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2/18/11

Geography of the Mind

More on writing fiction...

I'm writing a short story. Actually it would be better to write that I am attempting to write a short story. It is a class assignment for the Fiction Writing class I'm taking and it's going to be "workshopped" next week by 14 people I barely know. I've already written some flash fiction for this class that's been workshopped and also read some short stories and written reviews for them. The more I write fiction, not only do I realize I have no idea what I'm doing, I also realize that I'm not such a great non-fiction writer either. Not as good a one as I thought anyway...fairly decent but not a great one.

Taking this college freshman class in writing fiction has been very humbling and very good for me. I'm not the only person in the class who already has a bachelors degree with writing experience, returning to school, to learn to write fiction for the "fun" of it. All of us realize now that we know very little about writing, in fact it probably would be better if we knew nothing about writing. The class members, a mixed group of all ages, who haven't yet gone through writing the long essays and papers of upper division undergraduate classes and dissertations of postgraduate classes are far better off. They've also never had to write nonfiction for a living, the world of white papers, curriculum, policies and procedures, legal briefs, correspondence templates, technical documentation.

They have much brighter, clearer, fresher eyes. I remember looking through my eyes that way once, a long time ago, and am learning a lot by looking into their eyes about seeing things anew. Inside I squeal a little bit of happiness when one of them asks something that would be considered naive amongst a group of so-called educated people. It's teaching me to not be so jaded, to look at things with an unprocessed and open mind, an opportunity for replenishment and regeneration.

I'm going to finish writing that short story and then write another and maybe even more.