01 February 2005

on the nature of criticism and the word extraordinary.

before i start i would like to put in a quick and shameless plug for montaigne's essays, to whom i dedicate the title of this posting. YAY MONTAIGNE! you may be dead and rotting (well, rottED) in the earth beneath france, but i love you i love you!

i would like to thank anonymous (?) for his/her declaration that i should leave my exorbitant attentions to editing behind, and just finish my precious page of Writing and move on. (chuckle. i don't know how to comment Back at people in this blog thing, so here it is..)
i think this is true and valid criticism.
i must temper that assertion, regretfully, with the caveat that it is a somewhat uninformed one, since part of my problem with writing of late has been part of a bigger issue i have with many aspects of being me, most of which revolve around my addiction to anxiety and my inability to Focus.

my that was wordy.

there are some writers who get stuck in editing, and some who Never edit at all, and pile up stacks and stacks of ink-stained darlings, which they can never quite fit anywhere, partially because of a lack of commitment to do so, or a disbelief in the value of objective reworking.

and I, dear readers, Belong (hook, line and sinker) to this latter category.

this addiction of late to seeing something through, to sticking it out when the process gets repetitive and almost boring, to actually cutting out extraneous matter to further streamline a True Story, this is not a practise i have engaged in before. i'm all about writing a whole wack of little darlings on napkins and doilies and taking scotch tape and trying to piece them together and then pinning them to the wall and saying proudly "HAH! now don't these little bits of pithy brilliance make sense?!"

uh..No, actually. (shrug)

Now. All of this Said, i am making NO like-minded assumptions about my advisor, and i Do Very Much Value the input, so with nary a further re-read i shall enclose my treasured little ditty in my next posting, for the edification (or not) of all.

and now.

i went in to speak with the administrator of my program yesterday about my upcoming internship. i told her where i wanted to be placed, assuring her that i was aware my ideals might be unrealistic, but i was willing to canvas said publishers myself for my placement.
she was dead-set on organizing my internship herself. to each publisher i mentioned she said "leave them to me". (i should point out that our last conversation had me anticipating a placement in some two-woman feminist publishing company, housed in the editor's living room. a circumstance i did NOT (shiver) embrace at all)

finally i pointed out that perhaps my sending a personal email might prove my interest in actively pursuing the companies i was into, as opposed to having it done for me.

there was a pause, and then she looked me square in the face and said: "you're NOT extraordinary, you know. Everyone is passionate about where they want to work. you are NO different from them."


i Am an only child that has a fair amount of difficulty reminding myself on a daily basis that the universe Does Not in fact revolve around me.
that's fine. (believe it or not, that's actually a Great Bloody Relief)
and there is still much shedding of ego and stef-centricity (sic) to be done, and perhaps this comment was a clever superior's way of trying to help me out with that — humbling me into acquiescence.


what the FUCK kind of comment is that?

and HOW, Exactly, may i ask, is this comment Productive to any of the parties involved?
does she tell ALL her students "you're nothing special?"
and WHY did she let me into a program that only accepts 40 students out of 300 or whatever applications, then?
and WHAT, in fact, am i DOING in a program that takes on students if they are Not (AS IF they're not!) Extraordinary?

what rubbish.

standing back (as much as i can, since my back is up against a wall) i think she might have been trying to point out that my personal efforts would do me no good ingratiating myself towards strangers, hence the attempt to take the wind out of my sails.
and i could always use a bit more humble pie.
but some lessons in diplomatic wording and respect for people modestly trying their best are definitely recommended.

lastly but not leastly.

"in eighteenth-century France there lived a man who was one of the most gifted and abominable personages in an era that knew no lack of gifted and abominable personages. his story will be told here...."

i've begun "perfume" at Last. AT LAST. Glee and Bliss!

1 comment:

John said...

Love babyjesus.

Enjoy Perfume.