Where I’m From
“I am made of my over-reactive mom and my under-reactive dad.”
I am currently finishing a fiction writing class at St. Francis College taught by my dad. The course was harder, more lively, and more fun than I expected, but it also made me realize how not special I am as a writer. I had probably been a little hard on the St. Francis students, and reading their writing—it was better than I expected—made me realize I was maybe a little too full of myself. It made me realize that writing isn’t just “what’s in you’re heart,” it’s getting people to understand what’s in your heart. People make the same mistake when they think about a jazz solo. They forget, or don’t understand, the importance of chord progressions, permutations, and tone. With writing and music, it’s about getting others to feel what you feel, which isn’t so easy.
My dad wants me to add something he says he talked about in class (I don’t remember): “Just because you feel something, just because something happened to you, doesn’t necessarily mean I want to read about it, doesn’t necessarily make it a story worth telling. You are obligated to make me care.”
Not to point fingers, but I think it was Senesh, my old school, that made me think I was such a good writer. Everything passed as great or good, never bad. I would get remarks like “I know you’re a good writer so you can do whatever you want.” It is important to be positive towards kids because if you’re not, they may assume they can’t do anything, but over positivity can lead to not understanding how much hard work and commitment it takes to be really good at something.
[Note from dad: I–and Skeptic, and many others–really do think you’re a GREAT writer (not to mention musician)–what now?]
As a little extra thing to add to home school this year, this week I started taking a Fundamentals of Short Fiction Writing course for high school students through Brandeis University. This is definitely, in part, a compensation for my mom in that she “found” the class and, also, is just happy that I am in an “official” class of any kind, but I’m happy about it too.
The first assignment was called “Where I’m From.” My dad liked what I wrote. Thought he wouldn’t. Anyway, here is what I wrote:
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