I keep getting in trouble with my English teachers for being too mean. This has been going on for a while.
There’s something very uncollegy about the check-plus, check, check-minus system. Like they’re afraid to tell us if something is good or bad.
Like we’re children.
In my early-level courses, I was grateful for the sugarcoating. Writing is a vulnerable act, and early on encouragement is probably more important than honesty.
After a while, I began to distrust this plastic layer of niceness.
Now it’s reached the point where I completely distrust anything positive about my work.
The problem with English majors is that they’re goddman sensitive. Everyone’s got some common problem with a simple solution, but instead of trying to solve the problem they expect the universe to change around them.
I wrote all this last week. If it reads as a condemnation of people feeling bad for themselves then good – I fooled you. I also fooled myself. That’s what I was really trying to do.
But you can’t run away forever, and it looks like things have finally caught up to me.
Oftentimes when I make fun of things, it’s because I’m trying to expel something I see in myself. That’s what I was trying to do with the first half of this post, but I just couldn’t finish it.
I’ve been posting every Thursday for a while now, but I missed last week because I was staring at my computer, wondering what was standing in my way.
I like to think of myself as the type of person who is in control of their emotions, but that’s only because I know I’m not. My outside behavior is a product of carefully maintained self-manipulation.
I don’t think this is unusual, and everyone does it to some degree, but for me it’s a constant process. When I see people acting in complete disregard of their own insignificance it enrages me.
I’m going to try to be more empathetic.
I graduated from an English degree last year and I totally understand what you’re getting at. In first year everyone had to be wrapped in cotton wool when given a critique. In our last year, though, everyone wanted their pieces ripped to shreds, including me. Admittedly, though, our tutors never sugarcoated things for us. They would just find a really polite way of telling us our worked sucked…
I’m going to graduate with an English degree soon. Can you tell me what waits on the other side?
Steer clear of journalism. Journalism made me decide to take on a completely new degree and now I’ve signed up for five more years of uni.
I strongly suggest getting an internship. Anything. Aboslutely anything that involves you writing. Seriously, do it. And try and get published while you’re at college. You have people there who can edit your work for you. Waiting until after uni – like I did – is a bad idea.
It’s not so bad. Jobs are limited, but if you get some experience you’d be surprised. 🙂
Oh my gosh this was like rolling through fields of wheat with a beautiful celestial zither. You are a special writer and very unique.
I knew it.
I remember years ago I wrote from my soul in an English class. My grandma had died and I wrote about it. The English teacher at college said it was trite and I handled it badly. I internalized the grief and dislike for the comment and that stopped my great book that I could have written at that time. I should sue but the teacher is long dead. I will have some words with him when I die. I will show him that my failure as a writer was his fault for he killed my creativity. On the other hand, I think I will wait on it. No rush.
I think you should try writing it again. Age usually adds perspective to writing events.
Sometimes the past needs to be left alone. I have moved on from that topic.
I loved this one. I think it’s ‘once in a while’ though, but you’re still hilarious and totally special. Keep up the good work 🙂
Thank you. 🙂
There must be a middle ground.
“You are so CREATIVE” – what my mother says when she has no idea what one of my stories is about. She has never said, “You are so SPECIAL!”
That’s probably better.
Another great post.
On the subject of significance – that’s all a matter of perspective. Personally I think every human is undeniably incredibly significant and undeniably incredibly insignificant at the same time. Which I find quite comforting – we are all truly special yet part of something far far greater than ourselves.
Those in your class that are acting too entitled could probably do with a reminder of their insignificance, but perhaps you need a bit of a push in the other direction? Like dj said above, there is a middle ground – and I think it’s a good place to be.
I like how ‘I F***ing Love Science’ put it recently …
Thank you for posting, andytallman. This made me feel a little better.
freaking love this. reminds me of a more sardonic version of one of my favorite graphic novels: BLANKETS
Dude, I love BLANKETS.
Shut up. …you know it
AH! I just discovered your blog. I love it. And the bit about distrusting positive feedback pretty much spoke directly to my soul. Every time I write something, I shove it in as many faces as will tolerate it, and you know what they always say?
“I thought it was really good.”
Seriously, though. DID YOU EVEN READ IT?!?
Thanks for bringing some happiness to my boring day at work.
You’re welcome. It’s good to know other people feel this way
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