Thursday, March 20, 2014

Crushed, this time in print

Last night I went to my MFA workshop after three weeks, due to a spring break/professor was on a book tour hiatus. It’s only beginning to dawn on me how terribly things went.

I was in the bubble this week, except for in this class the prof (B) calls it “the cone of silence.”  I prefer the bubble, so I am sticking with that.

I was uncomfortable with the piece I submitted from the start.  I just had a vague bad feeling about it—partially because I used up all of my more polished material in the fall workshop, and also because I just instinctively knew B wouldn’t like it.

Last night, I was a little heady because on the positive side he spoke highly of my "carefully modulated rhinous" which I thought sounded impressive, even if I had no idea what it meant. Today, I looked at his printed evaluation and discovered that, of course, he was impressed  by my wryness which made a lot more sense, but seeing the rest of his critique in print made things look much more grave than they did during the banter of workshop.

The piece in question was a more polished version of the gallery incident I wrote about in this forum while it was happening.  I fleshed out the characters a bit, particularly Lisa and The Curator.  But I should probably stop writing at this point and check my notes, as I have already committed a faux pas.  My signature Capitalization of Important Ideas has been a festering issue ever since I started going to workshop.  Last night, it was called “kittenish” and I was advised that caps “are not inherently funny” and that Salinger was the only one who could get away with it, and even then in just small doses. It’s been such an issue I am probably just going to abandon the practice. According to my feedback, I have much bigger worries.

Despite my misgivings, I submitted the piece anyway because it is/was meant to be the title piece for the manuscript I am/was working on called Not Gallery Quality: An Exhibit of Sketchy Composure. Which, is a reference to my unorthodox and unpolished lifestyle and my resulting madcap adventures. I wanted honest feedback and I did/do want to improve it. To B’s eyes, the piece came off as “pretentious” and he said that if I wanted to be funny I had to work on self depreciating humor.  The trouble is, anyone who has read this blog for any length of time, know that that is virtually all I do.  As I mentioned prior, I wanted constructive feedback, but right now I’m feeling like all I happened was I got served notice that capital letters aren't funny and a lecture on having a bad attitude.  He even alluded to me not being a good role model to my daughter by defending myself to The Curator, I mean the curator.

I have no cohesive ending for this post.  Nothing witty or wise, no silver lining.  I guess the takeaway here is that art of all kinds has a dark, subjective side and also that we all have bad days and today is one of mine.

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