Thursday, August 16, 2007

The troubles of a writing group, if you can even call it that.

The other day I met with the writing group I thought would be no more. We probably wouldn’t have met but my ad that had gone unanswered all summer got one more reply. And one of the teachers was able to make it back for at least this week so we decided to give it a try.

I felt bad for the new guy because, the teacher will call her E, (I don’t want to use her real name since I didn’t ask if I could. Not that I think she would mind but that’s not for me to decide. And yes I use Jenni’s name without permission but her name is all over our Behind the Naugahyde website so what difference does it make? Sorry Jenni please don’t hate and/or sue me.), had been so busy traveling to Maryland for an interview last week that she didn’t have any writing for the group to read and I couldn’t get to any of my writing because it was all floating around in the chaos of back-up file land. So we were going to be focusing completely on new guy's work.

Of course, E and I got there kind of late and we hadn’t bothered to tell the new guy, D, what we looked like so when we got there he was actually sitting with another writing group that had another member named E (well E’s real name). What a coincidence? We told him he was welcome to stay with the cool writing group that had a sufficient supply of members who would be around for a while, would actually bring work and be on time but for some reason he chose to go with us.

I hadn’t been able to get his story that he had sent for me to read in advance because it was in my e-mail and we all know I was having some serious computer problems. So I felt bad that the pressure was on me to read on the spot, come up with comments and do all of this in a timely fashion while I fought off the paranoia that D and E were staring at me.

Once I started reading D’s story I was grateful and annoyed. He’s an amazing writer. He had a fantastic literary story that read like poetry. It was so descriptive and filled with brilliant metaphors. He had an excellent vocabulary. The story definitely needed a lot of thinking which I had little time to do. I of course could think of nothing to say other than “wow!” so I marked a few typos to make it look like I was being helpful.
Thankfully he had questions and that gave me a little footing for some input but still I was annoyed with myself for not having more time to really think it through and grateful that I hadn’t brought the third half of my cheesy, clichéd and poorly written vampire story.

We ended the meeting and he said if we had another meeting he would come back. I feel like E and our other writer/teacher, B, are skilled enough in writing to work with D but I think my presence will drag the group down if we manage to survive.

I almost thought that maybe I was just being over dramatic and maybe D’s work was great but not that great, until we were in the parking lot and E said she thought that his work was quite impressive as well.

So we managed to squeeze out one more meeting. I have no idea if there will be another. Fortunately for her but unfortunate for our writing group, E got a teaching job out of state and is moving away. B will be busy at least for the start of the school year plus he lost all of his work due to computer problems so it may be a while before he recovers from that. And D might find a group that’s more in his league.

Just saw: Underdog
Listening to: Nickelback-All the Right Reasons


whimsicalnbrainpan said...

"I think my presence will drag the group down if we manage to survive."

Damn woman! Have a little more faith in yourself than that! From what I've read I'd say that you are a good writer.

I hope your computer problems have been solved.

Ashley said...

Thanks Whim, I know you're right. I should have more faith in myself but some times it's hard to find.

And sadly my computer problems are far huger than I thought. I'll have to post about that later.