Tuesday, February 23, 2010

Now I know why I am not a poet

I was blessed to attend two workshops on creative writing this week. One was the local Christian writers workshop last Saturday in Castro Valley http://www.christianwriter.org/ and another one was a workshop given by a Korean professor/poet who teaches creative writing courses in Korea. He is on his sabbatical.

Last Saturday, I came home after all day workshop, giddy, inspired, and alive. I loved every minute of the workshop experience;listening accomplished authors' writing experiences, publishing tips from fiction and non-fiction writers, and finding ideas from everyday life. Somewhere, a long time ago, I acquired that I must commit words on the paper perfect at the first try, otherwise you are not a good writer. If you are a talented writer, you spin the words effortlessly. No matter how much you love to write, if you are not talented, you can't be a writer. I knew I couldn't spin my words effortlessly, so I became a teacher. These authors at the workshop told us a good piece of writing comes after many versions of editing. Words don't come effortlessly to them either. I was inspired to hear their struggles, and also I could related to their joy of writing.

Last night, I went to another writing group meeting, this was for Korean writers. Sixteen of us met in a Korean restaurant. For 3 hours, we listen to the teacher talking about famous Korean poets, and why the poet wrote this word and that word, and jumping from one topic to another. The teacher talked, students listened (in my case I pretended to listen). My enthusiasm for writing was ebbing away by the minute. After the three-hour lecture, I walked out deflated, and I just wanted to go home and go to bed. I finally realized why I lost my dream of being a writer. My dream was killed by teachers who talked too much.

I thought about these two different workshop experiences, and I remind myself two things, so I don't kill my students' dream. Don't talk for 3 hours. Don't treat my student as though they don't have brain to think.