Wednesday, March 01, 2006
I suppose this totally goes against the protocol of the classroom being a safe haven, a place where you should be free to share your thoughts and whatnot without the risk of humiliation. Fuck that. This isn’t group counseling people.
On the Monday before I have my class, students assigned to present are supposed to email their manuscripts to everyone. It gives the rest of us a few days to read, critique and prepare for the Thursday evening discussion. Mr. Metro, a fifty something year old with squared off glasses and expensive jeans, agreed to be one of the first guinea pigs. His email popped up in my inbox yesterday and I printed it out today.
There are no guidelines to the manuscript with the exception of one rule. You can submit no more than 7500 words. Less is fine and from where I’m sitting, less is preferred. No one in the room has been published so I’m thinking less words means less brain pain and less eye strain. I’m sticking to a less is more motto for this class.
Metro’s manuscript popped up in Word at 34 pages. Gulp. I haven’t gotten around to reading 10 pages in a book I adore and now I have to forfeit my time for 34 pages of something I am pretty sure I don’t even want to waste good paper on let alone my limited awake time. For the sake of curiosity, I did a word count. 7,505. Aha! That bastard! Oh wait. He has a name and date at the top. One, two, three, four, five. Shit.
Not wanting to deprive my loyal following, all three of you, of the literary talent I’m being exposed to, I’m going to treat you to the first paragraph of Mr. Metro’s piece:
Ira Kaplan’s in the shower, killing Martians. He’s been killing Martians ever since he first curled up like a wood louse in the Ardennes. It slowed his tremblings. It protected him from hurling guts. It hushed the Screaming Mimies. Somewhere in the Ardennes, killing Martians kept Ira Kaplan alive.
Yeah. I was speechless too.
Sometimes, when I’m feeling physically fragile, I’ll point to an obese person and ask a good friend if my hips are that big. In my heart of hearts, I know they aren’t. But I need a little boost so my distorted self image doesn’t get the best of me. I’m not feeling all that insecure about my writing these days but, seriously, my writing isn’t that bad…is it?