JOURNEY HOME THE STORY GOES ON PART 8
SUCCESS=LEARNING…BUT I WANTED TO PASS…I WANTED MORE
I had always loved to write but was learning new ways to develop and convey things as I wrote. I worked to create more action instead of describing the action. I learned new ways to look at the things I was trying to do. When you can take a class that teaches not only information but also an ability to think and grow in what you are trying to learn and accomplish I began to feel I was succeeding in my goal I had originally set….to learn.
I had said that I did not care if I passed or not. The grade I received was not my objective. I was there to learn and that was what I was trying to do to the best of my ability. Class by class I became more comfortable and was at least able to understand what was being discussed. I loved the friendships that developed and the communications with the other students. We went on breaks together, occasionally got together for a study group and actually did more general discussing than study, but found it inspirational and supportive in this learning adventure.
One of the short stories I wrote during the class had suspense and mystery but concluded with a happy ending. I like happy endings. The instructor once mentioned that the only thing he had a problem with the way I wrote was that my writing style would make a great movie of the week. Before I stopped to think I burst out laughing. I told him I would love to be able to write novels, short stories and movie of the week, month, and year. I wanted to write.
He encouraged us to take the short story that we had written and see what we could come up with if we changed it involving a different ending. Could we develop it in a totally different conclusion with the same original situation and characters? He again mentioned that I seemed to prefer to write happy endings. He passionately explained to build the suspense and drama in my writing skills he thought I should consider the fact that not all of life has a happy ending. Realistically life did not work that way.
I thought about what he was saying. I had to agree. Most of life often seemed as if there were no happy endings. Many times in life there are unimaginable hardships. I smiled and took my time before I answered him. We were in a conference so I did not have to worry about what others thought about what I would say or share. “I have to agree with you that life often presents situations or periods that are very unhappy, painful, disappointing, hopeless, filled with despair, and more desperate and depressing than even a writer could describe. I may understand that better than you might ever believe or be able to relate to. Since in some ways I have lived such things instead of creatively imagining them, there may be an answer to why I prefer to write happy endings. My stories have conflict, problems, even pain and difficulties…but one way or another seem to find a way to survive and resolve some of the most difficult or disturbing of problems or situations. I do love a happy ending. Maybe I am hoping that is what I will one day find in my own life. If I write happy long enough maybe I will learn more than how to write…I could learn how to live it.”
He thought on my answer, then replied. “I can see what you are saying but I would like to see what you can come up with from a different point of view. See if you can create and make a short piece work with an ending that is less than happy.” His next assignment was to use our short story and re-write it with a different ending.
I did the assignment but still preferred the happy ending. My second short story is one that I loved writing. I would tell you about it, but that would ruin the fun of reading it. I will share it soon on this blog and on the fan page on facebook. I will say that I like the way it was written but this instructor found it to be too complex. He felt sure most of the readers would find it confusing and not fully understand the story. He wanted me to re-write it in a more traditional way telling the story. I have a bit of an odd sense of humor. I wrote the story to involve the reader to the extent that they would actually be a part of the story. I can not wait to share it and see what you think.
I did the re-write and it was a good thing because it gave me experience to be able to look at things that I write in more than one way. It helped me to grow and develop more ability.
The first time I had a conference with the instructor I had wanted to find out how far behind the others in the class he found my work to be. He seemed confused. He asked why I would assume my writing skills to be less than any of the others.
He was so shocked he was almost speechless when I announced that I had taken the class to learn. I did not care what my grade would be because learning the skills I needed to make the novel I had written something I could be proud of was my objective. I wanted that and more. I wanted to be able to write many things, but write them well.
“How can you not care what grade you receive? Your grade will directly influence your GPA. This will count to either raise or lower your total GPA.”
I smiled and thought I was reminding him….”This is my GPA.”
“No, this will be averaged in with all of your other classes you have taken through the years.” He shook his head in disbelief that I had not understood that.
“I have no others classes. I am not even a freshman yet. I have not had years to prepare for this opportunity. I have been worried if I would slow the class down or even understand what you are trying to teach. There have been times I took notes in class and then have to go home and look things up and learn what you were saying so that I understand what you were teaching.” I waited for him to reply but he took his time thinking as if he was in disbelief.
He finally smiled and asked if I was serious. He explained that when he approved me for the class he assumed that the reason I had no transcript of classes is because I was a transfer student and the records had not been available. He had no idea that I was not in at least my third or fourth year of college or even a grad student. They had certain requirements for the class and he was shocked that they had allowed me to take the class at all.
We continued to talk about many things concerning the class and writing. I knew at that time I no longer could say that I did not care if I passed the class or not. I wanted to pass the class. I had to make and earn at least a passing grade. I wanted at least a “C”. I still thought in ..A…B…C…D’s and so on instead of points.
I worked. I really worked in that class and felt confident that I had learned so many new things. I had learned more than that. I had learned a new way to view the things that I wrote and opened the possibilities of developing my writing in many ways. I had learned to learn. I still liked my happy endings. I guess I always will. Life can be so hard and painful that when I read a book it is almost a relief to see something work out for someone. Not everything in what I write is happy. Not all things work out, but we keep trying. I am not giving up and neither will my characters. I am even thinking about writing sequels to both of the first two novels. Their story will go on. The title of one is Life Goes On and so it does. Life goes on. The title of the second one is Journey Home. We are all on a journey in life and finding our way home is not always what we think and may take us to places we never dreamed. We each have our own journeys to travel and hope that home is happy and safe waiting for our return. If we do not give up we will make that journey touching others along the way and weaving our own story. I will not give up….not today.