… from a piece of your own writing until it is “ultimately” reduced, or, read or write it backwards, line by line or word by word.
This might be fun, I thought. I considered the lyrics of my favorite songs- maybe I could reverse the order of the words to make it a different song! I once created a villanelle using Al Green lyrics for a poetry assignment. It seemed interesting, but I felt as if I wasn’t being entirely honest with myself, since I wasn’t using my own writing for the experiment.
Combing through the files on my current USB, I found a piece that I started a month ago and haven’t returned to. It’s a narrative about my last creative class in college: fiction writing.
I might see some, but I shared Lester Bang’s philosophy from the film Almost Famous: “You’ll meet them all again on the long journey to the middle.” Many of my favorite poets had tried their hands at being architects, lawyers, teachers, but could not resist the call to write and publish. My favorite writers in history had meager educations or studied something different entirely; they certainly didn’t have a Masters or Doctorate in Creative Writing. But I also knew, at an early age, that there were bills to be paid and my parents weren’t footing them. Many were going on to grad school, which I didn’t understand at the time. Back to the lecture at hand: sitting in desks encircling our professor, we each shared our aspirations.
Writing was my altar where I worshipped. Writers who could write about and define even just one image or sensation without being too wordy were immortal in my eyes. I could easily understand why so much depends on a red wheel barrow, giving William Carlos Williams a seat at my imagined “Last Supper” gathering of poets and writers. I was infatuated with poetry written by the likes of Ezra Pound and Hilda Doolittle. My earlier classes in my college career were my favorite: British literature, modern and contemporary poetry, Creative non-fiction, and even the English composition that most freshmen loathed. (It should be known that the professor also opened the discussion with a lengthy synopsis about that week’s episode of “24.”) The professor praised his writing each class, lecturing longingly about the descriptions he used to depict crashing helicopters and races against time. There was a guy who fancied himself to be the next James Patterson or Dan Brown, writing in the realm of thrilling action plots with complicated men as main characters. The course was the concluding link in my Creative Writing major requirements as it was for most of the students who were set to graduate that spring. For the discussion in our last meeting, my professor (whose name I can’t even recall and probably won’t be able to) asked each person in the group to say what he or she had planned for after the semester.
I, along with twenty other of my colleagues, trudged through the snow all winter for that class and honestly, we all looked haggard. I don’t know, maybe I was just fed up with school, tired from partying before graduation, perhaps a culmination of the two. I had been in a Fiction Writing course for my final semester at Miami University of Ohio and my overall take on the experience was indifferent.
I remember the last day of my last writing class in college.