Tuesday, April 1, 2008

The Power of Story

I'm glad I went to class today.

The class is creative writing, which is probably the closest to what I could say I want a career in someday.  Throughout the course of this semester we're doing ten short stories.  I'm a little bit behind, but I have turned in a few at this point in the class.

Today, the professor chose two stories for us to read out loud and discuss, which we do often (or at least when I have made it to class).  He chose my story about surfing, and I had the privilege of reading it out loud for the class.

I get a little nervous sometimes when I read my work in front of people.  I think it has to do with the fact that I love writing, I think I'm good at it, and if I were to read something I wrote to a disapproving audience, it just might kill me.  It would be terrible if I was not very good at what I want to do for the rest of my life.  So I'm always taking a leap of faith out there by sharing my stories with others.  Obviously, I like it when people give me positive feedback, because that really encourages me. (An example of getting nervous when reading my work:  In creative writing:poetry last year, I had to read some deeply personal poems in front of the class, about four in a row.  I almost didn't make it through the fourth, as my legs started to shake, I started to breathe really fast and thought I would pass out from dizziness.  I had to stop halfway through the poem to catch my breath.)

I read my story out loud today, and it fell upon mixed reviews.  I think that several people didn't necessarily understand the metaphor, or the point that I was trying to make.  Most of the criticism that people gave was good, but I have to draw a line at some point, or else I'll just sacrifice my writing style for what these other people think is right or wrong.  One person actually handed me a copy of my story completely marked up for grammar mistakes.  I looked it over, and this person was adding words and changing sentences left and right.  If I had made all of those changes, it wouldn't have been my story anymore.  It would have been adulterated.

However, there was one person who said some great things about the story.  It was great to hear what she had to say, because she really did understand what I was trying to say.  She read sections out loud that she especially liked, and she sounded so happy about certain parts of the story.  When people are truly appreciative like she was, it reminds me of why I write.  Because I love to write, I love to write, and stories have the power to bring people together.  Some of the greatest authors and speakers of our time became great because of their skill in using metaphors and analogies, and good stories.  I hope that I can always use the power of story, because I feel that it is a gift God has given me to do good work for his kingdom.


i am Ryan said...

Chris, I just want you to know that I think you are a great writer. You are creative and funny and you express yourself well, and I hope to one day be able to write as well as you.

kylee said...

you are a good writer, i think both negative and positive criticism is can benefit your chosen trade's practice.