I will be very glad when the semester’s done. I say that not only because final projects are piling up and everywhere I turn I seem to find more and can’t get rid of any.
Earlier this week I had a conversation with a very nice woman, who happened to give “I believe God created women to be fully evolved” as a reason for her idea that women can and should be priests and pastors. I’m not sure she’d thought much about what she was saying. That was aggravating.
Later the same day, in the nonfiction workshop, several people complimented one of my pieces on being a prose poem. I don’t believe such a thing exists.
Yesterday I got back full responses to my piece that got called a prose poem. One of them goes, in part, like this: “You always talk about the modern world with such disgust and hatred, and though I understand the feeling of being different then [sic] the average person, you don’t express any interest in either learning anything about it, or improving it. You constantly go on about a romanticized version of the past, and talk about how the modern world is so coloroless [sic] and horrible, as if killing people with swords is somehow better than killing people with guns. . . . Try to branch out more, and see the world through your own eyes, as opposed to the eyes of people long dead.”
I’m still laughing at being advised not to see the world through dead peoples’ eyes. I just so happen to write historical fiction, and “seeing the world through the eyes of people long dead” is a good way of describing that when people ask. Except I’m sure he wasn’t intending for me to use his words that way.
(By the way, to allay your fear, I said nothing about swords being better than guns as far as morality goes. I compared wit to a rapier, which has been done before; I mentioned Aquinas and Francis of Assisi and only two or three people knew who they were; I said the Celts were inclined to fighting; but that was about it. I think killing people with swords is more poetic than with guns in most cases, and allows for more chivalry, but that doesn’t necessarily mean it’s morally right. Murder is still murder no matter how it’s done.)
The classmate who wrote this response is also the guy who accuses Christians of being hateful bigots, and then goes and says nasty things about us, and the one who told me in class, “This is an outdated idea, and you say you’re a historian”, so we don’t get along perfectly. But still. The piece was mainly about where I come from — my ancestry, pretty much. It’s hard to be entirely present with a topic like that, as the very definition of terms has so much to do with people who have been dead for a while, like Aeneas. (And context also for that repetition of Eyetalian.) I’m not sure where he got the idea that I always talk about the modern world with hatred and disgust, but I don’t think I’m obligated to defend that.
It does make me wonder why I’m even bothering with this. If I’m here to learn how to write, and I’m being taught how to do things all wrong (based, of course, on messed-up presuppositions), wouldn’t it make sense to do something else?