I’m on midway through my second of six quarters (assuming I finish in two years), and I’ve gone from really high to really low. And maybe back to medium-high again. My first quarter went great. I enjoyed it, learned, workshopped, critiqued, found myself surrounded by like minds, got to spend time with people who were motivated and intelligent and interested and engaged. I was in a magazine writing course and a history of new journalism class (Tom Wolfe, Hunter S. Thompson, etc). I got an A in both, then received notice of a scholarship I was eligible for and an invitation to join an honor society. Hooray, right?
This quarter, I’m taking a publishing class and one that was described as helping me to gain a better understanding of the style and language I choose as a writer, as well as how that is perceived by an audience. So far, all we’ve done is listen to the professor talk about sentences he likes that he read in the paper, diagram sentences (sort of?), and take a test last Thursday that I’m about 80% sure I bombed.
Last night, my publishing class did a workshop on literary agent query letters we had to write. No one would volunteer their letter except one kid who volunteers for everything. Finally, I offered to go. I shit you not, after I finished, my professor, who runs her own independent press, said she’d like to take a look at my book. I was floored. She kept saying, “I’d like to take a look at that,” “I’d read that.”
The only bad thing is, I haven’t finished it. In fact, most of what was in the query letter was just fantasy. Like, if I ever turned this 40 pages of junk I have into a 300+ page book, this is how I imagine it would go.
It gives me hope. If I can pull through the writing course (yeah, I know, I need to meet with the professor. Sigh.), maybe I won’t get another one of these scholarships, and maybe I’ll get kicked out of the honor society, but at least I know I’m heading in the right direction.
There’s just something really unsettling about being in a program that’s supposed to be filled with “masters” of the English language, and to have no clue what the hell is going on.