Thursday, November 16, 2006

Plans gone awry

You ever set something up for yourself -- a schedule for your morning, a class, the route you're going to take to work? Your sense of calm? -- just to have it go south on you in every possible way?

That is my morning. It is also the writing class I started taking in September (although I have met three terrific women in that class, Sella, Kristin, and AutumnGoddess).

Last night, in class, our instructor took a writer to task for calling a character both taciturn and surly, saying that a person couldn't be both things, because taciturn means laid-back.

My head about exploded.

"Taciturn means you're reserved, you don't talk very much," I said from the back of the class, where I sulk, regret the money I spent to take the class, and look for opportunities to pounce on the instructor, who bugs me. You should know, this is not the first time she's given us bum advice.

"Really? I don't think so," the instructor said.

I think my eyes actually shot out of my head at that point.

"It does not mean laid-back," I said. "It means you're not talkative. You can be both surly and taciturn."

Think back to what I'm like in EVERY CLASS, bitch, I thought. That's surly and taciturn.

She was still up there shaking her head and smiling, bemused. She was like that because her boss was in the room. Normally she's not much a one for students who contradict her.

She makes me want to throw things.

Later she told another writer that he was a little on the wordy side. This is like saying that Hitler didn't much care for Jews. She took this sentence as an example:

Thoughts of egress seemed to flee from him, pushed away to make room for these accursed walls.

Then she decided to edit it. She mulled, and she mulled, and it felt like bugs were crawling all over me. Finally she came up with this: "Escape seemed to be impossible to him."

"ESCAPE SEEMED IMPOSSIBLE," I said from the back of the room, feeling every word.

"Hmm?" she said pleasantly.

"You don't need to be, or to him," I said. "The more extraneous wording you can cut out, the stronger your writing will be."

She nodded pleasantly, while waves of dislike flowed from the writer in question toward me.

I left at the break.

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