meetings with laura.


i responded recently to a craigslist ad for a writing group. i have no idea when we're going to meet. i looked at all the recipients of the mass email sent by the post's creator, amy, and it looks like i'm going to be the only guy again. which is probably a good thing. i can't stand most guys my age. the only good guy friends i had were always potheads, and that's probably why we got along. guys my age are just stupid, i guess. i mean, i heard one of them bought a million dollar home somewhere in southern california, and now he's declaring bankruptcy. who buys a million dollar home at 25? what are you, a moron?

i picture most guys my age wanting some girl, or else some advanced piece of technology. i doubt they're thinking much about how their next purchase affects the gdp, or how the existence of a single best buy is just making all of us that much stupider. i picture them, wearing their straight ties, going to work and doing nothing for eight hours, coming home to watch the game, or else play some world of warcraft. how fucking original. i like my pothead guy friends. they are worried about the state of the world, as everyone should be, but they know there is nothing we can do about it, so they light up as much as they can afford. i could count the number of male friends i have who are like this on one hand.

because i can't afford to get high every night, i'll have to settle for an all-female writing group. i think i'm going to workshop my story, "the rave in the boonies," about the girl who gets her lips sewn shut on the stage. i wonder what the others will write about. it's funny to me, reading some previous entries, and some old stories i've written. i usually read them and cringe. i've deleted and thrown away much of what i've written. it's cliché to think of oneself as a terrible writer, so i think i'm just aiming for quantity now. i was always told, "work from abundance," but i think i'm just now starting to take that advice. i always wrote really shitty stories that went nowhere, and i wondered why my stories were so shitty. i think that i was always trying to make something out of nothing, and i didn't know that i carry most of the real shit around with me everyday.

i stop myself sometimes, and i delete extra, unnecessary commentary. who knows if it makes something better or worse? isn't it all just a matter of opinion? it can't be, though. because i can recognize those moments when i'm completely blown away, and other times when i can sense that something is complete bullshit. some literary magazine editor once said, "good writing is difficult to articulate, but not to recognize." i think that's all i can do in life. i can only recognize good writing when i see it. but what good is that skill in an illiterate world?

i've gotten off track again. i meant to write about meetings with laura. at seattle university, i met with laura at coffee shops and we discussed writing. mostly, we did this because our teacher, the only filipino-american writer i know, completely let us down. he would read our stories and say, "this is good," or else, "work on the conclusion." i guess that's all you can really do as a writing teacher, but i expected more. i knew he was a published author, and i wanted him to make me one, too, i suppose. but he did little more than tell me that he liked one story - one - that i had written all quarter. i gave him a negative review as a teacher, but i bought all of his books. they're good.

so, laura and i would meet. i think i just wanted a new friend, more than anything. it didn't work out too well, though, since we were both really quiet people. after discussing stories, there wasn't much left to say. "they have good raspberry scones here." "mmm." "alright, well, i'd better get going. see you in class." "alright." we really didn't help each other's writing all that much. i think we both just needed the other to recognize and confirm that we were doing something meaningful, something worth doing. we needed all the readers and feedback we could get. i think that's what i'm hoping for this time around, too.

because when you're in the middle of a story, something really good, you can't possibly think about anything else.

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