The relationship of an editor and a writer

How can I ever trust someone to edit my work?
I mean I know I should, and that there are probably hundreds of mistakes within my writing, but for some reason it takes a lot of strength for me to trust that what someone suggests is the right thing to do. I read today somewhere that “editors are just writers that never make it.” And it discouraged me, because I love to edit. This is hypocritical, I know, because I love to edit other people’s papers, but never to have anyone else edit mine. I think that editors have to be successful writers however, because if they are going to try and fix someone else’s writing they have to know what they are doing!
Editing other people’s papers is enjoyable for me, but also difficult, because I want to make sure that I don’t remove their voice from their writing. When my voice is removed from my writing then I feel like it isn’t even mine anymore!
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“Skinhead” by Patricia Smith

No words to describe the emotion I felt after watching Patricia Smith read her poem “Skinhead”.
The way she wrote this amazed me. I have been looking at writing in terms of poetry more often than usual lately, and I have found some really cool pieces. This poem is amazing. The tension she uses to push her ideas in each line adds to the overall message. The perspective of a racist white man leads me to become more angry while I watch her read it. I think this reminds me how powerful words can be. The words that she wrote reached people all over for one main reason: they are actually said. And thinking about this disgusts me.

Here is the video:

Cutting and pasting

A few days ago I was going through my google docs account and came across something disgusting. A love letter I wrote to my boyfriend when I was 15. As I read over this cringe worthy letter I laughed out loud. I don’t remember feeling this way towards anyone. To make this more understandable here is a couple of quotes:

Jase, I promise you I will love you forever. Even if we end up taking different paths, I make the promise to never stop loving you.

I love every little thing about you. I have never found someone so lovable. I could go on for days about everything you do that makes my heart smile.

 

I took this letter and did something that was oddly satisfying. I printed it out and cut it up. I separated each sentence into words and piled them on the table in front of me. My plan was to take this letter and turn it into something totally different. My end result was actually pretty cool.

jasonpoem1.jpg

 

“We accept the love we think we deserve”

Do we?

I love this quote, and the moment I read it I started thinking. Do we actually accept love as we believe we deserve it?

This quote made me think of abusive relationships, and whether or not the victim within one believes they deserve the type of love they are given. I know several people (both men and women) who have been treated wrongfully within a relationship, and never came to realize that it was their choice whether or not they left or continued to accept the love they were receiving. I believe that as soon as a person realizes that they deserve to be treated in a positive way, they will begin to realize that anything below what they deserve is not “love”. It’s more complicated than just realizing this however, and it takes strength and courage to stop accepting any form of love that is less than what we deserve.

So…what type of love do I think I deserve?

What type of love will I accept?

Love that does not try to control me. Love that does not try to change me. I deserve love that is genuine, honest, and reliable. I deserve love that is mutual. I deserve love that is based off of more than the physical things.

I deserve the same love that I give. 

“Everything happens for a reason”

For today’s commonplace post, I decided to examine one of the most OVERUSED cliches, “everything happens for a reason.”

Anytime that someone says this to me, I want to question their logic. I mean yes, I guess everything does happen for a reason, because everything has a cause. For example, say I lose a close friend in a car crash. Yes, it happened because two cars hit each other going at a high speed. That is the reason. I do not think that the universe would have chosen to have this bad thing happen to someone though.

Maybe my opinion on this statement comes from the fact that I am not religious. If I did believe in God, I guess I would in turn believe that he was responsible for what happens around the world. But this makes me question then, how do people defend the acts of god or the “reason” for mass shootings, rapes, murder, war, poverty, or cancer? Is there a reason for these things? Is it karma? If I get my purse stolen, what exactly is the reason? I know that some people believe that everything happens so that it will lead to something good, but I can not convince myself of this.

I do not think that everything happens for a reason. I believe that some things are a tragedy and should have never happened. Let’s all stop using this cliche please. I may be overthinking, but I can not help but become frustrated and the logic of the statement.

Another daily word prompt: Confess

Last week I used a prompt using the word constant. I had a ton of fun being inspired to write by a single word, and I decided to do the same thing again this week for my post!

Today’s word is confess. Here are some random thoughts that go along with this word:

I confess that often times I do not know what to think or say. I confess that I get nervous in a lot of situations, but I pretend like I know what I am doing. I confess I am very self conscious and I confess I know I should not be. I confess that sometimes I think negative things about myself and the people around me, and I confess that I do not mean these things. I confess that I miss my Dad, and Mom, and brothers. I confess that I never want to grow up, never want to graduate, never want to be on my own. I confess that I know I should confess more. I think that the word confess in itself is interesting. It is owning up to a lie, or a false statement, or something you are not proud of. The word makes me think of religions and their perception of confessing. I am not a religious person, but I confess I am curious as to what goes on inside the mind of someone who is. I confess I should confess more, it kind of felt good. 🙂

The Daily Post’s One Word Prompts

I was scrolling down my feed and stopped to see a page posted by The Daily Post titled a “one word prompt”, used to inspire bloggers to post and respond with whatever thoughts the word provoked. Today’s word was:

constant

When I think of the word constant, I think of dedication. I think of my desire to be the best I can be each day. It reminds me that even if things go bad, I should be consistent with my push forward. I am constantly overthinking as well, and this made me think about what strategies I can use when I overthink things beyond my control. I will constantly remind myself that there is no point in wishing uncontrollable things away. I should focus on the future, and what I can do to ensure my life is constantly productive.

These prompts are fun and I am looking forward to responding to another one.

A Toxic Duo

In my professional writing class, we were assigned to write a “literacy autobiography”. We took a few classes to workshop everyone’s pieces. One of my classmates wrote something that stuck in my head all day.

Procrastination and Perfectionism: The Perfect Duo.

I adore writing, don’t get me wrong, but it sucks. Here is my problem: my perfectionism makes the process painful, yet the product all too satisfying.

I have never thought of the way my procrastination and perfectionism affect each other, but Mariah put it into perfect words. They are a toxic duo. I admit that I always wait until the last second to start an assignment. I will have two hours to complete it, and somehow still expect it to be my best work. My perfectionism leads me to over stress and over analyze, turning some of my best work to garbage. This is a horrible combination, to procrastinate and crave perfection. Reading Mariah’s essay made me realize that I want to change my habits. My best work comes after it has been edited several times, over several different days. I feel like when I read my work the next day it has a completely different meaning. I hope to change the ways that I write, even though I know it is going to be a challenge. I hope to get rid of this toxic duo..but can I?

Critiquing my own work

For the first time ever I am taking a poetry class, and honestly I hate it. I feel so much pressure to be creative, and I feel like nothing I write makes sense. Part of the course’s rules is to not rhyme, and not talk about love. SO WHAT AM I SUPPOSED TO DO?

I had to submit a poem for workshop, and 23 people had to critique my poem, live and in person. Their suggestions inspired me to critique my own poem, as well as explain certain lines that some people did not understand. So, here is my poem, “The Suburbs”

 

The Suburbs

 

The roofs may as well be one,

As they blanket the earth-

A quilt of colors,

Each stitched together with strings of

Pavement and grids of grass

Who’s seeds were mechanically

Planted and strands then groomed to

Mirror the shade of their neighbors.

 

Raindrops on sidewalk chalk,

Hopscotch and butterflies melt

Into streams of robin egg’s blues

And tickle me pinks

Chasing each other over scooter-

Ridden streets and into the gutter.

 

A young mother lowers her son into

His crib, inhaling the smell of a head

Who has yet to be polluted with

Talk of war or cancer.

Untainted.

 

Love leaps from her hands and  

Stains his porcelain skin.

Steel grey eyes,

Who will soon change

To match his father’s,

Reflect the mobile spinning

Above him.

 

Oh baby,

She pleads,

Dream beyond the suburbs.

In order to do this, I am going to answer some questions my classmates had for me. They were confused by the overall meaning of the poem. Why does she want her child to dream beyond the suburbs when it was so beautifully described? I answer that question by explaining the entire point of the poem is knowing what lives beyond the surface, beyond the beautiful homes and children playing. Growing up in the suburbs, I learned what goes on beyond closed doors. I purposefully chose to peacefully describe the poem at first, and then switch to a darker light. My line breaks were specific to this attempt. In the second stanza, the cute pictures drawn by the children are washed into the gutter. The gutter symbolizes reality, and how no child stays young forever. Students were also confused about the steel grey eyes. I wrote this part because when my brother was born, his eyes were grey, colorless. However, as he got older, the changed into a dark brown to match my fathers. It made me so nervous to realize that people did not understand some parts of my poem, but I think that is whats so cool about poetry, the fact that everyone has their own interpretation of words.

Letter to an Author

After reading Mary Gaitskill’s “Girl on a Plane”, I was moved by the craft of her writing and the way her words effected me. I have been practicing writing epistles for one if my other courses, and that inspired me to write a letter to Mary Gaitskill! The letter in itself explains more about the ways this story made me feel. If you haven’t already read this story, it is included in the Anthology of Contemporary American Short Fiction, written by Joyce Carol Oates.

Dear Mary Gaitskill,

I want my words to demand something from my readers, the way yours do.  I read a short story of yours the other day, “The Girl on the Plane”. I was about half way through when I realized the power that your words had over me. They pushed me to read faster in some parts, and held me back to slow down in others. Your words made me feel as though I had entered your mind, and was in the moment you were describing. You made me hate John Morton, and feel as though he had personally offended me. I have not read any of your other work yet, and I apologize for that. But I can explain. Over the past few years, I have not been reading anything outside of class (and it’s strange, because I act like I’m too busy when in fact I have too much time to spare). This semester I am starting my second major, professional writing. I have learned in the past few weeks that to write effectively, you need to read consistently. You need to be inspired by others and absorb the ways in which they write in order to better your own craft. When I write I feel confident. However, after reading your story, I don’t want to feel confident. The way you write is different from any other piece I have read. It has inspired me to find my own voice. Often times when I read over my own words I feel like someone else wrote them. I want to learn to write in a way that people will recognize. I want to write in a way that is real, like the way you do. How do you get your words to seamlessly flow over the page? How do you transport me into a room i’ve never seen by simply describing it? These are questions I hope to one day find the answer to, questions that you have inspired me to discover. Thank you for writing in your own voice, as it has pushed me to begin the road to finding mine.

Love,

Rose Torzynski