Haven’t I already admitted that I buried myself in debt for studying something I grew to dislike? Well, I’m admitting it again – sitting here, huddled inside a soft white blanket as I typed away, while Netflix streamed in the background.
I had given up on writing – I wanted to give up on writing – because, honestly, I didn’t learn anything. Or at least I didn’t enjoy any of my classes because I wasn’t emotionally abused by my mentors.
Don’t get me wrong, workshops in America are forgiving and I loved every bit of forgiveness I got. But I craved for the abuse of another school system. A system I was programmed to love – blunt, polite, and addicted to revisions.
So, like I said, there I was typing away as Netflix streamed in the background – deciding which book to reread from the non-required, ‘How to Write’ pile I bought, with my Amazon Prime account.
BEST WORDS BEST ORDER 2nd Ed. By Stephen Dobyns – there’s something alluring about a writer letting us read about their writing process. It’s the most sadomasochistic act ever. I love it because it comes from a place of experience versus hearing a workshop classmates reason, “Well, I wrote this on the BART. Took me 10 mins.,”
Why am I reading this again? Ugh. I know, right?
If this happened in a writers workshop in the Philippines it would have been thrown across the room or the writer would have been scolded for disrespecting their readers.
So begins lesson number one, in the first chapter of Stephen Dobyn’s Essays on Poetry –
“— but that I am creating a fictional world that I want the reader to believe in. I am creating a verbal illusion.” And this is what the entire chapter about deception wanted to let its readers recognize. That “ – a poem creates a metaphor for an aspect of the existing world.” And that it should always transcend past the writer.
At 17 yrs. old I found reasons to defend myself but my mentor, Nerisa del Carmen Guevara, taught me never answer back, never reason. Because I always can’t be there to condescendingly tell my readers that they don’t get it and here’s what the work means.
This chapter doesn’t solely focus on the purpose of the work and how to be understood by the audience. It tells you about creating lies that revolve around a single truth. What is it? The existing world. The writer must convince the reader that the fabricated instance is truth and the writer must convince him or herself that this is also the truth even if, “I will always lie to myself – that is the nature of the beast – but I don’t want to forget I am doing it.”