Burbank Blues


Now, I’ve never actually been to Burbank, but I assume it is, in fact, a real place, or at least a thing.  That exists.  Unlike The Burbank Blues, I suspect.  Anyway, I ditched meaning for alliteration’s sake, and I’m relatively pleased with the results, I must say.

I was asked by a former student to read and critique some fiction and a poem that he’d written and reluctantly agreed to do so, disclaiming that writing fiction and poetry is really not my thing, but that I’d do my best.  Anyway, I ended up giving him feedback about perspective in the fiction piece (science fiction!  He kept vacillating [QUICK INTERMISSION: Do you know that “vacillate” and “oscillate” mean the same damn thing?  I cannot find a difference in their meanings.  Are both words really necessary?] between third omniscient and third limited, and he needed to stick with limited for it to work for me) and word choice in the poetry piece.

The whole ordeal made me think about how my attitude towards literature has changed so much since I was a high schooler and even an undergrad.  I love thinking about how writing works; I love noticing when writers do things that work (not so much when they’re all crying out NOTICE THE CLEVER THING I JUST DID THERE, but you know); and I love a good word.  I love it when a writer uses the exact right word.  And there was this moment of clarity while I was giving this kid feedback on his poem, because I saw him repeatedly sacrificing the right word in order to make the rhyme or the rhythm work, and I was all, “NO.  YOU FIND THAT RIGHT WORD AND USE IT, DAMMIT.”  The centrality of good words to good poetry became really real to me in the process.  I mean, I could feel it rather than just understand it objectively.

And it felt good.  It made me feel competent.  And then I wanted to become an editor.  Like, for pay.

Things are still going on the school front, but, you know, sort of barely at this point.  I don’t feel competent, so I lose my passion.  I don’t feel like I’m learning OR skilled.  This makes it difficult for me to stay invested.

I guess I’ll have to wait until it’s not, you know, two weeks before finals to decide whether this is a legitimate crisis or whether it’s just me being daydreamy about my life’s possibilities.  398.


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