Saturday, December 10, 2011

We all really did get good marks, we just thought we could have done better.

E-mail written to my friends from my course after we all received our final projects in the mail, comments attached, many of which were disheartening. 

Dear friends,

So, tonight I was going through old papers, trying desperately to find my original acceptance letter to Brookes, which I need to extend my visa (what the helllll?), and I found something interesting.

It's this paper Jim gave us in the beginning of the course, or whenever (I really can't remember), that we were supposed to fill out and put in a brown envelope with our name on it, which he also gave us, to be returned to us at the end of the course, which he forgot he gave us because I still had my envelope, and which everyone forgot to do anyway (now that I have an MA in writing, I'm allowed to write run on sentences). However, being the overachiever that I am, I of course did it and sealed the envelope and still have it today.

The paper was titled, "What I daydream about when I daydream about writing." I suspect we got this paper shortly after reading “What I Talk About When I Talk About Running,” the title of which Murakami stole from Raymond Carver's "What We Talk About When We Talk About Love." Anyway, the first line of the paper says, "You are here because you want to be a Writer (with a capital W). But what does that mean?" The rest of the paper has a list of questions about a daydream we are being forced to have about having a conversation with someone in which we tell them we are a Writer and they react and you feel something.

I got really excited when I found this. "This may just be the most revelatory document you will ever fill in," says the paper, and, not remembering what I wrote, I believed it.  So I excitedly ripped open my envelope and read what I wrote, and almost threw it away in embarrassment. 

It was so awful. Like, the worst thing I've ever written. Its self deprecating (surprise surprise: even in my daydreams I put myself down), clunky writing and not in any way creative. I am not about to type it up for your reading pleasure, so don't get too excited. That was the original intention of this e-mail; I thought I'd type it up and give us all a good laugh, but it's too bad for even that. It is quite possibly the worst thing I've ever written. It's a little story about me in an unspecified moment in the future, sitting on Easter Island and telling some girl my age that I'm a writer, and about how I still feel like an imposter saying that, even though at this point in my daydream, I'm a published YA novelist who does freelance travel writing on the side.

 "When I tell people I'm a writer, I still feel like a child telling their parents that they are going to be an astronaut when they grow up, or better yet, a super hero with the power of flight. When I say to someone that I'm a writer, I feel like, in their heads they are thinking- sure she is. I've never heard of her, can't be all that good anyway." ~Maria C. Goodson, 2011

Not cool. The rest of the story goes on to revel that the girl I'm talking to is using her boyfriend for his money and wanted to escape him, so we decide that she can be my assistant, because who wouldn't want a total stranger to be their assistant? So she breaks up with her BF and travels around the world with me and we become fast friends. I write a book called "the Writer's sidekick" about our adventures and it sells millions. The last line is so cheesy I might actually rip it up so it never sees the light of day.

However, in a way, this was the most revelatory document I have ever filled in. Because, no matter how disappointed we all are in our marks on the final projects (although we all actually did really good and should probably slap our expectations across the face), I for one know I’m at least better now than I was when I wrote that “daydream.” So, I think I’ll keep it.

I hope everyone has a fun filled weekend (Happy Birthday Tom),

Love, Maria  XOXOXOXO