Wednesday, October 3, 2007

Difficulty in Thought and Deed

As all things are cyclical, now I'm confronted with my lack of sophistication. It started a couple years ago, when I felt that black t-shirts and jeans were getting to be too childish for me, but I didn't have much else in the way of wardrobe. Some business apparel, but I couldn't imagine lounging around with friends in a tie and slacks. Then I fretted over details such as not being able to distinguish between Izod and Lacoste. That was easier to resolve, as there are many, many more important things about which to be concerned.

Now it's come back, both in the classroom and in social interaction.

I wrote a couple paragraphs that would go here, and have deleted and rewritten them a few times. I don't want to put out enough information that anyone besides me might be identified. I'm also trying to decide how to phrase these revelations without coming off as whiny. I might not be able to.

I'm taking a class in writing children's literature, and it's surprisingly sophisticated. I'm not surprised by this: you can take any topic and study it to incredible degrees, you can penetrate multiple aspects to any depth you like. So it is with children's books: 32 pages, 14 two-page spreads, balance here, meter there, watch your vocabulary, etc. Our instructor is endlessly cheery and supportive, and as time goes by we're given greater insight to her experience and wisdom. She can meet any student at their skill level and push it up just a notch: a highly personalized learning experience.

She does this for me, too, but... more. She is never scant in her praise, but her criticism is pretty insightful and adult. Almost hard, but maybe that's just because she believes I can take it, and if I'm going to be a serious author I'd do well to learn how to take it because I'm sure it'll get much worse. I'm not even worried about that, it's just... there have been a couple instances where I think she has pegged my character and shapes events accordingly. She has never been insulting, she has never embarrassed me in front of anyone, but if I'm able to read between the lines at all I would describe her as prematurely fed up with my arrogance. I try not to be arrogant, I just want to do well, but I think she sees it in me and is taking preemptive measures to keep it at bay. It's a humbling experience. It's one thing for any jackoff to call you arrogant, and most likely they have no idea what they're talking about, but for someone of perspicacity and depth to quell your inspiration to rant or preclude certain events from precipitating - and to become aware of these, even if no one else can see them (and they are all the more sagacious because no one else can perceive this private struggle) - it's a humbling experience. There's no other way for me to say it. It makes me want to hang my head and focus on working harder and pushing myself to correct the flaws in my writing, if the flaws in my character are too large to resolve in an evening.

"There's no other way for me to say it." This is another thing. I've gotten into arguments with friends and my girlfriend, and I'm confronted with my lack of education and reasoning capacity. I'm not sure how to work on this. I mean, education, I'm working on that. I'm going back to school, I have a wealth of research databases at my disposal. I can study anything on my own, I have plenty of time to read. I'm not sure how to form better arguments, though, I don't know how to resume critical analysis like I took in college. There are probably books on this, that teach you how to identify the kernel of someone's argument and clear away the chaff. There are probably other books that instruct you in patterns of argument, how to guide the flow of a conversation, or... I don't even know. I can't conceive. I know that simplifying arguments to their component parts isn't working for me. I want to get better at this because I'm tired of sounding like a little kid when I get angry.

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