Writers Who Continue to be Inspirations
When I was at school, I studied writing with a well-known writer. I was very set on studying with this writer when I came to that school, so much so that it might have contributed 70 or more percent to my desire to go there. My school had a thesis option called the creative thesis, and I wanted very badly to write a creative thesis under this writer. Quite a lot of my sense of self-worth depended upon my being accepted into her class and becoming friends with her.
At the time, I was quite assured of my destination and purpose in seeking out the mentorship of this particular person. I did eventually work with this writer, and it was in fact a pretty good experience. In fact, looking back I believe that had I worked with any other writer, I might not have continued writing for as long as I did. I very much appreciated her teaching style and I also appreciated her stature (very tall), demeanor (overtly eccentric), and way of address (slightly imposing) very much. I overall found her to be a very good writing teacher, if oftentimes aloof and mostly impossible to track down.
I had not read a single thing by her until this summer, however. I know, it is very strange. Well, during my junior year of high school I had read a very, very, very short short-story she wrote and was struck by it, but not terribly because it only turned up during the final exam of the class and was not discussed, so I was not allowed to publicly express my adamant opinions of its worth, and was accordingly not terribly attached to it as it had not won me any praise from my teacher.
Afterwards, I tried many times to read one particular novel, which happened to be the only one of hers that I owned. I was unsuccesful in every one of my attempts, though I very much appreciated her writing style. Still, I never stopped requesting her mentorship, and continued to feel as though she perfectly understood my writing and I hers, though I had never read it. I understood how she thought about writing, which was very similar to how I thought about writing. I understood how she thought about life. It made sense to me.
I read one of her novels this summer, and it was very good. But I just, one day ago, read her first published collection of short stories. Now, I have always been intimidated by her writing because she has a command of the English language that I have never dreamed of approaching. This work was incredible to read because I felt like she was writing exactly as her mind worked. Her stories are very nonlinear, very poetic, very imagistic, and sometimes make no rational sense. It is how I used to strive to write, how I naturally wrote. Without regard for how the reader sees the world, but completely immersed in explaining how I see the world. I felt so captivated by her stories because they seemed so bold and profound, and I felt emboldened by them. They reminded me of what I loved about writing, and my writing especially. Its ability to make the way I thought about things seem real and legitimate and even special.
I wonder why she never recommended these stories to me. Perhaps she thought it would be awkward. I wonder how much more I would have gotten out of my experience working with her if I had read them before now.