In the night Creative Writing Class we did do some in-class writing, something I much prefer to three hours (that’s how long a night class was) of critiquing. However, there is one night that lives in infamy. The night I got in trouble for writing in Creative Writing! Here’s my irked entry from May 23, 1982: “Gerry Payne scolded me in class while everyone was very quiet mulling over a poem that had just been read. I was writing away with my little pencil a poem inspired by what [had] been read, and Gerrye saw fit to batter me over the ego. … She should change the name to Creative Criticism.”
How rude of me to write! When I could have been sitting on my hands. I had no idea what to say about the poem. So I was working out on paper things the poem suggested to me. I was writing a poem “inspired by” the poem the class was supposed to be focusing its collective intelligence upon. Even in the workshops I took at Cal there were long dead zones in workshop classes. Such deadness drives me batty. When I’m bored and tired I squirm and fidget. Frankly, Payne was lucky I wasn’t banging my head on my desk. Over the years I’ve gotten better at dredging up something to say, even when it’s nonsense, even when it’s just to keep myself from going batshit crazy and running around the room whacking everybody with a rolled up poem. But I also learned that whatever you say, it really doesn’t matter much to the writer.