|I'm sure this is what Magritte meant to say.|
Creativity is difficult for me. As much as I love research and scholarly writing, I'm not a creative writer, and I'm sure I've said that before, and I didn't feel comfortable sharing my writing in the last class.
I've been trying to figure out why I'm not a creative writer, because I used to be. In high school I attended the Union County Teen Arts Festival, I submitted poems and they were accepted into the Festival's collection of student works, and I was so proud of that. Then, I went to college and stopped writing, like I hit a road block. I think it may have something to do with experiencing the great writers of history and thinking that my emo poetry couldn't stand up in such competition-- and it couldn't, but I guess that's not the point. My poetry won't compare to Eliot and Keats, and it won't, and it shouldn't-- because their writing is not my writing. Poetry and creative writing are about courage and self-expression and, between the things I saw on the Young Writer's Project and in class last week, I saw the courage that people can have. I'm not sure where that leaves me, but I'm proud of those who are strong enough to put their hearts on the line and express their deepest thoughts and feelings. At the end of this post, I'll include a poem I've written-- the first in a long time. It's rough and unfinished, but at least I don't have to read it in front of anyone ;)
Although we didn't get to take the bus to Australia, it was cool to participate in the activity along with the UOW students. It's interesting to see how people can form perceptions of a place just from the website, and it's even more interesting to see how the perceptions stand up to the voice of experience. One of the biggest things I noticed on the UOW site was the noticeable lack of a "Student Activities" page. In the U.S., one of the main things that students look for in a college is the college experience, shown by the clubs and Greek life options that are advertised on the site. In some ways, the experience is as important as the learning (for better or for worse). However, from the students responses to "What UOW is Really Like," it seems like a pretty normal campus!
It's hard for me to speak on Kean, because I commute to campus. I've spent a very limited time anywhere except the classrooms and the Writing Studies office. However, I do spent time around other students and I know some of the intricacies that have jaded people against the school-- as well as some of the benefits students enjoy. For that reason, it's funny to look at our website while being a student-- it's impossible to be unbiased.
You might be able to get a feeling for a campus's vibe, but it's impossible to average out the "general" experience of all students. Everyone is different and everyone values different things. For me, this school works because it's affordable, close, and will get me where I want to go. Yes, there are roadblocks and red tape, but it works for me. This is not going to be everyone's story. Even Princeton could be one student's heaven on earth, and another's hell.
As for "world building," wow, that's a hot topic if I've ever heard one.
When we build a world (and yes, I'm thinking about Minecraft), we build it around the things we need to survive. When I start a new game in Minecraft, the first thing I do is build a hut to protect me from the monsters at night. Then, when day comes, I venture out and see where the resources are. When I find water, I build a new house. When I find trees, I store up wood. Then, I go from there.
We all need basics to get through the day. We all need food, water, and oxygen to sustain our basic needs. From that point, we're all different individuals with different experiences in this mad world. In our individual searches for truth we find different answers, many of which set us against one another due to conflicting answers to the same questions.
In short, I don't think we can pull out the story threads to find the "master narrative," because not everyone believes in the same master narrative (or one at all, for that matter). I can tell you that Christianity is the master narrative I accept, and you may or may not accept it based on your mind and experience. But, that's what my story is based on-- that's my master narrative and all of the answers I'm going to find will be based on that narrative.
Wherever you find your truth, you find your narrative. So, netnarr, what is truth?
When I think of the heart, I see compartments
Little rooms where memories hide
Memories of people, of places, of joy
Some compartments warm the heart with love.
When opened, they flood the darkness with light
fluttering out and up and through,
like the dove released from the hat,
soaring to freedom.
Some compartments are dark.
Filled wih anger and hate,
And slowly coat the soul with inky sludge
which slugs in and covers everything with
there are the most painful compartments
full of memories yet still sensitive.
Some tender from new birth, others hidden away,
untouchable throughout time.
Those are the memories that ache.
Those are the memories that,
when the compartment door is ever so slightly touched,
flood the soul with pain
like a scrape across the skin;
light enough to sting the nerves
yet heavy enough to draw spots of blood,
punctuated like a dotted line.
Those are the compartments from which I hide.
Those are the doors tightest closed.
For, if the lightest touch draws blood,
to open the compartment would drown the soul