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The Friday Meme.

The question was, "Why do people become writers?"*

When I was fourteen, I wrote a story for an english assignment and, when it came back, was accused of plagiarism. My mark was withheld as I bounced around the english department and vice principal's office defending myself to a sequence of tall, elderly women that, years later, I picture in a sequence of red, brown and grey, as if colour was being slowly leeched out of each one. They told me I wasn't smart enough to have written this. They said that to have written this would mean I was capable of more. Capable, they repeated. I was not capable of more, clearly. I was a slacker in the middle classes. I could read, but it was no assurance that I did. I could write, but the only proof before this was my ugly scrawl on a test paper. Capable suggested a hidden gift, and I had not been identified as gifted, and would not be. "Look," they wanted to say after a week, "why are you wasting our time you lying fuck?"

How could I walk away after that?




* Take from Liz Williams (mevennen), who responded to Jay Lake (jaylake)

Comments

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ex_benpayne119
Nov. 11th, 2005 05:40 am (UTC)
I had a similar experience in grade eight... I generally turned in half-arsed assignments and joked around in class, except for the creative writing assignment, which I was actually vaguely interested in... the result of course was that the teacher thought I must have had help... didn't get as far as the principal's office though...

That wasn't what made me want to write though... just an example of how much teachers can not understand their students...
benpeek
Nov. 11th, 2005 05:54 am (UTC)
well, i don't know how much you should see this as the reason i do write. i just thought it was a funny little thing to go along with it. if you wanted a more serious answer on why i write the answer would probably be because i want too.

but this makes me laugh, so there you go.
chrisbarnes
Nov. 11th, 2005 05:56 am (UTC)
Wow, that was pretty much a gauntlet in the face, wasn't it?

Thing is, though, I suspect some people *would* walk away from that - shattered at the lack of trust and belief. Far better to stand up and spit right back in the teacher's eye, I reckon.
benpeek
Nov. 11th, 2005 06:05 am (UTC)
Wow, that was pretty much a gauntlet in the face, wasn't it?

it's sort of how my life works, through i prefer the term punch to the face. life and me have all the subtly of a punch to the face. sometimes even less.

fortunately, i'm pretty stubborn, and unwilling to back down when i'm right. i'm very rarely right like this--i mean, i wrote the story. like it, hate it, i wrote it. so i was stubborn.
bodhichitta0
Nov. 11th, 2005 02:38 pm (UTC)
life and me have all the subtly of a punch to the face. sometimes even less.

:-D
(Anonymous)
Nov. 11th, 2005 06:52 am (UTC)
I was going to be a programmer.

'cept I hated maths, and when I looked at the people in my programming classes, I didn't want to spend my life around people like them. Smelly boys.

(So instead I got a retail job working with video games, working with and selling to smelly boys.)
benpeek
Nov. 11th, 2005 10:20 am (UTC)
heh.

is this tess?
shadowsandice
Nov. 11th, 2005 12:40 pm (UTC)
>_>

<_< Er...yes?
benpeek
Nov. 13th, 2005 10:13 am (UTC)
is that a shifty eyeness?
(Anonymous)
Nov. 14th, 2005 12:51 am (UTC)
Totally, except using the wrong '>' meant the rest of the message got ate.

¬_¬
shadowsandice
Nov. 14th, 2005 12:51 am (UTC)
And again. >_
capnoblivious
Nov. 11th, 2005 07:30 am (UTC)
That's a cool story.
benpeek
Nov. 11th, 2005 10:21 am (UTC)
that's why i like it.
llbatt
Nov. 12th, 2005 04:15 am (UTC)
From Lyn
I only have one answer for question as to why I write.

I write for the same reason I breathe. If I don't, I will die.

It's also the same reason I bought this gorgeous little black dress recently.
benpeek
Nov. 12th, 2005 06:10 am (UTC)
Re: From Lyn
i suspect that if i didn't write, i'd keep living. call it a hunch, but i'm pretty sure of it, actually. i'd just find a different outlet. maybe pottery. but i'd definately keep breathing. cause i need breathing.

not little black dresses, though. they don't suit me ;)
hal_duncan
Nov. 12th, 2005 06:32 pm (UTC)
Re: From Lyn
I write in order to die. Every hour spent writing is an hour closer to death, an hour in which I smoke at least five cigarettes, an hour in which I'm entirely unconscious of the bullshit shell game around me, another unnoticed circuit of the little hand on the clock, bringing me closer and closer to death which -- let's face it -- gets short shrift in all this life-affirming Oprah Winfrey malarkey.

Nah, actually, I just write because it's big and it's clever and it makes me look cool.
benpeek
Nov. 12th, 2005 08:37 pm (UTC)
Re: From Lyn
i reckon i'm going to use the death one in the future, i am.
jaylake
Nov. 14th, 2005 02:13 pm (UTC)
Me like.
benpeek
Nov. 15th, 2005 12:28 am (UTC)
cool.

i wish i'd said hal duncan's tho, about bringing me closer to death. that's the ticket that is.
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