Saturday, September 20, 2008

300. Shelly Lowenkopf's Lion's Den Montecito Writer's Group First Response to "The Elephant and the Oak Tree"

Below is a CUT AND PASTE from this PDF document:

I received heavy critique. But that is actually VERY good. Much better than APATHY.

Basically, the onset of the quarter system has forced me to let go of the story and freely present it. I am glad in part. I just let go, and said who cares? How can people critique me on a description of simultaneous depression, panic attack, bipolar disorder, obsession-compulsion, and overall emotional chaos? They will read it and take it for what it is—it is what I experienced, and no one can say it’s the truth or a lie. No one can say it’s right or wrong, but they will have to take it for what it is. I experienced this, and no one can take this away from me. So, in the end, I had to tell the audience (so I could read my story) Fxck this! I don’t care how you think, because no one can take away what I have experienced.

Though I felt that I read the story to the group more sloppily and stoically than I would like, but I had to distance myself. I read it emotionally devoid. I also had to read it fast because it was a long 12 pages.

So? It wasn’t clear how Shelly was taking it. But everyone seemed shocked, somber, and a little bit like “oh my god” at the end. “Stunned” is perhaps the best word. Like what the hxll is this? It left people very agitated in multiple directions. And that is good. I am taking the writers group in directions they would have never imagined. For example, What is the perception of reality from an ant’s? Would an ant call it an appendage or a shoulder or an arm? And Christina Allison said, these are bio-philosophical questions that there are no answers for. Yes, we are getting that deep.

In the end, Shelly told me that he is viewing the story as a “struggle of a genius.” Shelly is now reading the story is describing the world into the mind of the genius, who borders sanity and insanity. Reality of the world inside versus reality of the world outside. I could cry right now. Shelly sees it. Shelly sees it! Shelly said in the end—though it wasn’t clear during the discussion—that this round I need to write the story THE WAY HOW I NEED TO, to fully manifest what the story is. And the second round, people can stab at it and take what they want out of it. they can strip the layers and simplify it so they become satisfied with an overall message. Shelly fully respects and appreciates it.

I read the first 12 pages to Hector the day before. He liked it a lot and said this will make an interesting story. A very intense story, but I have to cut down on adjectives quite a bit. I will have to cut down on the language.

BOLDLY VENTURING to WHERE WRITERS GROUPS HAVE NEVER GONE BEFORE… I started to realize that not only am I reading and getting critiqued, I am actually teaching a writers group a lot about biology and how biology has allowed me to somewhat attempt to venture into the mind of an ant, an ant with very human characters, I am taking the writers group to very strange places…

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