(A note given to me by my classmate Kate during Thursday’s session. Today after we all said our goodbyes, I saw her on the street and she gave me a big hug and said, “It was so great meeting you, Tiffany! Thank you so much for the words. I hope you accomplish everything you ever dreamed of in life. All the best.)
I was on my way home from the last session of the Intensive Creative Writing Class when I bumped into three of my classmates Holly, Andrea, and Ben. I have already conversed with the two girls, but not with Ben, not ever. But today he stopped me, grabbing me by the wrist. He then told me: “I have been meaning to tell you all week that your writing is so, so brilliant.”
And all I could come up with was, “You remind me so much of Ricky Gervais.” (He really did look like Ricky Gervais, and with the voice too. And who could forget his humorous pieces?). He laughed luckily, and he continued on to say, “Age doesn’t matter — hell, it’s irrelevant. Keep doing what you do.”
To be honest, I entered the class with a nervous heart. I mean, it was London for God’s sake, and I was learning more about my craft in the heart and soul of a city that I love. I was tossed in with older, more experienced writers — “Hi, I’m Natalia and I’ve been working on this historical fiction piece in three parts” and “I’m Holly, I’ve been in the publishing business for a couple of years now, and I’m working on a screenplay.” It was just unbelievable. “I’m Tiffany, a twenty-one year old fresh graduate with a lack of life experience. I need more life experience.”
For the first few days, I let that fear get to me. Y’know, that fear of knowing that because I was thrown into an ocean of experienced beings, I backed away instead of opening myself up. I read my work, yes, but I only stuck to the subject of love, because I reasoned that it was what I knew so much about. It was then later on I realized that it may be something I have so much knowledge on, but it didn’t mean that I was only capable of writing hurt. I was also capable of reflection and dialogue, two things I thought I could never compose.
It was a calming process for me, and at the same time a maturing of sorts. Petra told me that she loved my imagery, Natalia marveled at the way I could create internal conflict with dialogue, and so on. Slowly, that fear dissipated and I finally felt like I belonged with a group that only loved to read and to create worlds and words. They treated me like an adult and did not pity me because I was the youngest. I got no special treatment. I had to read my work aloud like the rest (a commitment I told myself to do in order to expose myself more).
At the end of the session, Maggie [Hamand] and Naomi [Wood] told us to choose an exercise we did over the week and rewrite/improve it. I redrafted the random object exercise (to be posted later) and did a reading of it, with the shaking hands and breaking voice to boot. “Brilliant, lovely,” Maggie spoke as I set down my paper. “That was such a great piece. You took such an ordinary object like a pine cone and already you got so much deeper into it. I remember on the first day you weren’t even interested in the pine cone at all.”
“And I would just like to add–” Holly interrupted, her hand raised in the air (she read to us excerpts from her screenplay and she was such a brilliant and funny writer. I especially love the way she delivers her lines.). “It’s quite interesting that you have such a deep and thorough reflection, taking into consideration that you admitted you lacked life experience when the course began. I mean, with someone who says that, I think it’s quite the opposite, really. Your message was so powerful.”
All the words from them haven’t settled in yet, because I’m not used to stomaching those kinds of compliments. It’s not because I hate compliments (I don’t hate compliments, in fact, shower me with a lot of them!), but because the fear of showing my work to people I don’t know finally happened. And it wasn’t such a bad experience. It’s just so great how I not only got to discover the great people who have become my peers and classmates, but I got to discover that I’m not just a single-dimension writer. I can do so much more than just writing about love. And it showed. It really did.
So these words today are simmering slowly, and I hold these statements in my heart and mind. My dream of touching people’s lives is coming true, one person at a time.