I watched Californication last night on the recommendation of the husband. I can't say I've really liked David Duchovny in anything since XFiles. I was a die-hard fan (we had a little drinking club and everything) and he got so typecast in my head, it's hard for me to let that go. Plus, he's kinda icky in RL.
But he does stoned really, really well.
He's a writer who's now a professor - one of those writers who's no longer writing, I think. His character says one profound thing. "I can't teach anyone to write."
I agree. You can't teach someone to write. It goes along with that old saw: There are two rules for writing, but unfortunately, no one knows what they are. (I always thought that should read There are two rules for writing, but I forgot to write them down.) Anyway, he tells this kid his story is terrible (Vampires, TWILIGHT, etc come up, which made me giggle uncontrollably and gave the husband a chance to tease me about the vampire novella) and of course the kid tries to commit suicide--badly.
But it struck me. Teaching writing is about as close to the act of writing as you can get. You can write a brilliant book, sculpt every phrase into a masterpiece of meaning, but in the end, it's up to the readers.
Ditto writing students. I can ruminate ad nauseum about: point of view, telling verses showing, premise, inciting incident, conflict and resolution, three levels of conflict (inner, personal, extra-personal), exposition, character development or arc, subplots, plot points, transitions, opening and closing values, pacing, rhythm, the story stakes, gaps in goal progression, sentence structure and grammar and punctuation...
But it gets down to the student (reader) being ready to incorporate the message.
The best I can do is to pay forward the immeasurable encouragement I've received. I want people to write, to follow that drive wherever it leads them. And that good will creates feelings nothing else can give me. It's why I do the First Page Game. It's why I head down to AuthorFest (which really had no value for me, personally, beyond helping out a library in need). It's why I like chatting with fans in elevators at cons. It's why I like giving critique better than I like receiving it.
And it's NOT Pollyanna. It's entirely selfish. Might be partly ego, but I get enough stroking on that, seriously. (I have a seven-year-old daughter who's pretty sure I can walk on water.) No. It's something else, too, something bigger than me. Kind of like when I'm really tuned in at church or the light is just right on the mountains and I realize just how fucking big they are.
Anyway, so today, I'm all about encouraging YOU. Go do your damnedest today. Write. You should be. You have something to say, I'm sure. We can't wait to read it.