Perhaps the most telling sign of my immaturity as a writer is my lack of direction. As I exclaimed so dramatically in my last post, “I don’t even have a genre.”
In school, my teachers always made me stretch my writer’s muscles and experiment with a multitude of forms. Now, I feel the overwhelming need become more focused and purposeful.
I have undoubtedly begun to write more fluently under the inscrutable eye of the world wide web. Still, genre eludes me. And I have the nagging sense that until that point becomes clear I am stuck in a quagmire.
This sort of decision making has always been a trial to me. When I was applying to graduate school, I asked one administrator if I had a better chance to get in if I studied to be an elementary school teacher rather than a secondary one. She scoffed at the thought.
“Well, personally,” she condescended, “I think you can only be one or the other. If you’re meant to be a secondary teacher you’ll be no good in elementary.”
I disagree. (And fortunately middle school offers me the both/and solution I was looking for.) But is this theory true in writing? Can you dip into many wells or are you meant to be loyal to only one genre? How do you know what you are meant to write?
Pondering these questions I have collected the following reflections on various genres:
~Poetry: The most manageable and satisfying to craft but the hardest to truly master. I love it and fear it.
~The Novel: An impossible dream. Beautiful and subtle, compelling and rich, yet fearsome to undertake, let alone finish.
~Nonfiction: Tempting because it is by nature helpful to readers and I want to create something helpful. Lamentably, it can be dry and more importantly I am not really an expert on anything.
~Memoir: The crowning achievement of any writer’s life. At the moment, however, perhaps a bit too presumptuous.
~Short Story: A good compromise between the poem and the novel. Yet, it bears the difficulties of both. It is distilled so that every word must be gold and yet it must have an ending that wraps up all the loose ends . I fear I am not that succinct.
There are certainly other genres to explore but those are the ones I am rummaging through at the moment. Which ones have you explored?