*** Sorry for the abruptness of the picture.
The other day I was in the program office while one of the professors here was correcting a short story I had written (my first written completely in Spanish. It’ll be on the Spanish website if you want to check it out. ANYWAY… ) there were three of us in the office and things were going good until we got to the line that says:
…cuando mi padre estaba en casa y mi madre estaba en casa y mi hermano estaba en casa, sabía que no iba a aprender a coser con mi abuela.
Which means: …when my father was at home and my mother was at home and my brother was at home, I knew I wasn’t going to learn to sew with my grandmother.
That;s when the fight ensued. I feel that as a writer,no matter how bad or inconsistent, I have the creative license to use this sentence, but I was heavily opposed. I didn’t include the entire sentence, but just trust me, okay?
The opinion of one person: The statement isn’t grammatically correct. And what’s more, you should write like everyone else writes.
Now I know my grammar isn’t the best, but I knew this one was grammatically correct, and I don’t take too kindly to someone telling me to write like everyone else until I “learn” how to write. I can always improve, but “learn how to write” doesn’t sit well with me.
The opinion of the other person: As a teacher once told me, Shakespeare can write like that and Hemingway can write that way, but you can’t write that way. But when I publish a book or get famous, I can write any way I like.
There are several reasons this was the most absurd and a bit insulting thing I’ve ever heard.
1. I’m pretty sure no one wrote like Hemingway when he began to write like Hemingway aand that his teachers told him to write like everyone else too. Look at him now.
2. The people I was talking to (and yes, it should be to whom I was talking, but it’s my website, not the Washington post!) assume, and weren’t exactly listening when I tried to explain otherwise, that I wrote the story not fully aware of the choices I was making.
I was pretty offended and was trying to accept their criticism with an objective ear, so that I wouldn’t get pissed, but…
I have a poetry book. I’ve begun my third novel. Because I haven’t officially published anything, I don’t count as a writer? Because Spanish isn’t my first language, I have to write like a second grader?
I understand I have to start simply. In this story, I learned to write more straight forward than i normally would in English. But I don;t have to be the next Hemingway to do what I want, right? I don;t bow down to oppressors very easily. My favorite question is why and you haven’t a good answer, pues, too bad for you.
Well, when I’m famous, I’ll make sure to send a “Pink” like shout out to those who told me I couldn’t write like I wanted to!