The Subconscious Mind

I had a little bit of a breakdown today because I realized a lot more of me is making it into my stories than I intended.  And I don’t like it.

I was critiqued last night in my Fantasy class about a story I’d written from the point-of-view of an angel.  The story was about a teenage angel who goes on her first mission to Earth to help someone.  All she is given is a gigantic manual as her guide to helping people.  She goes down to Earth, is overwhelmed, but accepts a mission to help a mother who is concerned about her son.  The boy is being approached by a gang that wants to recruit him.  The angel ends up helping him by reversing a terrible choice he makes, thus giving him a second chance.

So after my critique, and having all these questions thrown at my under-developed story, my brain was buzzing.  This morning I was thinking about a big question that my teacher had asked me.  “Why did you turn Heaven into a bureaucracy?  It’s interesting and funny, but you need to think about why you did it.” (I’m paraphrasing her here.)  She also asked what it was saying about Heaven (and God) that they are sending their angels out unprepared with nothing more than a book.

So after looking up the definition of a bureaucracy.  And thinking.  I had a terrible epiphany.

This story was a big giant metaphor for my feelings about teaching.  And I hated it.

I am the angel, getting thrown into the world of trying to help people, with little more than a “manual.”  And I get put into situations that I don’t know the answers to, but my actions are life-changing to the people I’m trying to help.  And ultimately, I’m giving kids chances or opportunities that will help them escape evil in the world.

Yes the angel in my story was unprepared and lost at how to perform a miracle.
But at least she had magic words.

I feel unprepared for the miracles I’m expected to perform in my classroom.
And I don’t have any clue where to look up some magic words.

I came to Hollins to read and write, and pursue MY DREAMS.  I got very angry and upset to see teaching working it’s way into my writing subconsciously.  The subcontext of my story was not something I wanted to tackle in my writing, but it appeared anyways.

I’m leaving this story alone for a few days.  I need a break from it.  Especially now that I realize how personal it is, it’s going to be draining to revise/finish.

In the meantime, I’ll work on my teen girl story.  (Which also turned out to be much more personal than I intended, but at least it’s not about teaching!)

This summer is going by entirely too fast.

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This entry was posted in Writing.

4 comments on “The Subconscious Mind

  1. Hillary says:

    I know how you feel, obviously, and it gets overwhelming when you step away and actually begin to realize the power you hold every day in that classroom. The best thing to realize is that there IS no right answer/decision/thing to do or say. You just do what feels right, and that's it. I'd love to read these stories one day. They sound awesome!

  2. Ghost Reader says:

    I know how you feel. But I don't think that it's a bad thing. And I don't think you think this either… And if you do that's totally fair. But what is the one thing we are told all the time? Write what you know. And I think that writing doesn't just act as therapy but also tells you about who you are. And that's not a bad thing. Because chances are there are other people out there who feel the same as you do. And finding that companionship is amazing. That's what makes a good story.I know that the narrator of my novel sounds very much like me. And I know that there are very strong aspects of me in her. Both good and bad. But if I don't recognize those things I'll never figure out what to DO with them.

  3. LHughes says:

    Hillary- I'd love to let you read my stuff after I go through these last revisions. I bet you'd have great feedback :)Caroline- You give really good advice. I really liked what you said at the end of critique and here, and I'm def gonna use it. I just have been trying to escape the emotional frustration of teaching for the summer and I was mad when I discovered it had snuck itself in.

  4. mocha_addict says:

    I've had similar experiences, but I've found that putting my emotions into a story eventually becomes therapeutic. Besides, if you can channel such a dominant emotion into your story, the character will be infinitely more vivid.And if you don't tell anyone else, they won't know that you've written yourself into the story. I think Delia said yesterday, "No one knows you like you do."

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