Tuesday, February 28, 2012

21 and Reaffirmed

Two days ago I turned 21 years old. One day ago I got to sit in class while my fellow students and professor critiqued a work of short fiction I wrote.

Let's start with the obvious. I live in America where the drinking age is 21 and the culture around alcohol encourages getting drunk and having a party. For the record I've never really drank before, aside from a sip or two of some things more recently to see if I would potentially enjoy the taste. Therefore I didn't feel the need to get drunk on my birthday because I've never seen the benefit of becoming less rational and in control of myself.
I spent the night before my birthday hanging out with some friends, playing pool and video games, and trying out a few drinks. A friend of mine offered to mix me a drink, but didn't tell me the alcoholic content of it and I didn't feel the need to ask. One minute I was fine and the next I was quite goofy to say the least.
Pictured: The drink in question ... glowing.

Yes there are videos. No you cannot see them.
While I still stand by my opinion that there's no rational reason to get drunk, I admit I see the appeal now.
But beyond that my birthday weekened was amazing. I had a total of three parties; one with my family, the one mentioned above, and one the day of my birthday which wasn't a party for me but it turned out everyone there knew about it. I had a different cake for each, the highlight easily being a professionally designed cake that looked exactly like an old book supposedly written by me that tasted like a chocolate peanut butter cup.
Pictured: A cake (courtesy of http://www.itzmyparty.com/).
Overall it was a fantastic birthday weekend, and I'd like to thank those of you reading this who were either a part of it or even simply who wished that I have a happy birthday.

The fun didn't stop there, however. As mentioned in my previous post I was scheduled to listen to my night class critique a short story I wrote last night. They saved mine for last, and so I was nervous but excited to say the least. I had heard positive feedback from some family members and friends I had shown the story to,  but to hear an entire classroom (and published professor) critique my story seemed like a whole other ballgame. I hoped it was so good that the class would end up analyzing the story instead of critiquing it, which has always been a dream of mine that my stories would be so deep that future students would study them. My expectation was that the classroom would instead do as it always did and critique the story, pointing out what they liked and didn't like about it whilst offering suggestions on how to improve it.

For the most part my dream came true.
Pictured: The stack of critiques I was given to look over.
While there were definitely things mentioned that I could do to improve the story, there were no real particular improvements to be made ... more like general suggestions for deeper meaning and clarity. Instead my story inspired the classroom to dissect the story as best they could and the professor to give a short lesson on postmodernism and meta-fiction. Even the most pessimistic guy I've ever known who sits in class and rips every other story we've read to shreds seemed to have very little to say about his distaste in the short story.
What I got from this experience (besides a 50-minute-long audio recording of the analysis itself) was much more than euphoria from excessive praise. I got some amazing feedback that has inspired me to make some tweaks to the story and the inspiration to push onward in my quest to become a published author.

This new year is looking up already.
-Ryan

2 comments:

Unknown said...

What was that one thing that you said? "I have to drink this (water) to get the blood out of my system"

J.K. Riki said...

Happy (belated) birthday! Keep on fighting the good fight. :)