I do enjoy my writing class that I am in right now at GVSU, the professor is great and not the normal professor type. Some of the work is tedious and annoying but it comes with the turf I guess. Through my whole experience at GVSU, so far one thing has annoyed me more than just about anything with respects to class and class work….and that is GD peer reviews on our pieces of writing. I hate them and I doing them. I have many issues with peer reviews on many different levels.
One I cannot and will not ever consider is a 19 or 20 year old to be my peers….I’m nearly 33 and have accomplished more in my life in the years since high school than most of them ever will by the time they are the age I am now. Peers to me are equals, reasonably close in age, socially, life skills, experience and knowledge. SO in my creative writing class I have now there is 2 people not counting the professor that I consider my “peer” maybe a close 3. The biggest thing a 19 year old has done is what graduate high school, have their first kiss, there first beer and lose the virginity…we all do that. Therefore, it is not new or fascinating to me. They have little to no life experience worth sharing with me and little ability to improve my writing abilities that are well beyond their own even in the way they are now..
Another reason I cannot stand peer reviews is because these kids still follow outdated “rules” that were taught to them in high school with regards to how writing is and should be formed and created. Once they get to college, they are told to forget all that but they still do it. The whole idea of writing is to create, too birth and to make something new or at the very least…reinvent something. Most of these kids seem to be unable to not regurgitate the same kind of BS they were told.
We workshop rough drafts of pieces of writing in class and more often than not they are overly concerned and hung up with grammar errors, spelling mistakes and punctuation that YES is important but I’m sorry not at a rough draft phase of writing. One preenie little hipster bitch named Shelby said, “You had so many grammar errors I could not even read what you wrote because I could not concentrate”. She must have limited reading ability then since it was not hard to read for 15 other people…they did just fine. I’m not surprised though since her favorite author is Kurt vanugut who I despise, the kids seem to think he’s interesting…I do not, I think he’s a pretentious over rated fuck that stopped writing quality things 2 decades ago. Shelby is one of those little hipster bitches that thinks she’s intellectual cuz she smokes weed and hangs out with other hipsters and scensters at their crappy little coffee shops in grand rapids and chill at “house parties”.
I would love relevant and insightful advice in class about a particular piece of writing. But I can’t expect much from kids who are not smart enough and mature enough to make their own minds up about what’s relevant or not in writing and anything else and still use the phrase “my mom told me” or “well my friends think”.
My biggest issue with peer reviewing is that….I DONT GIVE A FUCK WHAT PEOPLE THINK ABOUT MY WRITING IN CLASS….and even in general usually. You either like it for whatever reason or you do not, it is just that fucking simple. I do not write for the sake of pleasing people or to make them happy or bend to their whims and expectations about what is good and what is not. I myself do not even like giving thoughts on other people’s writings.
I think of it this way I guess. When you write something that is not a research paper like a fictional story, a poem, a memoir, a blog, article, opinion piece or even an open letter. It is something that is most likely personal to you, it matters to you (the writer) and the words you put down on paper (or computer) came from your heart and your mind…they actually matter…they mean something TO YOU. When I write anything in the mentioned forms it means something to me exactly the way I put it down. It was written the way it is for a reason that yes, only I in the end may understand or appreciate, but that is what creative writing any form of it is for…to express your thoughts creatively in a way you judge to work best. So when I am forced by the MAN to read someone else’s work which is a part of them, who the fuck am I to say what’s good and what’s not, what works and what doesn’t, what should be kept and what should be cut. It is like telling someone that the part of their heart and soul they wrote down does not matter and is not important and is wrong…and to me that is just wrong.
I am meticulous about what I write about in most of the creative forms, I think about it a lot…its one of the reason my novel took 3 years to write…because I was fussy. I did not write my past or current novel or future novels for any other reason than I had what I thought was a good story in my head and heart and wanted to tell it. If people buy a book that I wrote and read it and actually like it…wonderful….but if they hate it I do not care. I write for me, I look to impress me and only me not some board, teacher, or boss. The day I am forced to write something in a particular way because someone tells me that is what will sell and be popular…..is the day I stop writing professionally and stop sharing my writing publically.
I may not like 90% of the people in my writing class but I do respect them enough to not tear down there writings, they will figure it out on their own just like I have with respects to the good and bad qualities. Therefore, when I read their writings I JUST tell them what I like…..that is it…nothing negative and no grammar errors. Not because I don’t notice them because I do, but that’s there job as people, students, potential adults, potential writers and idealistic twits… to weed through their own writings…to learn and nitpick to be their own worst critics…it’s not my job and is not my responsibility.
I would rather wait 2 weeks to get a piece of writing back from a professor, even a draft, so I have something intelligent, credible and tangible to work with and not random thoughts and bullshit. Something based on a highly educated opinion by someone who I must assume knows what the fuck he or she is doing because they are professors and paid. After all that is why we college students pay obscene amounts of tuition to go to a real university. I wonder sometimes why many professors at many colleges have the students do a portion of their jobs. If I have to take and spend the time to write something that is going to affect my grade and affect my future than I want a professor to look it over not a student. Otherwise, I might as well hand to some random dumbshit off the street, hipster kid at a coffee shop or truck driver and get their thoughts…or ill blog it.
However, if I were to do that then WTF is the point of being in college anyways…if I can get the same quality of advice from a non-college student as I do a college student….hell maybe that would be the better option. I often value the opinion of a 22 year old that is working and eeking threw life in the real world and never spent a day in college far more than the opinion of a 22 year old sheltered college student who only knows about the real world from what they were taught and told and saw on some GD TV show. A 22 year old who has no clue how to handle life when it sneaks up and curb stomps your ass.