Wednesday, June 29, 2011

Personal Stakes

As a recent addition to the MFA program at my university, I've been slowly building up my credits by taking courses that could only be deemed somewhat less of a risk in my mind.

I admit, I'm a coward, and I avoided a writing workshop for as long as possible.

I sat in my first form and theory class in Fall 2010 and I remember slowly sinking down into my seat as I listened to the horror stories that the other students related to me about the total humiliation and devastation they suffered at the hands of the peers. Peers who were meant to evaluate their work and give proper feedback, but whom seemed to operate under the belief that the more brutal their comments meant that the instructor would look more favorably upon the speaker in the long run. One girl admitted that when her workshop piece was being discussed she had to excuse herself from the room before she burst into tears. That's how they treat people in the fiction workshops, or so I'm told.

So it's understandable that when I needed to take an MFA course in Spring 2011, I opted for the nonfiction workshop rather than risk the wrath of the fiction workshop community. They are infinitely more kind when the work is based on true events in the nonfiction society.

Part of the requirements of a writing workshop is to produce a portfolio of pieces meant to reflect the lessons you've acquired by studying certain nonfiction works selected by your professor. One of our assignments was to write a piece about addiction, or addicting behaviors. I've never suffered from any form of addiction (does caffeine count?) so I took the idea of addicting behaviors and ran with it. I wrote a piece about my struggle with OCD and I have to say, I am somewhat proud of it. So I'm posting it here for the fun of it. It was a risk I took, taking the assignment in this direction. Come to think of it, it's even a risk to post this up here. But really, someone somehow might be able to read it. And that's the point of this blog.

Life stretches out unto infinity separated by a series of repetitive motions.
Wash your hands.
Don’t touch the doorknobs.
Never walk barefoot.
Keep everything clean.
Count to ten and everything is fine.
The counting goes on forever, marking time like a conductor, playing out the music of my life. I can’t seem to stop counting.
Count the movements.
Count the moments.
Count the beats of every measure of every single thing I do for the rest of my time.
Count until my mind finally lets enough control go to get a stop, come to a halt, get to relax until it all starts again from the top. I do it for a bit of control, so I can move forward. Instead I stay still, my wheels spinning in place as I count, repeat, count, repeat.
And around, around we go.

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