I am a psychology student but in order to stay somewhat grounded and to fill the creative void that psychology cannot always fulfill, I have taken an array of literature and writing classes here at UWT. The writing classes that I took this year in particular helped me immensely to become a confident writer and allowed me to delve out of my comfort zone. I highly recommend Introduction to Fiction Writing (TWRT 380) with Michael Kula and Introduction to Poetry Writing (TWRT 370) with Janie Miller for those who want to wet their feet as beginner writers because they are introductory classes and can serve as great starting points. These classes were not my initial exposure to writing because I had taken numerous literature classes in previous years. However, these classes provided an excellent basis for my interests in fiction writing and poetry.
I have been an avid admirer of fiction since middle school when I discovered the imaginative force that accompanies reading books. I first realized my love for fiction upon reading Lurlene McDaniel’s heart-wrenching novels in sixth grade and ever since my home library has been expanding. It was also during this time I began writing stories influenced from the books I had read. Remember, this was a time without Facebook and YouTube so I had a lot of free time on my hands.
Introduction to Fiction Writing was a fantastic class because it consisted of about 20 students all of whom I got quite close to. We participated in workshops where each student would share his or her fiction story in class and the others would provide constructive criticism. This aspect of the class was the most helpful because I gained great feedback from my peers that I would not have gained otherwise, except my parents who love everything that I do so it does not count. Michael Kula is a laid-back but attentive professor and created a very free and relaxed atmosphere which in return made the students more comfortable and willing to share their work. As a class we also read various short stories by well-known contemporary authors such as Raymond Carver. However, it should be noted that this class is about contemporary fiction and not classic fiction. This disappointed me a little because I am a huge fan of classic fiction but contemporary fiction truly opened my eyes to a whole new genre of writing that I equally admired.
Poetry is a more personal genre of writing because it allows people to present their innermost feelings and concerns onto paper. Poetry is also generally known to be one of the most difficult forms of writing because it only permits the writer a short amount of space to express his or her emotions. With these two factors in mind, many people tend to stay away from poetry. So, the poetry classes here on campus are usually small but yet again this provides for an intimate atmosphere that is even more crucial for poetry than other writing classes.
Introduction to Poetry Writing thus far has been an amazing experience. I honestly thought I was truly incapable of writing poetry. Since I am a fiction writer, it takes me 10 pages to express something, whereas in poetry you are only allowed a couple of lines. It was definitely a challenge but once I let loose and delved out of my comfort zone, I was producing poems that I can now read over again and smile (or cry). Professor Janie Miller created such an inspiring atmosphere so we had no choice but to think like poets. She is truly passionate about poetry and this reflects in her teaching. Poems are more difficult to share than fiction writing because they are quite personal but Professor Miller induced a comfortable atmosphere so it made sharing that much easier. I will have completed this class by the end of this quarter and it will be a bittersweet moment because I have learned so much about poetry and most importantly that poetry is in each one of us. Okay, mushy moment over.
Do not hesitate to take these classes if you want to be a writer or poet or just want to have some fun with your creative side. Yes, we all have a creative side. You just have to unleash it.