First creative piece I've written in a while, and produced while trying to force community college students to think in metaphor. Their final essay is to allegorize their theses. Yeah, I guess I'm mean, but I thought it would be more fun than hard. Turns out it's only hard for them, and last night I gave them ten minutes to craft a quick metaphor. I participated. This is what popped out for me, which I shared with them and which scared them more than it helped. Their stories were literal, mundane. None of them are literary types: physics and agriculture and nursing majors, pragmatists, everyone of them.
I've often wondered if what writers do they must do because this craft is who they are. I hate to pigeon hole or stereotype, though I will embarrassingly do it from time to time without realizing. Though it wasn't the point of the exercise, it did serve to remind me that not everyone can do it. Life beats a guy down. Life makes a guy think sometimes he's made the wrong choices, that he kids himself. After one student's remark about how good this piece was -- honestly, it's nothing, 10 minutes of riffing -- I joked and said I'd like to do more but somebody's always paying me to do something else. And that is literal to the point I almost think it's intentional sometimes -- as though the world is paying me to stop. Silly thoughts I guess, but thoughts that prevent one from writing anyway.
I don't know how other writers are, other artists. This one is easily discouraged, a highly gooseable cat. Last night was better for me than for the students, whose lack of creativity had them walking out discouraged about their final essays. I left smiling, thinking to myself: No, not just anybody can do this.