"Why are you in creative writing? Why are you in this class?" a substitute posed to my creative writing workshop class on the craft of prose. She was an MFA graduate from my university, a poet, and co-editor, alongside my professor of the required book for the class.
The room was silent. A nervous tension sprouted through the air as the eyes of my peers darted around the room at everyone else.
One boy took the plunge. "I think everyone's waiting for someone to say the obvious answer. When most people ask that question, there's scorn behind it. Creative writing; why would you do that? I'd like to write and publish something."
We get turned into a joke. I wouldn't disagree. She asked a loaded question.
"So you want to be a writer, then?" the substitute responded to his inquiry.
"More or less, yeah."
One girl spoke up. "I want to be a teacher and advising told me I'd have a better shot if I did the creative writing option for the English major instead of the literature option. I also want to publish a book, but I don't necessarily want to be a writer."
Answers from other students filtered into the conversation.
"I like to write."
"I've always loved stories."
"I want to improve my writing."
"I wanted to try writing in different styles I normally wouldn't use."
Listening to the comments from my classmates, I reflected on my own answer to the question.
I knew I wanted to write, edit, secure a position in the publishing industry, and author a book along the way. I don't need creative writing workshops to accomplish these. Why was I in the creative writing program? There's no promise of monetary gain. It can aid my future goals, personal and career oriented, but like I mentioned, it's not necessary for them.
I want to tell stories. I want people to listen to them. I want to write poetry that moves people.
Writing is the one thing I can do well and I want to develop my craft. I want to have a voice in writing so crisp it could cut paper, color walls, curl floorboards, and chill bones like winter weather.