Gwendoogle CXLV – A Little Crazy and a Little Stupid

GwendoogleAnswers served with more big words than usual

Neekers searched: Is it harder to sail a submarine or fly a plane?
According to the charts and numbers and lists I’ve just run through, there are approximately 535 submarines currently active on this planet. At best guess, there are around 30,000 airplanes active around the world.

These numbers would suggest that you are sixty times more likely to find an airplane than a submarine and, as it is an irrefutable fact that you must find a vehicle before you can operate it, the answer seems clear:

It’s sixty times harder to sail a submarine than to fly an airplane.

ThatsAHumSinger searched: What are your four favorite words over four syllables long?
Dionysian, iconoclastic, indelible, pulchritudinous.

Though I have to offer up that last one with a note that I actually a pretty ugly word. I don’t like when the “p” and “u” show up next to each other. But it has some very good memories attached to it, of shouting across my university’s front quad as if it were an insult and grinning at best friends on the other side.

MaydayHeydayRadar searched: How embarrassed are you after last week’s posts?
Less than not even a little bit at all.

Here’s a list of things I’m embarrassed about:

  • the clean socks I haven’t managed to put away in the last two weeks
  • hitting myself in the nose with a fork tonight during dinner
  • not yet having memorized Wait For It from Hamilton
  • tripping over nothing
  • bruising hips and hands and knees and shins while aggressively entering rooms
  • not entering more rooms aggressively

Here’s a list of things I’m not embarrassed about:

  • my old writing

Jacob T. searched: What’s your middle name?
Danger and Chocolate Cake.

AnnaBananaFeFiFoShanna searched: Why did you go to school for creative writing?
Honestly? Because I was seventeen years old, whimsical and romantic, and my parents allowed me to make my own decisions about my education. Looking back, I can tell you that I had a very single-minded devotion to writing. I didn’t weigh my options when I started school; I loved that option so much I didn’t bother looking at anything else.

If you’re thinking that’s a little crazy, and a little stupid, I’m right there with you. But being a little crazy and a little stupid seems a little necessary for the craft. At least the way I do it.

AnnaBananaFeFiFoShanna searched: What did you get from a formal creative writing education that you couldn’t have gotten on your own?

Let me repeat that for the people in the back who are already planning their three-point rebuttal in the defense of academia: Absolutely diddly-squat.

There are a thousand different ways to learn how to write. Some of them involve classrooms. Some of them involve teachers. Some of them just involve a lot of hours reading really good examples, writing a lot of really bad examples, and playing long games of Spot The Difference. As far as I’m concerned, the critical components in every method are curiosity and ambition, one to keep you open to new ideas and the other to keep you reaching for something better.

A formal writing education was right for me because:

My parents gifted me with an upbringing which made me both secure and excited in a classroom. I was good at school. School was a place I was already prepared to feel successful.

I was the only teenager I knew who wanted to write for a living. Entering college, I became one of a hundred freshman who were all plotting trajectories toward the same goal. I wanted the mass camaraderie.

I liked having people to compete with. Cooperatively. Like a giant game of Leapfrog, in which everyone wanted to see just how far we could go.

Have a question for Gwendoogle? Leave it in comments below and I’ll be back next week to answer it.

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