I sometimes go back and look at things I've written just to see how I've grown as a writer. In 1998 I signed up for a creative writing class at a distance. This was my first real experience working with an editor.
AMERICA'S DREAM FOR GENERATION 'X'
I am Generation 'X' personified. I'm surprised I wasn't born with Intell Inside. I grew up playing the Atari, moved up to the Nintendo, and eventually wrapped three quarters of my life up in computers. I to, even at my young age, have lived through the recreation of nearly every golden era; swing dance, recession, the value of a dollar, poetry and beatniks, drugs, sex, rock and roll, tattoos and body piercing. More importantly I belong to the Millennium madness. Everyone has their causes and concerns, mine is about the American dream.
I am twenty-one years old. Don't let my age fool you, I look like I'm twelve, feel like I'm seventeen, act like I''m thirty-five and wish I was ten again. Why ten? It was 1988, boys still wanted to be the President when they grew up and girls wanted to be wives, mothers and career women all in a single lifetime. The goals of women were never to have children while they were still children, drop out of high school, or be married and divorced before their five-year high school reunions. In 1988 it was still important to be book smart rather than computer literate. Latchkey kids were out numbered by housewives with after school snacks, and getting a college education was still in our price range. Ah, what it was like growing up in the good ol' days.
I had an American dream by the time I was six years old. My dream was to become a wife, mother, and doctor to a boy that I was particularily fond of in the first grade who's career choice happened to be a football player. It only made sense to choose a career that would compliment my future husband.
When the early 1990's created a wave of divorce fad, my father's mid-life crisis came and left with a younger woman leaving behind only memories of what I thought life should be like when I got older. My bubble of American dreams not only burst it only reflected true American nightmares after my dad left. I belonged to a new generation...the temporary one.
Will we ever remember that we used to go to car races instead of staying home to watch car chases? That our role models should include a President worthy of respect and emulation along with young soldiers and war veterans, police and firemen, teachers and scientists; our heroes shouldn't be infamous like Monica Lewinsky and OJ Simpson. When our children make a list of what they want to be when they grow up, will they ever list President of the United States of America again? Will we suddenly remember that technology was supposed to teach our children not raise our children?
Does anyone even remember their American dream anymore?
I had to shorten this story because it was actually over 1,000 words long. However, my first run of it was more vague. I used 'it', 'this' and 'that' a lot. Aside from my vagueness, I guess I upset the editor when I originally wrote, "Our role models should be the President..." At the time, President Clinton was in office. Here is the editor's comment:
"I'm rather confused with your slant. Are you saying that we should have Bill Clinton, the hedonistic womanizer, as our role model? I don't understand this at all. Your argument really falls apart here and needs to be revamped. If, on the other hand, you're trying to say that a president should be worthy of respect and emulation (unlike Bill), then make this point clear. Other than this, the article makes good sense."
I plugged along for a few more months in this class before the editor's opinions, rather than constructive citicism started to negatively affect my ability to write with a clear mind. I'm not sure if I made the right decision though, by quitting the class just because I clashed with the editor. I was only twenty-one years old though, and I didn't have a good enough perspective on life to form well thought through slants and I didn't have the patience to handle differences of opinion in regards to my writing. I think now that I'm older, I am able to step back and look for the constructive criticism from editors with strong opinions. Hopefully, anyway.