So I've got an hour before my next class and my last post was kind of a downer, which I try not to do. So I think I'll post. I am torn between terror and giddy satisfaction.
I've got several reasons to be disquieted, but my disquiet has been pushed into terror by the simple fact that I'm taking Intermediate Fiction Writing this quarter. I'm taking it with the same instructor as I had for beginning fiction writing, and she even remembered me, but I am still extremely apprehensive. Malinda's (since she's an instructor who I don't count as a personal friend, she doesn't get a blogname) class was a lot of work last time, and I don't expect it will be any different this time - except I'll be a lot busier this time around, or anyway I fully expect to be. And besides the pressure of turning out these stories, there's the added restriction of "no genre fiction." I don't normally read so-called realistic fiction, because I want my fiction to edify and inspire me with tales of good triumphing over evil, courage over cowardice, and honor over selfishness. In short, I want my fiction to be about what ought to be, not what is. I already know what is! Not that I doubt my ability to write good realistic fiction. I just don't care about it the way I care about fantasy and science fiction. And I am afraid of not having enough time to write good stories, and having other people workshop work that I know isn't good.
I suppose I'm also afraid that nobody will ever take seriously the writing that I care about. I know intellectually that that's not true - this is just one more part of my education where my duty is to play a game I don't care about. And I'm sure it will improve my craft, thus enhancing the work that I do care about. But sometimes it's hard not to think that nobody up here appreciates Christianity as an intellectual and philosophical system, and that prospect is at once disheartening and deeply offensive. Back home I can be assured that even my non-Christian friends respect my religion as a tradition that absolutely must be understood, either because they're still not sure what to think about it or because they realize that they live in a society that was at one point predominately Christian (and is, to be fair, still the most religious society on the planet). In some cases (e.g., The DM) it's especially my non-Christian friends who think that Christianity is worthy of treating respect. But up here ... I mean, what would it look like if I took a Phoenix Earth manuscript to the English department and asked for serious critique of a work of Christian science fantasy? I can't help but fear that the response would be ... well, misunderstanding.
And of course, then there's the fear that they just wouldn't care. I sent out an e-mail to the Stanford Gaming Society the other day announcing my intent to run a Phoenix Earth campaign, time and interest allowing. Time ... well, I'll make time for roleplaying. Gaming is too important to me, to much a part of who I am as a moral and spiritual being, for me to cut it out of my life entirely. Even if I can only run one session a month, I'll do it. But interest ... now, interest is another story entirely. These people don't know me, they don't know my system, and they don't know my world. Would you join a game like that? I'm not sure I would. And even though I know that those restrictions mean that a lack of interest in Phoenix Earth up here won't truly mean anything, it will be disappointing.
But that's enough depression. The other side of me is elated. With the exception of Malinda's, I'm taking classes this quarter that I'm truly and honestly excited about. And Testimony ... well, Testimony has had two really good shows in the past couple days. I don't mean to brag, but we rocked. And as many of us no doubt have noticed (and in some cases already posted), the Orientation Show order gave every impression that The Powers That Be have recognized that we are, in fact, very good. And not only that, but apparently we got a positive flood of auditonees since the last time I checked! How wonderful is that?
And, if that wasn't enough, I had Social Dance I today for the first time. I'm taking the class as a follow, and I was initially a little wary about the whole thing because I was reflecting that while I do want to be skilled in all sorts of dances, I don't actually like all types of dances. And I want to be skilled in all sorts of random things (like fencing - ooh, I think I'm gonna like that class!), so that's nothing particularly special. But I had forgotten how very fun dancing can be, and how fun the Dance Master's classes are. I came out of that class with a big grin, the kind that signifies an irrepressible, inexpressible joy - the kind that I used to get after a date with Princess or Thea. Yes, life is generally looking up.
I am also quietly pleased, despite some initial envy issues, to be serving on Testimony's [leadership\\officer] core for this year. Because I think we have a good team, and I think that we have a good possibility of actually being a spiritual covering for the group - and I am glad to have been called to be a part of that endeavor. This may not (never will be) the cove, but it is for the moment home. So I am home, writing stuff that I care about, listening to "Dust on the Bottle," ... and, of course, in good health.