So tonight I attended the first Aurora meeting of the semester. I really enjoy these meetings, mostly for the discussion that I don't get being a distance student. Well, tonight, the discussion turned interesting, and I had to bite my tongue at some remarks another student made. These remarks pegged her as young, and lacking knowledge of the literary world. I'm not claiming I have extensive knowledge, but over time, I've learned a few things.
So it went like this- we critiqued a short story this evening and it was obvious to me that either this author did not have a good grasp of grammar, or English was not their first language. I leaned towards the language, just because of the errors I saw. It was a story about a woman having her forty-first birthday, and feeling like she was no longer pretty, and that her husband no longer felt attracted to her. This woman tried many things to preserve her youth, and decided the night of her birthday to stop at a bar and have some drinks, and flirt with some men. As she is leaving with one of these men, she walks past a jewelry store and sees that a pair of earrings she admired were gone. She realizes her husband bought them for her, and she races home to enjoy her evening with, and dies in a car accident on the way there.
So, this student's first remark was that it was written like a cheesy romance novel. Hrm...really? Okay. So I commented that perhaps this was the tone they were going for, and other than some syntax errors, it was decently written. Her next reply was questioning whether any romance novel was well written. Okay folks, you know where that took me. I bit my tongue, but there was no point in arguing with a 19 year old that believes anything other than classical literature is good literature. It turns out this author was international, and English was most definitely her second language, as I suspected. Of course, they back peddled and said they felt horrible for saying such things, and that perhaps we should publish it because it would be an international writer. WTF?! I kindly pointed out it would be better to stick with quality as opposed to just having an international writer. I really wanted to ask where HER submission was, or if she had been published.
This entire exchange just proved to me how snobbish people are about literature. This girl is obviously a literary snob, and I don't really fault her for that, but I wish people would open their eyes and minds a bit, and look past the stereotype. I was very irritated and said little throughout the rest of the meeting. There was nothing to say, actually. I had no desire to try and change her mind, but I'm still annoyed as I type this. Is it an age thing?