Over the weeks, the mutinous crew seems to have abandoned ship; I'm determined to press on. Writing is ultimately a solitary craft; I've traveled by ocean liner and by canoe, and am reasonably at home with either. Many of us do better in our coracles, paddling in shallow waters well in sight of a safe, comforting shore. I was surprised that so many stopped at chapter one, declaring that a particular musical analogy was inaccurate or they detected a "whiff of pretentiousness" - as if declaring a whiff of anything from words on the page weren't pretentious enough. Others chafed at the idea of gorgeous writing, and purposefully conflated it with purple prose, which, if they had read any further, wasn't the point at all.
Others felt it was not worth it to spend karma -- the currency Scribophile uses to allow authors to post works in exchange for reviewing works. That surprised me since once can, in theory, write 625 words of critique to get enough karma to post roughly 3000 words. But then I remembered the members of Scribophile had a very heated debate on whether one had to read a lot in order to write well. Many felt reading was at best an activity to endure in their pursuit of literary greatness (Or at least J.K Rowling levels of income). Okay then, though that simply brings us to the island of Mouths Without Ears. I think one can become stranded there, but perhaps it's only a place we stay at before moving on. We all reach our destinations or at least a destination and adjust our travel plans accordingly.
I'm determined to finish the exercises because I've found them useful, and Steering The Craft is a book that I may never truly finish, but read, reflect upon, and read again. That, and there are only two more chapters, and stopping feels a little like turning back just when the opposite shore had emerged. But I am the only one who has gone as far as chapter six, so perhaps for others, the distance is simply too great.
Of course, the voyage doesn't end just because one reaches their destination. I'm sure I'll repeat some of the exercises. I'll definitely dig into the recommended authors, some of whom I have not read since college, and am now in a position when I can settle down and actually read them without worrying about other classes and deadlines.
But as an experience of a virtual workshop, The Mutinous Crew was not successful, but at least the group will be there, even if this batch was not successful. I'm not sure what it says about online writing workshops -- too easy to join and too easy to leave, perhaps? Maybe the simply fact that you have to get out of a chair to go to a workshop shows a different level of commitment. Maybe the day to day distractions are simply too great and one must pull themselves away from thier normal lives, take sextant in hand and chart their course, and that the comings and goings create their own kind of friction, and make it harder for others. I think that's why I made the Crew a private group, to avoid the random arrival where everything must be explained again only to have them take imaginary offense and leave.