Today, one of my professors asked if I had considered taking the Short Fiction creative writing course next Fall. Another professor was teaching it, she said, but it would be a good idea and I would probably like it.
My response: meh. First of all, the short story form and I are not the best of friends. Arguably, that's all the more reason for me to take the course -- but I also happened to know that the professor teaching it does not like "genre fiction." He'll read it, critique it, even let someone do a project on it, but he Does Not Approve.
Most of my short stories are horror, some sci-fi, a couple variations on fairy tales, humor, straight-up adventure or survival, and the occasional abandoned attempt at something literary. While I believe that genre fiction holds itself to the same technical and, yes, literary standards as literary fiction, the general opinion in academia disagrees with me. This isn't the only professor I know who dislikes genre fiction -- compared to some others I've talked to, his stance is pretty mild. But still -- I don't want to take a class where the professor's attitudes might discourage me from writing about whatever the fuck I want.
"Whatever the fuck I want" is a pretty large category. About 85% of it is occupied by fantasy in some form or another.* Then there's the 5% horror and death category. Humor, parody, etc. gets a 6%. 1% each goes to romance, science fiction, historical, and "other."
I could probably entertain you with tentative titles and descriptions of project ideas -- like the space pirate idea or the quest-for-a-magical-amulet-that-doesn't-actually-do-anything-in-the-end idea -- but I'd much rather hear from you. What do you like to write about? What's your favorite thing you've ever written? Do you have a favorite genre, or is anything up for grabs? And would you take a class with a professor who might devalue what you write because he doesn't think it's "serious"?
*I just like magic. Don't judge me.