July 6th, 2010


Return to NYC

I'm home.  I have been home since Sunday night, but yesterday was a day of sleep and exercise and an afternoon nap and watching Who Framed Roger Rabbit?, plus all the extras, followed by Becoming Jane, followed by more sleep.

The Clarionites are forbidden to blog about their experience while it happens, so all I'll say is that it was an awesome week, (except for the food, which was HORRIBLE) and it was very hard to tear myself away.

I do love teaching workshops.  The sheer energy generated by all the writing and talking about writing is incredibly inspiring.  Things swam into clearer focus--about structure, about the uses and causes of action, about p.o.v.  I'm not theorist or a big writer on writing--my teaching style is more about collaboration and finding the right questions to ask than lecture, and that's not particularly useful in a blog.  But I wish those of you interested in the Writing Process could have been flies on the wall for some of our discussions.  Also for the wonderful character development exercises the acting teacher Lisa Berger led us through on Friday evening, which taught us all just exactly how many non-verbal responses people have to emotional and physical stimuli, and how much more complex characters are than the words we give them to say.

The main thing we all learned, though, is how different critiquing a first draft is from workshopping a more-or-less polished piece.  Every first draft is a mine of possibilities, and we all worked hard to help the victim writer figure out which veins of story would be the most productive.  That's the kind of challenge I really enjoy.

This week my challenges are:  calling the Clock Guy to see if he can tell me how to keep my grandmother's grandfather clock from chiming 1 at 6; figuring out how to install Word on my new MacBook Air from my (not very) old MacBook Pro; putting away all the Useful Pieces of Paper from Clarion; getting my hair trimmed (so I won't look like Gurgi when I get to Finland); unknotting all the kinks my neck and shoulders have, er, gotten themselves into; getting back to The Wizard's Apprentice; getting back to the gym.

I'd rather be reading stories.

Since my life promises to be rather dull over the next ten days, I'll leave you with a quotation I put up on the board the first day of class.  I think I may have blogged it before, but it bears repeating.  It's from Paul Magid's program notes for the latest Flying Karamazov Brothers juggling/singing/dancing/philosophical/SFnal show:

"Ultimately, this cardboard world we construct is based on the inevitability of gravity.  Each toss is a flirtation with failure and each time we catch, we deny failure, if only for a little while.  Art begins with a choice, an impulse that either falls or flies.  But it is h possibility of screwing up that is the dark matter of creativity and generates the tension that keeps us at the edge of our seats.  Juggling is dropping."

And so is writing. 

I'm off to the gym now.  And then I think I'll try and drop a few balls.  This book isn't going to write itself, you know.