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Sunday, April 02, 2006

Writing Class

Writing class is over. Throughout this semester students worked with determination -- and I appreciate their efforts. It was a process of learning to write and one of learning to let go.

Summer reading, for those who like books on the process: A great little book I came across at Powells in Portland, Oregon (I need to do a reading there, hint hint) is From Where You Dream: The Process of Writing Fiction, Janet Burroway's transcriptions of lectures by Robert Olen Butler.

The main thesis of the book is that writers must write from an inner core, a zone, a place were emotion rules and the thinking analytical brain shuts off. Good advice that I won't knock. Yet it is not the entire story. You learn to write by writing, by feeding off the inner emotion that drives work, but at some point really considering the craft. Think back to any critiques you've ever had (I'm thinking art and writing) and a significant part of that class dealt with sloppy craftsmanship. Rarely did everyone agree the craft was perfect and be willing to move along to something more. Still, read this one. It's fun, it's quick, it's important.