Thursday, October 14, 2004

Writing class report #2 

The second writing class was even more fun than the first. Laura, our teacher, lectured for a while about narrative voice and structure, and the difference between the author and the narrator in memoir, and blah blah perspective blah... Or maybe I could just type up my class notes. Wouldn't that be fun reading? Anyway, there was some lecture-type talking, and some questions posed and answered, and then we had the Break with Treats. I didn't tell you about treats last week, or breaks either. Well, about halfway through the 3-hour class, we take a 15-minute break. And during the break, we have treats, brought by three folks from the class each week. It's a little time to talk and raise our blood sugar (great for those of us who don't manage dinner before the 6:30 start time).

After the break, each person read his/her first friend/teacher/pet/song piece aloud. While there was a range of writing quality, in terms of style, construction, etc., everyone was fairly good at evoking a particular moment from the past. Some were funny, heartbreaking, tender, or some combination of those. Facility with reading aloud was a highly variable factor. It was very clear that some people aren't used to, or comfortable with, reading aloud, and that some people - and this is amazing to an architect - have trouble reading their own writing.

Despite feeling my heart beating faster just before my turn, I'm accustomed to performing, both speaking and singing, and once I got the first sentence out, I realized that I had settled into performance mode, and was treating my writing as I would a script. I realized for the first time, in some gut level way, that I really do write in my own voice. Reading my own writing was comfortable; the sentence length and structure matched the way that I speak... at least those times when I speak in carefully composed, grammatically and syntactically correct sentences. I had written about one of the first songs I remember, Frere Jacque. I remember having learned it first in English, and I sang the English words where they occurred in the story. After I read the last line, there was complete silence for a moment, which is just what I want when performing something sweet and quiet.

And my teacher liked my story. She said that the structure blah blah scenic quality blah blah blah voice blah blah very nicely done! Phew! More next week...