“When I started to write for myself—for the sake of learning and connecting the dots—my content came out more humble and vulnerable. What I was training myself to do…was to see a problem/subject with a new lens. It was about refining perspective… [I] write for myself, because [of] an unquenchable desire to learn.” (~Paul Jun)
All day, I thought about this. And all day, I kept repeating these words:
Vulnerability in writing, in self, in others. Respect in writing, in self, in others. Progress in writing, in self, in others.
Then, I started asking myself: Why did I decide to go back to school to get an MFA in Creative Writing? What does that degree mean to me? My reasons three years ago are exactly the same as they are today: I wanted to be a part of a large community of artists who love to write, to lend structure and a sense of purpose to my daily writing habits, to make new friends, to be in a diverse writing community, to push my work and myself to hone my craft while still maintaining a sense of Self and vulnerability and self-respect. And, as happy as I am thinking about adding a few extra consonants behind my last name (which only contains two letters, both of which are vowels)—the MFA degree has never been my impetus for returning to school.
If you are looking to add community, structure, friends, purpose, diversity, and craft to your writing life outside of a traditional school setting (without all of the school “stuff” like grades and attendance records and long hallways and and and)…writing workshops are the place for you! (In fact, my first ventures into becoming a writer happened in private writing workshops with the incredible, Peg Alford Pursell). Likewise, workshops that The Escapery offers (like Carson Beker’s INCREDIBLE Monsters and Mirrors workshop, and Kathryn Kruse’s FABULOUS Other Fictions workshop) are places that honor and respect writers and their visions, and pushes writers to reach their fullest potential.
I will leave you with a cooling writing exercise that you might try during this heat wave over the weekend:
I’ve been thinking a lot about that fantastic literary/theater craft question: Who holds the power in a story or scene?
So, imagine that you (or one of your fictional characters) lives in a world where some Powerful Person can literally turn on or off the sun with a click of a button. Imagine all of the sunlight blotted out, no more radiance, no more warmth. Or, imagine the sun blazing white, turning black asphalt into rancid soup. Now imagine that you are given a chance to hold that Power and turn off the sun this weekend when it is 105 degrees outside and your shoes are melting into the sidewalk. Would you do it? Would you do it if it would help the firefighters battling the Valley blaze? And, would you do it even if it would turn off the sun for people who are struggling through waist-high waters after their town flooded, and they need the heat to dry things out? Or if the sun meant that a lost hiker could find their way out of the woods? Or or or….
Stay cool this weekend, drink lots of water, melt ice on your doggy’s hot paws, and Happy Writing!