Thursday, January 25, 2007


When Did I Get This Old?

I'm taking this fiction writing class and as of last count, I was the second oldest student in the class. Of course, it's an undergrad class with enthusiastic young people and that's great. And it's a big class - 16 of us - which means workshopping four stories a night. Confidence certainly isn't a bad thing in a writer, especially a young one, and God knows I had a stage where everything I wrote was brilliant (or so I thought.) If I didn't have a healthy ego, I wouldn't still be doing this. Ultimately you have to believe in the value of your own work, even if no one else does at that particular moment.

But, wow - sometimes I'm astounded by the gulf between my experience and theirs. It doesn't seem that I could possibly be that much older, but apparently I am. 15 years in some cases, I'd bet. (When did that happen?) And when they ask questions about getting ideas, I remember I have a ton of life experience to draw on. I don't struggle for ideas any more - mostly I struggle with putting the words on paper and then making them into something polished. Finishing things. That's what I have trouble with.

It's an interesting class, although it feels more like a beginning fiction class than an advanced. I suppose once we actually start workshopping that might change, but in the meantime, I'm reading, I'm thinking, and oh yeah, writing! *g*

Sunday, January 21, 2007


Dialogue vs. Diary

I've been thinking for some time about why it is I'm not so inclined to post here more regularly, and I think some of it comes down to what kind of writer I am. It's probably the same reason I've always had trouble keeping a diary, although I write letters regularly.

It seems to me that the difference for a blogger is in whether you're seeking a diary or a dialogue. A diary - online or otherwise - gives you a place to record that is primarily for yourself. If other people read it, that's inconsequential. Perhaps one still writes with the idea of being read, but that's not the primary purpose. The need to write fuels the posts, dictates the subject matter, and keeps the writer posting whether there are comments or not.

The writer who seeks dialogue wants a response, wants some acknowledgement that the words have touched someone else. It explains why so many are seeking "publication" in blogs. I think I'm the kind of person who likes a response, but also, who likes to continue the discussion. Unfortunately, this particular blog engine isn't set up to do that very well, and therein lies my main problem. People can leave comments, but in order for them to hear my reply, they must deliberately check back to this journal and check the comments.

Other systems, such as, have a structure that sends replies to every comment by email. That means not only are conversations possible, it's possible to have layers of conversation with multiple participants. You can follow the thread of a discussion, receive notices if a particular blog is updated, etc. It seems to be doing far more in terms of allowing the kind of interaction I'm probably looking for.

So why am I here? Because all the other kids are? Because the majority of writers I know are participating in this blog space, and movement between blog spaces is still a difficult thing to negotiate. I'm trying to decide whether this works for me, though. I suspect it doesn't, but I'm not sure moving to somewhere like LJ is the answer either because the people that I'm currently talking to about writing are all here. LJ allows dialogue, but it also requires a certain amount of commuity building if you want people to respond.

That's where my head is right now. Thinking a lot about writing - the process, the particulars. Less of the actual writing going on, but I think that's okay for now.

Thursday, January 04, 2007


The Little Voices are Back

The thing that I like about taking classes, talking to other writers, even reading, is that it often leads to ideas. In the post-thesis phase of my life, I've been having enormous difficulty reading and writing. I was just plain tired. My brain was strained and drained. Pickled, put in a jar, and stored on a dusty shelf.

Now, I'm starting to feel the glimmer of ideas again. Woke up at 5 am with stories swirling in my head, or at least bits of them. So I got up and wrote down the pieces because I've learned not to believe I'll remember them in the morning. Maybe they won't turn into stories. Maybe they will. But the fact is, I've got the fragments of a beginning. Several beginnings. Characters waving from the shadows. Voices whispering dialogues. It's good. It's very very good.

Wednesday, January 03, 2007



Much to no one's surprise, I'm starting a class tonight. Yes, I have trouble staying out of school. I've always loved being a student, and I get a particular kind of energy from the experience.

Tonight I'm starting English 366.3 at the U of S - Guy Vanderhaeghe's Advanced Fiction class. I'm very much looking forward to it because I've been writing more fiction and thinking about writing longer works. I've found that any writing class tends to get me writing more, and if nothing else, that's a positive thing.

Monday, January 01, 2007


Happy New Year!

Another new year begins, and I have a few resolutions:

1) Write more! Read more!
2) Eat less. Exercise more.
3) Stress less. Laugh more.
4) Update my journal regularly.

Let's see if I can stick to those sticky resolutions.

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