In class: First, let me say: Great job with the workshops!
Many, many, many transactions this term. I've never had a class to do more, and with as much graciousness and effect. I've been learning the while, and our partner students certainly have been, partner teachers report epiphanies, and some of you, too. Tokens, Uber black and Uber X; early Saturday morning videotaping. Plus stories and stories and stories.
To follow up on the writing of our partners, we'll meet in our split shift again, to read, edit, and rough-sketch curate the work from Cristo Rey, Kensington Biz, and Adaire. Kimmel Youth Jazz ensemble will be working on their own revisions.
Except this time each group will go for three hours. You'll still start at one and end at six, but this time, the groups will be doing their work separately and overlap.
Location: Fisher-Bennett faculty Lounge
Working regularly on your stories yet? Are they alive, so that you're not just dropping stuff in? Are you stuck, stuck, stuck, about to say bad things that rhyme with stuck?
Stop! Find the play again.
I know you're tired. I know your eyes are burning, and your wits are ragged. Can't move forward? Do an ABC book. When I started playing with this assignment, it turned into an angry black ABC book for grown-ups--I think it was all the Baldwin. Very therapeutic at the end-of-term.
If you don't need it or have no time, ignore.
If your story will be short-ish, and you'd like to do a blog based on something that happened to you in the workshops, dash off some non-fiction reflection. Most of you owe one, anyway.
Wanna talk to me about your story before Wednesday? I'll come in on Tuesday, 11am-2pm. Pick a time on the half hour and reserve via email. I'll also have extended hours the week of April 19th, in case you're not ready yet, or find yourself in a chemistry crunch.
Week 3: February 3
Field trip: Slought/"A Beautiful Ghetto" with host, Dr. Aaron Levy
"Reading in the Dark"
Stories speed dating: What's the best thing about this story: Setting, idea, character, event/plot? Write it on author's sheet.
Week 4: February 10
Investigation of our individual aesthetic and obsessions. What do you NEED to write? Where do you start?
Irwin: Is there a formula for good writing?
Penn Museum of Archaeology & Anthropology: To let the art of centuries from across the globe lodge in our imaginations.
Preview of workshops with younger students; beginning scheduling and preferences. We'll figure out more on email.
Let the object form a story around itself. Play with it. Look online to find its specs or its history, if that interests you. Or go back and enjoy it some more. Then write.
Watch your process; respect it. Don't wait for Tuesday night. Tuesday night is not your friend.
After class, my friend, Hannibal Lokumbe, a composer, called, and I told him about our assignment, how I wanted to make this class an oasis for creation. His response" "Well, the great thing about creation is that you always learn." Even or especially when the project fails.
I'm intrigued by How Not to Write a Novel. Have ordered. You might be reading it soon.
Week 5: February 17
In class: Read from object lessons. Discuss process. How does this story connect with last week’s question: what do you need to write?
Read “Girl,” by Jamaica Kinkaid, and discuss the strategy of direct address.
Hmk: Re-read “Girl." Without trying to imitate her style, but noting the strength of this strategy, write a direct address story. Know your speaker and voice.
Decide to whom this story is directed.
Begin reading John Hough’s Craft of Dialogue
Let's talk about: Leo Tolstoy, The Hedgehog and Fox, John Gardiner, The Art of Fiction