Sunday, April 9, 2017

Minding My Muse 07: Sharing Scribbles

I don't often reread journal posts, but in sharing these responses to Priscilla Long’s Minding the Muse A Handbook for Painters, Composers, Writers, and Other Creators I'm doing just that. And frankly, it's a little unnerving, both the reading eight-month-old notebook scribbles and sharing them.

Priscilla Long, Minding the Muse, p. 45
“Whose work are you looking it? Do you go outside your own genre to look and to learn? What are you reading? What new directions are igniting your imagination? What craft moves or new approaches are you dipping into? Have you done anything new lately?”

At the moment I am looking at nothing more than P. Long’s Minding the Muse and I’m reading Pam’s first draft of Marcella. New approaches, craft moves? I’m dipping into the idea of interlacing original journal entries and letters into the memoir text. I’m toying with time – Mexico 1980s, England 2010. I have no idea how this memoir (or true-life fiction) will end up coming together. So yes, I need to be reading memoirs from the greats, works that are novel and play with sources and time. What do I have in my bookcase and what can I find? Only three memoirs plus Maya Angelou’s Letter to My Daughter which I’ve already read but will take another look.

Priscilla Long, Minding the Muse, p. 45
“Do you have a hobby or interest – perhaps playing a musical instrument or cooking or dancing -  that refreshes and feeds your creative work? Or do you in fact work in more than one genre?

I would call reading a hobby. And cycling. Reading shows me what others are creating – both weak and strong. Cycling clears my mind. I’d still like to dabble in sketching and color, but when and how? Alone with this small book on perspective is only annoying. Maybe I should just go out and look and watch and draw. Or maybe I should find a class – time and money – that can work into my schedule. But first and foremost, I need to write!

Priscilla Long, Minding the Muse, p. 45
“How do you go about systematically deepening your craft skills? Could you do more? Is that a class you might take, whether in your own area of work or in a completely different area, that might stimulate and inform your own working process?”

I have done nothing for a long time to improve my skills, not since 2002-2003 UW Extension,  the one and only course I’ve ever taken. This is not because I think there’s nothing for me to learn, but rather sort of twofold.

First, I strongly believe that writing, like many things, is something one learns by doing. I have written a lot in the past fourteen years and in doing so, I have improved my skills. That’s not to say that a class would be a bad thing, only that I don’t want, haven’t wanted, to be distracted from my current project, whatever it was. I see too many writers who would benefit from more seat time and less class time, in my opinion. But I could just be making excuses.

Because second, I find it hard to select and pay for a class. Scheduling is a challenge, homework that would distract me or pull me out of the memoir would be annoying. And then there’s the money. And honestly, I’m not sure I want anyone telling me what to do. Yet, I admit there’s much I could learn and explore. I could, should take a class for fun, for play. In which case, I’d probably prefer a visual art class! So where? And when? And why haven’t I done it?

Prior posts in this series:

No comments: