Today I experienced something rare–good writing energy that carried over into good teaching energy in my New RU class.  I met up with a friend at the main branch of our city’s public library to write in the morning, and had a pretty useful session of revising and developing a draft.  We didn’t have a lot of time, but as usual, I was pleasantly surprised by what can get done in a relatively brief span. 

Then, at New RU, we were transitioning from one part of the course to another, and I decided that this would be chiefly a writing session–influenced in part by hearing someone at AWP describe how he would turn his graduate workshop into an atelier with everyone working and looking at one another’s workWe started with a collaborative exercise on big sheets of paper taped to the wall, then moved to individual work–again, on big sheets that easily overflowed the tiny desks.  Something about just having been immersed in the difficulty and pleasure of writing gave me the energy and the courage to do this, and I think it turned out well and sent the students away with something new to ruminate on. 

I keep on being amazed by the extent to which one simply has to reinvent the wheel when one writes.  My friend and I were talking about this over the too-short lunch we enjoyed after we wrote.  I wondered if genre writers find it somewhat easier–or maybe only if you are a ghostwriter cranking out Nancy Drew mysteries with the aid of an outline.


2 responses to this post.

  1. Posted by Pym Fan on March 28, 2008 at 9:22 pm

    Some years ago I heard an interview with Mark Salzman on NPR, in which he said that, much to his amazement and chagrin, every time he set out to write a novel, it turned out he had to learn how to write a novel all over again. (As I recall, he was talking about the experience of writing LYING AWAKE.)


  2. Posted by meansomething on March 31, 2008 at 3:00 pm

    Darn, I was hoping that wasn’t the case. 🙂

    I admire Mark Salzman, not just because he’s a good writer, but because his books are all pretty different. The style is recognizable across books, but he really does set out to do something different in each book–he’s certainly not writing the same book over and over again.

    (Now you’ve made me want to reread his memoir, Lost in Place.)


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