.comment-link {margin-left:.6em;}

Writing Ruminations

Writing is such an internal process. Why not make those private ruminations public? This is how stories take shape and grow.

My Photo
Location: Happy Valley, Oregon, United States

I've been supporting myself as a writer for many years and am watching the changes in the publishing world with fascination. For me, sharing the craft, teaching, is as creatively satisfying as the writing process itself.

Wednesday, July 23, 2008

Coming Up For Air And Not Starbucks

Sigh, I have to rant. I had NPR on and came up for air from the novel plot summary I’m working on to hear a segment about the closure of a few Starbucks and a resulting public outcry. I happened to hear a woman from ‘rural Iowa’ who stated that she drove 1.5 hours to visit Starbucks and did so ‘for its consistency’. YIKES!!! Not only is she putting a LOT of carbon into the air in her quest for a consistent cup of coffee (she can’t make consistent coffee?) but that ‘I want it to be always the same’ attitude terrifies me. Is that what we are becoming? A nation of McDonaldites? Let’s go to Paris and have our coffee at Starbucks and dinner at Micky D’s? Ignore that new, locally owned, coffee shop on the corner, it might not taste like Starbucks? I know this isn’t everyone, but it seems an indication of an increasing national fear of ‘anything other’. That’s a disturbing attitude since our planet seems to be shrinking every day. Where does this tendency to withdraw into the safe confines of the ‘familiar’ come from? And what is it doing to us as a nation?

Tuesday, July 15, 2008

Post Clarion

My week teaching at the Clarion West Writers Workshop was wonderful...and utterly exhausting! It was a great full-circle for me, since I started my writing career there when I attended it back in 1988. And oh, boy, is it a lot more plush now! Where we slept in a very spartan Seattle U dorm and hiked eight blocks to the community college classroom we used (uphill BOTH ways as I kept telling the students), the workshop now takes place in a lovely pair of sorority houses and comes with three meals a day no less. (I remember living on tuna, ramen noodles, and cabbage for six weeks).

Big discovery. It's a lot harder to be an instructor than it is to be a student! It's not just a matter of critiquing, it's a matter of teaching through that critique, keeping everything in mind that you want to get across and pulling those teaching points from the manuscripts you've been handed. Whole different ball game. But it's a really talented group this year with a nice diversity of writing interests, styles, and goals and excellent critique skills. They're lucky to have each other. And it is going to be so fun watching how these folk develop!

It's a great program, very well run, very focused on giving the students maximum experience and learning in that intense six weeks. One dark note...someone broke into the house while we were in class on Friday and stole four laptops. The SF community rallied impressively and within 48 hours enough money had been donated to replace the stolen laptops. That says a lot about the writing and reading community right there.

So it was a wonderful week, I'm not sure I would have survived a second one without collapsing, and I'd do it again in a heartbeat.