Don't be fooled by the grim-faced picture. It was the only unblinking one. For me, words are worth a thousand pictures. I'm looking forward to saying hi to all of you.

Wednesday, May 26, 2010

I went to see the play Collected Stories today

It's a play about writing and writers. Scene One was a writing teacher reading her grad student's story out loud to her, and stopping to critique. It was the best writing lesson. I saw myself in it, the older teacher harping: pluck out the adjectives and adverbs like you would pin feathers on a chicken. (My words, not the playwrite's.) The play also brings up the morality or immorality of appropriating someone else's life into your writing. Should the great poet, Sharon Olds, write about her son, Gabriel's penis? About her daughter, naked? Do we have the write to undress other's in our writing in mind, body, and spirit? I think that's for each of us to decide.
Here's a test to see where you stand.
  • Are you terrified to write anything negative about your mother?
  • Are you terrified that if you write a sex scene readers will think you're one of the participants?
  • Are you, on the other hand, able to reveal other people's secrets, their pecadillos, faults, but never you own?

If any of these answers are YES you must set yourself the task of writing about them immediately!

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