Sunday, September 25, 2005

The First Class

at City Lit on Friday

Teaching is the performance

of a work that you never want
your audience to forget,
for in these dear moments

you give away all of your secrets.

+ + +

for all you lit buffs - this is what we did

Course Tutor: Christina Springer
CityLit Course No: 5HW109
Ways Into Creative Writing

23/09/2005 Review


Exercise 1 - Introduction / Self Assessment

Task: You were asked to answer the following request or questions.

1. Use a colour to tell us why you are taking this course.
2. What is the sound of what you are feeling right now?
3. What does your current writing smell like?
4. What taste do you hope your writing will have?
5. What texture do you hope writing will bring to your life?

Goal: Recognise and practise poetic techniques. Experiment with using language creatively. Loosen the imagination. Increase your ability to take risks. Experience yourself as a writer with your potential and strengths.

Material Presented:
1. One of the most important steps in becoming a proficient creative writer is to learn how to create distance between yourself and your subject matter. Whether you will be writing poems, fiction, autobiographical sketches, theatrical pieces or creative non-fiction, you - the writer - will have to learn where *you* end and the piece of work begins.
2. Within a piece of writing, each and every single word is important. Every word has meaning to a reader and should not be wasted. Each word should contribute to the advancement of piece as a whole. This exercise demonstrated how powerful well-chosen words can be.
3. In the context of the exercise, we learned how concrete simple images could reveal so much to our reader.
4. The exercise demonstrated how we are able to reveal information about ourselves without giving a lot of personal detail.
5. We learned how powerful words can be when they engage all of the five senses.

Exercise 2 - Postcards From Outer Space

Task: Assume that space travel is possible. Assume we have explored the universe and have found life, civilisations and cultures. Send a postcard home from anywhere in the known or unknown universe.

Goal: Recognise and practise fictional techniques. Loosen the imagination. Move away from preconceived ideas. Increase your ability to take risks.

Material presented:
1. Creative writers should be able to make the ordinary extraordinary and the extraordinary mundane.
2. We strengthen our writing skills by giving our brain a creativity workout.
3. Successful writers engage the reader’s imagination by authentically communicating the human condition - regardless of the setting in which we place our characters.
4. Writers can use distance - physical, emotional, intellectual or spiritual - to free their words from pre-established patterns, flex the muscles of their imagination and revise their attitudes to our shared reality.

Exercise 3: Still Life with Found Objects

Task: 1. Describe the still life i have placed in front of you. Do it in a way that lets the reader see what you see.
2. Make a story out of the objects. Hints: What happened before you saw the objects. What will happen five minutes after you no longer see the objects. Who touched these objects and why? Where are these objects? What significance to these objects have to others? be free to go wherever your mind takes you.

Goal: Recognise and practise poetic and fictional techniques. Experiment with using language creatively. Loosen the imagination. Experience yourself as a writer with your potential and strengths.

Material Presented:
1. Everyone sees things differently. As writer’s we need to begin to understand how our perception influences the way in which we work. And we must open ourselves to understanding the way others percieve the same subject matter.
2. It is important to step away from our normal thought processes, in order to give our subject matter depth and meaning.
3. Make the ordinary extraordinary.
4. Combining detail, description and imagination can turn garbage and dirty dishes into a moving piece of work.

Final Thoughts:

1. We must control words rather than allow words to control us.
2. We must not fear writing rubbish. Bad writing exists because of lack of discipline. A writer writes and rewrites, again and again and again until they have a finished work.
4. Move away from established writing patterns and comfort zones. This will strengthen your ability to think, act and behave like a the creative writer you are and wish to become.
5. Our “material” is all around us. Everything from garbage and dirty dishes can be transformed into a literary masterpiece.
6. Begin to train yourself to really look at people, things, places and EXPERIENCE them to their fullest.


You were given a small excerpt from Adrienne Kennedy’s autobiography, “People Who Lead To My Plays” In the style of Adrienne Kennedy, write about 3 people who will lead you to your voice.


Treasure said...

I was just amazed that you got those English spellings right.

Christina Springer said...

When my computer got sick, it was treated here in England. As a result, my spell-checker is English.

Crazy! Machines now imitate people. They pick up on the lingo just like we do.