There is nothing quite like enrolling in a course to improve one’s ability — whether skiing, cooking or writing — only to discover you never knew a stem Christie, can’t tell a sauce pan from a fry pan, and there is so much more to learn about writing than there ever can be time for.
For the last eight weeks I’ve joined a class of 12 or so writers every Wednesday evening. We listen to theory, take a stab at creating in class (my favourite 10-minute enforced writing exercise) and discuss each other’s writing. There are some very good writers. We are different ages, with different occupations, struggling with different demons. Our instructor is very encouraging and gentle with her critique. We are sorry this week will be our last evening together.
I have only just found my voice again. Not my voice here on this blog. That is never far away. But the voice that reaches deep down and pulls out stories decades-old and shares a description of evil 40 years ago. Soon I will share that story.
I have been fortunate to incorporate writing into most of the nearly 30 years I worked for a living. Some of it was very short stories — 30 seconds of radio news from city hall, a murder trial, a house fire or a prison riot. Those years taught me to find a story, shape it quickly and write it fast.
Writing 3,000 words on a single subject for magazines was luxury. Corporate writing taught me to incorporate the message into what appeared to be a story. Advertising was like poetry — every word needs to pay its due. Probably a thousand press releases turned project managers’ hand-waving into stories that ended up selling high tech stuff. Writing is powerful.
What do you want to be when you grow up?” they asked. “A writer.” I now have the luxury of learning more about what I wanted to do in the first place. I might just enroll in that class again.