Turning Things on Their Ear

by | Jul 17, 2006 | Uncategorized | 2 comments

Hello from the Pacific Northwest. Things are rocking here at Goddard West. I love my tiny little room in my quiet wing of the dorm. The weather is colder today, but has mostly been beautiful. There’s water on two sides of the point where we’re located and a lighthouse to walk down to in the fifteen minute break we get once a day.

I just met with my advisor, Aimee Liu, to plan my semester. She’s turning my ideas about writing on their ear which is very exciting. We came up with a list of about twenty books that I have to read and do a 2-3 page report on each. I also have to do two, five-page critical papers on what I learn from the books and 100 pages of new writing. All before mid-December. Needless to say, when I get home, I’ll be busy.

I told her about my sadness over having to set the memoir aside after doing so much work on it since I came to graduate school to learn about the techniques of writing fiction. Quite casually she said, “Why not turn it into a novel?” It was as if my mind snapped open. That might just fix all the problems I’ve been having with it.

She suggests keeping the basic details of the stories but use writing it as an exercise to learn how to write a novel – which is after all the main reason I’m in school. She said, “If you hate it as fiction, two years from now you can turn it back into a memoir!” Sounds easy – eh? I’ll give it a shot this first semester and if it just doesn’t work, I’ll do something different next semester. Thankfully, writing, unlike brain surgery, doesn’t need to be an exact science! (I paraphrased that quote but can’t recall from whom.)

Tonight I’m excited and happy. It’s as if I’ve found my people! It’s the feeling I didn’t have that first day in law school when I knew absolutely that I was soooooo in the wrong place. Here we talk about writing, think about writing, live, breathe and worship writing and for the most part I understand everything they’re all saying! (Except for this one incredibly intellectual professor who’s so bright that even the director of the program doesn’t know what she’s talking about most of the time). And no one’s making excuses about why they aren’t writing. They’re just actually doing it! But even more amazingly, so am I.

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