Today I am starting a new Blog topic. I will still do my travel blogs and my Back in the Classroom Blog but I feel inspired to prattle on about whatever comes into my head – not related to the classroom or my holiday activities. The “Puppy Prattles On” entries will be on just about anything that comes to mind – A place where I can “Free Write”
When I stopped teaching way back in 2001 I enrolled in a creative writing class. The intention was to learn the skills I needed to write a book – not just any book – I don’t do the deeply imaginative, brilliant prose kind of fictional stuff – I am more of a tell it like it is, factual kind of writer – and the book I wanted to write was a true story and I’d already started putting down fact after fact. But at this creative writing course, I had to find my right brain! Now that part of my brain, I believe, is dead. I am so left brained. I am logical and methodical and like to have instructions on how to do any task. I can figure out how to do most things as long as there is a manual with clear verbal outlines on how to go about it. Don’t give me a map or a diagram though – uh uh – that is just not how I think. Words are good – pictures are not. I can’t draw. I can’t read a map. I can’t sing. I can’t dance (except with my husband). I am uncoordinated and uncreative. Now these creative writing lessons were supposed to be relaxed and fun. They were supposed to get me to dig down deep into my soul and get in touch with my innermost feelings and to let the pencil take control and express beautiful poetic prose. Sometimes we had to draw – with our non-dominant hand – so we wouldn’t be embarrassed about our efforts. Well! I can’t even draw with my dominant hand so imagine my stress when I had to use the wrong one! When I saw what my classmates produced I could have crawled under the table with shame. I was definitely absent from school the day they taught us how to draw!
At my first lesson – the teacher said – just ‘free’ write – anything that comes to mind. And I just wrote and wrote until the timer stopped us. “Now if you’d feel you’d like to, stand up and read what you’ve written to the class.’ I was quite pleased with my effort but had no desire to stand up in front of all those people. But many did – without hesitation – and I was gob-smacked – How in three minutes, were they able to write so much, so well? I could see that I was among talented people here and the only thing that kept me coming was my ‘book’. It was a good story. Surely that was enough.
I stuck out the classes for a few years. I enjoyed them to a point – and I wrote a lot and my writing improved. But I never got to the level of my classmates, some of whom published their stories.
And did I finish my book – Yes – And I gave it to an editor – a member of my writing class. She liked the story – but wanted me to re-write it. She made some good suggestions – But the writing had taken a lot out of me – And I was tired of the topic. So it is at the back of a cupboard now – I might take it out again but in the meantime, I am avoiding it by writing about everything else that comes to mind. I hope there are people out there reading this – Welcome and please join me again.