Reflections, reveries, rantings, ravings and ruminations on writing, the writing life, and the San Francisco Writing Salon. Also miscellaneous news and announcements about Writing Salon classes and events.
"It is June. This is what I have decided to do with my life just now. I will do this work and lead this life, the one I am leading today. Each morning the blue clock and the crocheted bedspread, the table with the Phone, the books and magazines, the Times at the door."— Elizabeth Hardwick
It is almost the end of May. This is what I have decided to do with my life just now. I will do this work and lead this life, the one I am leading today. Each morning the half cup of dark French roast in an optimistically yellow cup, the ritual of opening emails, the devoted dog's eyes so liquid warm and brown, sunlight on the kitchen's retro red linoleum, the many rackets, rattles, voices and songs of San Francisco waking up outside my door.
I just twittered about how I'd rather be out walking in the sunshine than working on updating the Writing Salon website. If you have never updated a Word Press website, let me explain something: It looks like it would be just like doing regular word-processing, and yes, it's SIMILAR to that but not the same. Without going into a lot of technical detail, let me just say that what looks like it ought to take five minutes will most likely take 15 or 20 minutes. What looks like it might take half an hour will probably take an hour and a half. And so on and so forth.
Bottom line: It's tedious, it's boring, it's laborious, it makes your eyes burn and your back hurt and your head spin. I do it four times a year in a major way (with lots of ongoing tweaks in-between), and every time, I dread it, procrastinate, whine, get crabby, and feel under- or unappreciated. This is the kind of work that goes unpraised and unsung. I'm sure many of you can relate. In fact, I suspect that most jobs consist MOSTLY of just this: the stuff you do that nobody sees, knows about, understands or appreciates.
We can't expect to get any awards for doing the "invisible" grunge work, can we? Sad but true. I get more praises from taking ten minutes to put fresh gerbera daisies in a vase in the Writing Salon bathroom than I do for spending ten hours updating course descriptions and adding student testimonials to the website.
Life's funny that way. I know you know what I mean. But at least we're all in this together!
Lots of people call The Writing Salon and say, with obvious fear, "I'm not a writer. I've never taken any creative writing classes. Can I still take a class there?"
They're imagining, I guess, or worrying... that all the people who take classes here are "experienced" or "professional" writers ("real" writers). They're afraid they'll look dumb and make fools of themselves.
This is nonsense, of course. For one thing, "experience" is relative; there's always going to be someone more experienced than you, no matter how experienced you are. And someone less experienced.
And "professional" is just a label, a word. Technically, I suppose if you get one thing published, even if you don't get paid for it, you can call yourself a professional writer. Does that mean that professional writers are better writers than non-professionals? Maybe yes, maybe no. Either way, what difference does it make? If you want to write, then write. There are lots of reasons for wanting to write. Becoming a professional writer is only one of them.
All experienced and/or professional writers were beginners once.
I was watching an interview with Drew Carey the other day, and he made the comment that we're all in this world to either learn or teach. I liked that statement. It's delightful. Think about it. Then, if you still feel the urge, come take a class here. Chances are good that you'll do some learning AND some teaching. That's what usually happens in a good class. Everyone has something they can teach to others, and some things they can learn from others. This exchange is basic, human, and good. Nothing to be afraid of, nothing to lose, everything to gain.
Still plugging away at piecing together the next schedule of Writing Salon classes (for the Summer Session). This is always a hard one to do because so many of the teachers are going on vacations that cut into the time span allotted for their classes.
My self-imposed deadline to finish the scheduling AND revise the website accordingly is June 1st. So I've got 10 days left. This shouldn't be a problem so long as I cut out all sleeping, eating, bathing and dressing. I just need to glue myself to the computer, stay in my PJs, stop combing my hair, and survive on green superfood powder drinks and air.
Ah, the life of a Writing Salon Director. Tres glam. Let's see, how about a class in "Writing for the Web?" Stay tuned for that one. Also, we've got one coming up on writing about animals/pets. I was wary of this at first, but I think the teacher who proposed it can pull it off.
No more time to blog.
"I love deadlines. I like the whooshing sound they make as they fly by."
— Douglas Adams
Here's an excerpt from an essay by one of my favorite writers. I chose to post it today because I thought I had lost the book but then found it in a box in the garage, recently. I opened it up today and turned to one of the pages I earmarked a few years ago. I liked it then and I still like it now:
"The truth brings home memories that make her suffer. Yes, she's used to writing while weighed down by a heap of rubble, but she is afraid that touching so many memories may scorch her hands and eyes. She's also afraid her memories may hurt others in her life, whom she loves. Compared to telling the truth, inventing was like playing with a litter of kittens. Telling the truth is like moving through a pack of tigers. She reminds herself that to a writer everything is permitted so long as she writes—even freeing tigers and taking them out for a stroll. But in fact she doesn't believe writers have any special rights, any more than others do. So she faces a problem she cannot resolve. She doesn't want to be a shepherd of tigers.
Here's one good thing about being a writer. It's cheap! All you need is what you've already got: pen and paper...or a typewriter. Or a computer. No expensive supplies or equipment are required, as is the case for, say, painters and photographers. You don't have to have a studio (or even a desk, for that matter -- not if you're a laptop junkie who likes to sit on the couch or in the bed or in a cafe while writing).
Sure, a writing studio or den would be nice (maybe even necessary if you REALLY do spend several hours a day at it, ie. you have reached the level of a working professional and have lots of file cabinets that you actually do use and books that you actually do refer to). But if you're a beginner or even if you have been writing for years, the "accoutrements" of writing can be minimal. Really minimal. Starkly so.