Saturday, March 31, 2007

In A Nutshell

In a Nutshell

A place set aside to answer 201 autobiographical questions from a mother for her daughter. This may take awhile...join us if you like.

53. One of my favorite kinds of homework was:

Writing stories or poems. I loved it. From early on, through the creative writing class I took in college, writing fiction was heaven. I got a typewriter when I was 12 and wrote all the time. In those days, the stories that I wrote were mostly suggested by books and stories I was reading. The author wouldn't explore something as thoroughly as I wanted, so I would sit down and do it myself. It made a lot of my early work derivative, but then the point was not to be original as much as to learn the craft. Kind of like apprentice painters learning to paint in their master's style, I was exploring styles and figuring out that dialog didn't read well when it either copied daily speech too well or not well enough. Learning the "three act" model of introduce cast, introduce problem, solve problem was a job in itself. Interestingly, in all of the folk literature, ancient classics, modern translations, etc. that I've read, that three act pattern is standard. I think it may be the way our brains function when they think about events and when they learn from stories.

I love telling stories. I am renowned for it. In my parenting classes, I used stories as the link that would allow the students to understand the theory. I think that if I had to give up telling stories, I'd be in big trouble.