Monday, July 23, 2012

Day One, Nonfiction Writing at UMaine

QuickWrites on...

"What makes writing hard for you?"  

"What makes writing easy for you?"

What makes writing hard (blue)/easy (red) for you?  
This is where we began... and didn't the conversations flow.

Next, we wrote letters to someone we have been meaning to write to. Some of us chose to avoid issues; we danced around the deeper conversation. As a result, we felt a wide range of emotions. Lesson learned: writing is powerful stuff.  

Maja Wilson helped us think about voice and audience by sharing letters she and her editor Gloria traded back and forth at the beginning stages of her book Rethinking Rubrics. What a thoughtful teacher-scholar. Weren't we lucky to have Maja as a guest.   

We read George Ella Lyon's poem "Where I'm from" and then trucked off for lunch and precious writing time to begin composing our own poems. A bit of workshopping, a discussion... and how about the reading of those poems. I admired the diversity, your voices (!), and your willingness to share. 
What do we need from our editors in a conference? 

At the end of the day, we penned our thoughts on 4x6" cards. Here's a synthesis of lines taken from that writing: 

What we said….

First off, the day went by relatively fast & I thank you for that.

I was rather anxious when we began class—I struggle with confidence as a writer.

I’m glad you freed us up to write what we want instead of what we feel we “should” do.

No worries— “Fired up and ready to go”

Maja’s discussions are always on point.

Considering how nervous I was to begin my first graduate class, this day has done wonders to allay my fears. 

Nonfiction writing is out of my comfort zone, so it is a nice change for me.

Conversations around voice & audience this morning were key to thinking about how to set up my writing.

Maja is engaging and intelligent, and she gave me some great things to think about in terms of my own writing life.

I’m strictly writing out of my head to start, so I can focus on what I know first.

I thought, “Oh, no! This is going to be a looonnng week” But as the day progressed I realized writing isn’t so bad and I’m looking forward to writing and conferencing with others throughout the week. 

I have always set my mind on the purpose of my writing but not to the voice.

“Here is what I think happened: Daddy was a prick—but we loved him.”

I like the freedom . . .  freedom of choice – freedom of format – freedom from reading – freedom from teaching and Englishy type things.

The whole nonfiction thing is still scaring the hell out of me so just so you know I’m trying.

My idea is a feature article on running/fitness at middle age. 

Here's to tomorrow's adventure! 

Just write. 


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