14 May 2005

Lack of Training

I struggle to work with the novel form. The writing program I attend at Southern Oregon University emphasizes expository nonfiction, poetry, and short fiction. I have no formal training in how to approach a lengthier story, how to create a story that keeps moving without resorting to those traditional "novel" techniques of stretching out description. It goes against my academic training. At least, my friend Robert Casserly helped me reconceptualize the novella I'm writing for my senior capstone project, more details to follow...

As for academic training, I have another pressing piece to write: "Academic Asbestos." I coined this phrase as soon as I started to take creative writing classes. I entered the university with one intent: improve my writing. I chose to save my creative courses for the end, so I could graduate with the proper mindset. The downfall came after working in the academic essay form for too long. When I went to write creatively, I kept showing the iceberg under the water. Essays demand clarity and detail not found in fiction or poetry. Essays demand strict thought processes, demand focus. All these factors, although beneficial, eat at creativity the way asbestos eats at the lungs--you can't breathe freely after awhile.

I need to get cracking, need to write lots more everyday. Even a continuation of a letter to my cabin-dwelling, river-watching, crusty Mom in Anchor Point, AK, drops back on my list of priorities. A simple, sit-down-and-write-it-don't-worry-about-grammar-or-clear-flow letter taunts me.

How do I deal with all these matters? I go to my dining room and grab a clump of clay to make a little corked pot for my offsprings' and my siblings' offsprings' baby teeth. At least I'm staying creative.


Robert Casserly said...

For me, reading helps re-spark creatvity to write. I find a book I love but have not read in a long time, re-read it, and am usually thus inspired to write.


VickiB said...

Geez, Kyle... you said it! I find that even my creative writing sometimes takes on an academic tone that is stuffy and remote. Writing poetry helps, I think