Another prompt from The Daily Post: Open your nearest book to page 82. Take the third full sentence on the page, and work it into a post somehow. I suspected a hard one as I am reading ‘The Cambridge Companion to Creative Writing’, doing research for my graduation article. We’ll see…
I had been teaching creative writing for quite a while, mainly workshops and short courses, mostly to young people. One day I found myself standing before a particularly challenging class. Fifteen boys sized me up and said: “Writing? Seriously?” They sat back, folded their arms and waited, their body language screaming “no way”. The girls — an ominous thirteen of them — looked up, too. “You’re not Carrie Slee,” was all they said. Disdain dripped off their words. Carrie is the Dutch Ellen Hopkins, a tremendously popular writer of edgy YA. Their words were like trip wire, landing me flat on my face and blowing the workshop to shreds. I pledged myself to never let that happen again. I would go back to school and add a nifty set of didactic tools to my teaching and writing toolbox. Next time, I would detect and step over the wire like James Bond himself.
These past three semesters I spent my time learning and teaching, designing writing exercises and classes, developing creative writing courses. Arduous but eye-opening times. I not only gathered a wealth of didactic tricks and tips, I also broadened my writing skills, schooling myself in poetry and flash fiction. And now, writing my graduation article, I am “Binding it all together: a study in process”.
There you have it, page 82, the third full sentence of The Cambridge Companion to Creative Writing in Bronwyn Lea’s entry ‘Poetics and poetry’.
Check it out if you like to know more about teaching creative writing. My favorite is the contribution: ‘Does that make sense? Approaches to the creative writing workshop’ by writer, teacher and comedian A.L. Kennedy.