One of my favorite blogs to read is Meg Waite Clayton’s 1st Books: Stories of How Writers Get Started. Meg, the author of the national bestseller The Wednesday Sisters, often has guests write a column about how they do what they do, the ups and downs and the trials and tribulations of writing, selling, publishing and promoting their books and all other matters related to writing.
Today’s post was by Catherine Brady the author of three short story collections including Curled in the Bed of Love the winner of the 2002 Flannery O’Connor Award for Short Fiction. Brady has authored a new book called Story Logic and the Craft of Fiction.
Reading Brady’s post about her process in teaching creative writing to graduate students and what brought her to publishing the latest book, I am filled with regret.
Posts like these make me sorry I gave up on myself and never finished college. I have lots of starts in college, actually very close to having an Associate Degree but have never just knuckled down and gotten it or any degree. Brady’s class actually sounds like fun to me, I mean if you can have fun diagramming sentences.
It has been a very, make that a very very long time since I diagrammed a sentence. Remember, I’m old. I’m not sure I could even do it anymore. These days I write on gut instinct. When someone else, smarter than me, reads my work they will sometimes find some errors but overall I don’t completely butcher the English language, except for those times that I completely butcher the English language.
When hearing about authors that are successful, not just commercially successful, but those that write well, that are considered talented writers, they often talk about learning the craft of writing. I know it is a good thing.
I’m all for learning; think we should keep doing it for as long as we’re able. However, here I reach a conundrum (I’ve always wanted to use that word in a post somewhere).
- A riddle in which a fanciful question is answered by a pun.
- A paradoxical, insoluble, or difficult problem; a dilemma
My dilemma? Do I concentrate on going back to school to learn the craft of writing, to re-learn how to diagram a sentence and understand more clearly the rules of English? Is it essential to writing well? Or, should I instead concentrate on what I have started and just continue to write.
Remember, I told you, I’m old. Good lord I could be 100 years old by the time I finish school, if my past record is any indication. By then I may be too old or feeble-minded to write anything at all, much less beautiful prose.
I love the idea of going back to school, making up for the idiocy of my youth and actually trying to learn something. I certainly have the time, but I am not rich and education is not cheap. But, I wonder, will it take away my determination to write fiction, to finish the memoir as I become once more overwhelmed by homework, studying, and reading. If I decide to go back, I don’t want to do so half-way. I want to give it my all. The same I want to give to my writing now.
Is it just the idea of school that I like or could I possibly do both, school and write?
My rant for today: It is mildly annoying to me that I have to wait another 4+ months before Meg’s next book, The Four Ms. Bradwells is released. I hate waiting even though I already think the wait will be worth it.