Words from other writers...

This picture is from the famous bookstore in Paris where a lot of great writers works are kept. The place was packed to the rafters with books from all over the world and the store was crammed with people studying them.

As I have stated before, I am a big fan of studying and workshopping. I think it is important no matter how well established you are in your field to keep learning, to keep finding new ways of seeing the work, to expose oneself to fresh ideas and for me personally to be accountable to this new community that I have committed myself to for the length of the course.

This week marks the end of a course I have been taking at UCLA with Robert Eversz. Robert is a fantastic teacher and the author of the NINA ZERO series. He has an amazing eye, gives excellent specific notes, identifies problems and helps one find the answers. He is a demanding teacher and twice during this course I had to hand in 30 page submissions. There were lectures to read and articles to discuss and everybody was so interesting and motivated and I saw peoples works grow leaps and bounds during this course. I myself made many changes to my work, solved a lot of problems I was having and am fairly confident that I have enough in my story to see me through the next 200 pages. Fairly confident. I have a long way to go still.

But one of the best things that I got from this course and every course that I have taken at UCLA is the insight into how other writers write. Still defining my own methods of writing and on more days than I care to admit, defending them to myself, it is wonderful to learn how someone else goes about extracting thoughts from their brain and putting them on the page.

This week we read an article about writing from the writer Walter Mosley. He describes the ideas that come to writers like smoke, wisps of ideas, or words, or images that float around into the ether that we try to harness and grab and form and get on the page, nebulous and fleeting. I absolutely agree. I often say that writing to me is like pulling cotton balls from my brain and trying to untangle them into thread that I can then organize and unspool and weave into something tangible. Walter Mosley believes that the only way to achieve this is to write everyday, no matter how long, or how many words, it is the daily practice that keeps that smoke swirling that cotton twirling and the only way catch the muse. And I believe him.

UCLA will be starting their summer session soon. Check out UCLA extension.com for incredible classes. Who knows, maybe I'll see you on line, and learn how you write!


nathalie said...

How amazing to see this shop on your blog...I used to go there most Sundays with my family when we lived in Paris and have gone back many times since. Some of my favorite books of all time were purchased there!

Gina Sorell said...

That's fantastic!! I loved this store, and I loved Paris. How fabulous that this was your Sunday stop. Heavenly. xo

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