On Tuesday night, I attended my writing workshop at the Frederick Douglass Arts Center (FDCAC), which I learned has been open for forty years. Holy cow – forty years? Really? It really is the city’s best kept secret but I digress.
We had two new additions to our group (originally five including the instructor) bringing our class to seven people. An intimate class with people really interested in the craft of writing.
Our discussion revolved around the two stories we read for class as homework: “Water Child” by Edwidge Danticat and an excerpt from Love Medicine by Louise Erdrich. I particularly enjoyed the discussion because it went beyond what worked and didn’t (like in a workshop) but rather focused on the devices, phrases, and words these writers used to illustrate the mood, emotion, significance, and tone in each piece. These are the kinds of things not ever discussed in writing workshops – the ones I’ve attended focused on peer work and there is an assumption that the people recognize what makes fiction work.
As I listened and contributed to the discussion, my stomach was fuzzy inside with pride; these would be the kind of discussions I’ll be having in my MFA program! I am overjoyed with the anticipation of being accepted into a program. Even if I don’t, I would be more than happy to take cycle after cycle after cycle of any class at the FDCAC. The energy in the room was supportive, creative, and most importantly, positive with absolutely no trace of ego.
You know how you learn something new everyday? Today, I learned (and will write somewhere in capped letters for me to remember) that “Every word has weight” in a piece of fiction. I’ve been approaching my writing the wrong way all along. I’ve been too caught up in story, trying to be clever, and the end result while ignoring the reason I want to write; I want to connect my experience with the world. And I have to be honest and truthful with how I convey my message in a way that’s meaningful without trying too hard (because it shows).
What a wonderful session that was. My writing class is definitely the highlight of my week. Looking forward to next week! 🙂
Please tell people about FDCAC! So worth it!