Tuesday night I attended the last class in the summer cycle of my writing workshop. One person was not present for critiquing (which makes me wonder, real time conflict or resistance to listening to criticism? But I digress) and the other person was.
I must say I have never delved so much into another person’s work as deeply as I have in this workshop at FDCAC. What sets my instructor, Laura Pegram, apart from the other instructors I’ve had is her devotion and compassion for illustrating what sets mediocre stories apart from exceptionally written stories by respected authors in the writing world.
I read authors like Edward P. Jones, Louise Erdrich, and Edwidge Danticat – all authors I’ve never heard of until this workshop. The introduction to different authors and styles aided my voyage to finding my voice on the page. I was exposed to the heavyweights in most of my classes like Mary Gaitskill, Margaret Atwood, John Cheever, Junot Diaz, ZZ Packer, and so on; this workshop exposed me to more authors of color that are probably well-known in literary circles but not familiar to me.
Apart from a fantastic instructor, my classmates provided very helpful and supportive feedback that I will use during my revision process. They were present in class, constructive comments, and most importantly, contributed useful suggestions when revising my story. Not just suggestions like, “If I would have written this, I would have included this…” but more on the lines of, “Perhaps a scene illustrating why she was feeling like this in the first place would make the end result clearer to the reader.”
I wish every writing workshop was like this and every instructor was like Laura! I cannot wait to take another workshop next month. FDCAC is what’s up! Gotham, take notes.