Today was the kick-off of the Decatur Book Festival and in spite of having to go into the office today when I hadn’t planned to, I stuck to my guns, put work on the back burner and actually went to the writing workshop on Sex and Violence. It was quite a treat, and, no, there were no actual demonstrations of sex or violence. The speaker was an author named David Fulmer. I recently read a review of his latest book, The Blue Door, but I have not read any of his books. (After today, I intend to.) I picked the workshop because of the topic.
The workshop was at Agnes Scott College. You would think that being back on a college campus would bring up warm, fuzzy feelings of nostalgia, but today I felt old. I consider myself a very youthful 39 year-old (give or take a year or two), but today I felt a little out of place. Maybe it was having to squint to find the building names or maybe it was they way the helpful perky co-ed addressed me as ma’am. Once I stumbled onto where I was supposed to be, I felt more at home. The workshop was composed of an eclectic group of women (and one brave man) with a shared interest. David addressed the same issue that I spoke of in my Wednesday post. He talked about the necessity of getting over the embarrassment of writing about sex. He then proceeded to tell us what to do, by giving examples of what not to do. (See, the Bad Sex Award – WARNING ADULT CONTENT).
I am of the belief that writing is a craft, like singing, that can’t really be taught. Good writing comes from experience. Writing, rewriting and then rewriting some more. David summed it up best when he said that writing IS rewriting. A bad writer can sometimes, with a lot of hard work and good direction from more experienced writers, become good and a good writer can become great. But rare is the time (probably closer to never), does the bad writer become great. I think workshops help the young writer (in experience not age) focus and learn more about what not to do, than what to do. Knowing what to do and what works is the real gift. So today was an eye-opener in that I realized that I need to become more of a part of the writing community. Writing itself may be solitary, sharing it is not. While I enjoy blogging and sharing with the virtual world, sharing with the real one, I think will be good too.