Sunday, July 24, 2005

"The Lie That Tells a Truth"

I finished Dufresne this afternoon, well behind some of you. He is a good fit for our class; several of the very specific things I planned long ago might well have been inspired by the book!

At the close, he makes the interesting statement that "I passionately believe in what I'm saying, but I'm wrong about it all."

Did you find that particular ideas, sentences, or exercises were striking or useful? I've received several email notes about the book from seminar members, and a number of people have posted comments already, so I know that it has been well received so far.

Perhaps you liked the book but did not always agree with the author. Dufresne invites you "to disagree with me. Send me a letter and straighten me out." Here's your chance!

Add a comment about what elements you especially liked; add one about what you didn't like...



Anonymous Vanessa Thomas said...

I am still reading but ...thus far, I love the ideas about the Writer's Notebook and feel I've been much more successful with observing things and writing those things down. i've written at the farmer's market, the coffee shop and about the neighborhood basketball game that takes place each Sunday. I'm sure I'll have more details later.

9:00 PM  
Anonymous marly said...

The farmer's market... that's an evocative place, all right. I've used somebody from ours as a minor figure in a novella: a Welsh man who makes and sells powdered Maids of Honour and Tenby Tarts and other pastries.

It's wonderful that the book has made a practical difference to how you collect your material and write.

9:08 PM  
Anonymous Donna said...

I liked the excercises and the ideas for the writers notebook like Vanessa. I have found these to be very helpful as well.

I also like what Dufrense has to say about revising. One of the things that I have to teach my kids at school is that it is OKAY to revise. I don't know whether it is our fast food/fast society that expects everything to be right now, or the fact that most people don't know what goes into the publishing of anything that kids think that what they write the first time should be finished. I like Dufresense's ideas on this subject. I also like that no one has to see it until YOU are ready for someone else to see it.

I disagree with Dufrense in that I feel that Sporadiac Writing fits the way most females end up writing. Dufrense made me feel entirely guilty about not writing every day. I felt like unless you write every day he thinks you are not a "real" writer.

I have a theory that this is a difference between male and female writers. My son and I had a long discussion on this. Males tend to see the work they do as "work" and will do it every day no matter what. They do not mulit-task as well and tend to think in at least chunks of time. For example, " I will write for 2 hours, or 4, and then I will answer e-mails, mail, take the kids to the pool etc. Then I will write 2 more hours. Then I will do other tasks and later write 2 more hours." They tend not to let outside tasks interfer with writing/work time. My son says he believes this is because males do not tend to multitask like females.

Females on the other hand get up to write/work, family calls they deal with that, come back to writing, family wakes up-they do breakfast, back to writing, etc. Multitasking. Or life comes first if you prefer.

I think that the fact Dufrense could write about one only being a writer if they write every day is a fact of his maleness. Not a bad thing, just a male/female difference. So I had to get over the way he made me feel I should give up writing if I could not actively find time to write every day.

Having said that I find that I can squeeze in 5 min. here and there each day. I can usually end up with at least 30 min that way. I just can't sit in a quiet room, gather my supplies and write every day for a few hours, especially when I am teaching as well. Perhaps if I could quit my day job...

9:28 PM  
Anonymous marly said...

Donna, that might just start an argument, except that we only have one guy, I believe! I'll be interested to see what other people say in response...

I don't have a salaried "day job" any more, but I still find that the entire day is sometimes allocated to others. And I simply can't get in a twist about the fact that, for example, I didn't get home until 11:00 p.m. because several of my children take karate out of town, etc.

However, I do a huge amount of "double" work. While I'm doing a repetitive job, I'll also be dreaming up stories.

I'm going to have a post from Ingrid Hill soon, and she's the mother of 12 children! (I already have it in my mailbox, and I'm just waiting for a jacket image. The pictures I've been downloading from bookseller sites are a bit small.) That one will be up in a day or so.

11:33 PM  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

I found his book to be an easy read. It has helped me to be focused when it comes to my writing.

I love the idea of a writer's notebook and take it where ever I never know when good ideas will pop up.


5:45 PM  
Anonymous marly said...

Keep up the Dufresne comments--he has read them!

And keep up those notebooks, Alphie and Vanessa and everybody else who finds them useful. They'll be a help, very soon--

1:43 PM  

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