|How about this?|
For the next six weeks I am taking a Veterans Writing Project writing class focusing on Memoir and Creative Narrative.
The Class is an extension of the work of the VWP Seminar I attended recently. It is a very varied group of nine which makes it all the more interesting. I can't say I don't mind being the oldest in the class - but am coming to terms with it. It is what it is.
We met last week for an introduction to the class and each other and to set the rules and schedules for the remaining classes. Personally I like this kind of structure. Oh, did I mention homework assignments. We have those too.
The first homework assignment is reading a 1970s New York Magazine article by author Tom Wolfe. In it he describes his view of the evolution of a new form of journalism - creative narrative. Wolfe started out in NYC as a journalist in the 1950s. He entered that world filled with ambition and dreams and he was surrounded by many of the "names" of the day who would achieve their dreams of writing "the novel". Through their work they developed a new style of writing for journalists - a style that changed the way reporters often write and that also impacted on the sacred forms of novel-writing.
I see it as the form we are accustomed to today - reporting as story. The presence of the reporter in the the articles as more that just the narrator voice.
I have read and enjoyed the work of Tom Wolfe for years and I particularly remember the surprises in reading Truman Capote's "In Cold Blood" - a novel written in the creative narrative style - published in 1966. In the 48 years since then the style has become a familiar norm.
Last night I was reading a 1995 work, Peterson's "The Hot Zone", which details an earlier Ebola epidemic and reads like a can't-put-it-down-spy-thriller. Non-fiction written as fiction - i.e. creative narrative. The person who recommended the book told me, "this will scare the shit out of you." That's right on target - but more than that - it demonstrates this week's homework for my class.
Creative narrative is so familiar to readers today that I was unaware it is the form I use to develop and tell my stories - especially the personal stories I think of as oral memoir.
So the class is not only leading me to write new pieces it is prompting me to review and revise oral stories and put those words on paper. To help that along I am trying a few new ways of approaching both my writing, my storytelling - - and my blog writing.
This morning I woke up warm and cozy as I cuddled up next to pillows covered in the colorful quilted shams Jim and I used when Jim was in the bed with me. The pillow nesting is my solution for combatting the loneliness of waking up in an empty bed.
My iPhone alarm began blaring the notes of "by the sea" at 6 a.m. When I bought my new iPhone 5s recently I changed the alarm sound from the lively beats of a "marimba" to the first bars of a tune that sounds like a dated British movie. Hearing it reminds me of waking up to the Arvin clock-radio Jim and I had when were first married another life-time ago. News or music opened every day before the irritating buzzer took over shattering sleep and forcing us out of bed
This morning I snuggled deeper under the covers and didn't actually get up until 7:45. I know the time because before moving an inch I looked at Jim's watch that I wear on my left forearm. At first light every morning it reminds me he is not here.
When I swung my legs over the side of my tall Texas farm bed I thought " We have milk. I can have cereal for breakfast." I don' t usually get up thinking about what's in the refrigerator but we ran out of milk a few days ago and it was still on my mind.
I prefer easy breakfasts out of a cereal box rather than cooking eggs or toasting an English muffin. My daughter Karen bought some milk last evening on her way home from a round of necessary errands. You understand, we had money to buy milk when it ran out - we just did not have a reason or the urge to go out on rainy days to buy some.
The weather changed yesterday afternoon and the sun came back.
Have you ever noticed it is easier to do without something by choice than it is to do without it when your pockets are empty and you have to.