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Wednesday Morning Blah

Blogging has been light this week, and it'll continue to be so, since tomorrow I'm running a two day workshop. Privately, I call it the Teenagers Want to Fuck Workshop, since inevitably, I spend the two days watching fifteen and sixteen year olds try to pick each other up so they can fuck each other stupid.

I got an assistant, again, this year, despite the fact that I've stopped asking for one. They're nice enough, these assistants I get, but with the exception of one--the Beautiful Assistant, years ago--they're all some kind of useless. It's mostly my fault, I guess. I don't design the course so that there's something for an assistant to do, and since none of them ever have the faintest idea what I'm going on about, I usually just end up with an extra student in the workshop. Officially, assistants are just suppose to fuck off with the students during breaks so I can get liquored and stoned to continue teaching in the afternoon, but that's not exactly difficult. I can watch kids while drinking. Maybe I'm just a control freak. Or maybe I just don't drink enough coffee and need enough things photocopied to warrant an assistant.

Still, should this assistant not insist that one girl eat a sandwich when she is ill, which she'll puke up hours later, I'll be happy.

The assistant had left, fifteen minutes before she puked, I might add.

There was vomit everywhere.

Poor girl.

Anyhow, this time, I am running my experimental fiction workshop, and I think I'm going to actually replace one part of the shop with a part using tarot cards and Italo Calvino's The Castle of Crossed Destinies. I'm still working out the finer details of it, but I'll see how it goes. I'm talking out aloud, basically. The aim of the workshop is simply to present a variety of ways that you can write, and some of them, like the body art part, are not something that you can do for publication, but I tend to find that workshops get too caught up in that idea. Publication is nice, don't get me wrong, but there's a fuck load of ways to write and create that no publication is going to be able to print, ever. It's good to be able to indulge in that every now and then, I find, and I like throwing away the traditional narratives that are shown in the majority of fiction these days--there's a joy in watching sixteen people take work and completely fuck round and make a mess of it, and themselves, in the process.

In other teaching related news, I fired a kid last week when he wrote three pages of emo bullshit, designed entirely to piss me off. I looked at it, said, "That's nice, man. Very therapeutic for you."

Then I left.

Living the dream, y'know?

Comments

elenuial
Jul. 11th, 2007 07:01 am (UTC)
Privately, I call it the Teenagers Want to Fuck Workshop, since inevitably, I spend the two days watching fifteen and sixteen year olds try to pick each other up so they can fuck each other stupid.

This may or may not be a semi-accurate description of part of my summer job. I cannot confirm or deny any allegations thereof, so as not to endanger my job status.

The aim of the workshop is simply to present a variety of ways that you can write, and some of them, like the body art part, are not something that you can do for publication,

I'm really interested in doing this sort of thing here. I actually suggested the body-writing thing as an activity, but they didn't go for it. Too weird for them, I guess.

I've found, though, that nobody really teaches how to write. Just, if they're intelligent, they point out all the stupid mistakes you make and then give you ideas on how not to make them. Then you make them again and again until you replace them with new stupid mistakes.
benpeek
Jul. 11th, 2007 07:50 am (UTC)
you don't suggest activities to students, you tell them. but you have to work up to body art. it's a second day activity for me.

i can teach people how to write--in fact, i do, frequently, because there are a lot of easy techniques to do so. but in these two days? they'll just be exposed to new shit. that's what it's about.
elenuial
Jul. 11th, 2007 01:58 pm (UTC)
By "them" I meant the administration. The powers-that-be didn't think it'd be too interesting. The kids have to follow the lesson plan, more or less.

So, where did you learn to teach to write? Because it's always been rather sink-or-swim for me, and I've always found it natural to correct mistakes and then throw out some Strunk & White with the caveat that you must grow past it at some point. The art of actually teaching everyone to write well with their own individual style is something I haven't figured out yet.
benpeek
Jul. 11th, 2007 09:15 pm (UTC)
there's not much of a thing to teaching people how to write. it's mostly about having a lot of different styles to be able to show, and then showing people how to construct a scene. how a description works. a consistant characterisation. a climax. then letting them try. then talking about what worked, what didn't. then talking about styles and different authors. then doing it again. it's the same way that you teach someone anything, really. music. swimming. hoola hoop. it's all good.

of course, in my theory of teaching, i'm just a facilitator, and i don't actually make someone an author. i just help them along the road. a person style and vision? that's for them to find. i exist only to give hints, clear up confusion, support, and send you back out there to try again. all the hard work is done by the individual.

easy, hey?