Last week, I had my first class meeting for Intermediate – Advanced Creative Writing through The Writers Garret. I’m very excited about this class, which includes some friends from the class I took last fall as well as a few people I’ve never worked with before. I already love the class.
Anyway, in addition to studying language, voice, and form, completing writing exercises, and creating a student chapbook, we will also:
keep a journal in which they will synopsize, comment on, and otherwise record their reading experience of both one (1) work of literature in any genre, provided that work has been published within the last 10 years (or since 2000) OR one (1) current issue of a literary magazine OR one (1) anthology of contemporary / “new” writing AND one (1) work of literary theory, criticism or “craft.” These journals will be made available to (i.e., shared in class) all members of the class and will form the basis of the in-class discussion that will occur in the second week of each unit, and entries for a given week should be made in consideration of the broader topic under discussion (language, voice, or form.)
So, we’re going to keep a journal about our experiences with two works, specifically from a writer’s perspective, while focusing on the three main topics of our class. I’m going to be doing the journaling here, because this is already my spot for writing about writing (among other things).
I haven’t chosen my critical work yet, though I have narrowed it down to just a few options. I did chose this as my book/journal/anthology:
The Top 7 Reasons I Chose This is PUSH: New Stories from the Edge:
- I already own it. What can I say? I’m cheap, and I have a library with a ton of books I’ve purchased but never read.
- Markus Zusak is in it. Have you read Markus Zusak’s The Book Thief? I thought it was absolutely brilliant.
- David Levithan is the editor. I’ve read a couple of Levithan’s books, but until I bought this, I didn’t know he was also the editor at PUSH, an edgy Scholastic imprint. The teenage gay boy in me (yeah, he’s in there) really loves David Levithan’s Boy Meets Boy, and come on, this is the guy who co-wrote Nick and Norah’s Infinite Playlist.
- There are multiple genres within the anthology. When I was standing in front of my bookshelf, trying to decide between this and a couple of last contenders, I flipped through the pages and saw poetry! And then I saw a short play! And… what exactly is that Markus Zusak piece anyway?! Some of the works are short enough to be flash fiction, and I took a class on that last fall and fell in love with it. And the rest are probably classified as short stories, something I’m working on already. Our erstwhile Lead Instructor, Joe Milazzo, wants us to stretch ourselves genre-wise a bit, and I love that I’ll be able to experience multiple genres here.
- I can skip around. I was daunted by the idea of reading a really long memoir or novel that would require me to read from start to finish, and This Is PUSH will allow me to skip around. If I want to read the last story during the section on language, I can.
- I haven’t read most of these authors. I’m hoping to discover some new favorites.
- It’s Young Adult without being… Young Adult. This isn’t going to be fairies, werewolves, and vampires. I checked.
So, ta-da! Welcome to my first choice. I’m going to crack it open tonight (sorry, Snow Flower and the Secret Fan, you’ll just have to wait), and I’ll read with an eye for language. And tomorrow I’ll chose my critical work and announce it here. I’m sure you’ll be on the edge of your seat, breathless with anticipation.