Saturday, June 24, 2006

genre bending

"What is it about this work I like so much? The confusion between field report and self-portrait; the confusion between fiction and nonfiction; the author-narrators' use of themselves, as personae, as representatives of feeling-states; the anti-linear, semi-grab-bag nature of their narratives; the absolute seriousness, phrased as comedy; the violent torque of their beautifully idiosyncratic voices."

If this sounds interesting to you,
read on….

The focus of my week down here has been to explore form, language and intent with regard to my project: Unkiss Me and Return Me to The Dwarfs. More on that later, but what I’m itching to get at is the newly rendered excitement spewing out of me after this weeklong refresher course in artistic integrity, passion and language.

My friend and colleague, Monica Drake (whose book "Clowngirl" is being published by Hawthorne Books in 2007) and I developed a workshop called "Fueled by Distraction," the intent of which is to show writers how to reach into the kernel of their everyday lives for inspiration that can be translated into satisfying art. In this workshop, we give examples of how to transition from the normative, to the particular. From monkey mind to zone. From being derailed by one's life to being inspired by the minutiae.

I need to revisit the exercises therein, for I'm about to leave my solipsistic retreat, and plunge back into fray. I’m due to get on a plane in a few hours, but I’m treasuring every second left of my “writing retreat.” While here, I’ve managed to refine about 85 pages, and completely rewrite an additional 50. Obviously, I won't be able to keep up that pace once home, but something has to give. I'll either have to get up earlier or, as I've counseled others, mine my distractions for their fuel.


  1. Anonymous8:21 PM

    Gah -- I've only read one book by David Shields, but I f-ing HATED it. So very, very much. Sorry.

  2. Tell us what you hated about it, Jennifer! That's exactly the sort of conversation I'm hoping to spur. I know that folks tend to have some very strong feelings/opinions on Shields' writing, his stance, his assumptions. I'd love to know the nature of your discontent!


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