La Pintoresca Library, April 17, 2010

Esther Bradley-DeTally –

(“Everyone has talent.  What is rare is the courage to follow that talent to the dark place where it leads.”  Erica Jong

Finding your voice isn’t looking at the dust balls under the bed to see if you coughed up anything in the dark.  Finding your voice is suiting up and showing up to write about the here and now and to meet other people who have written, not written, or may write.  You will increase your breadth and depth of what you know about yourself, i.e., give written form to the line drawings of life.  Do we know the maps of our hearts?  The Courage to Write offers a way to strip the layers of social niceties, to dig deeply and find the authentic within.

There is no “constructive criticism” within the class, but rather a listening and honoring of each person’s contribution.  For the beginning, we will write in first person, the “I” and it’s a write like you talk.  Are you doomed to write that way the rest of your life?  No.  But this is home base or home on the computer for the writ.  Journaling in the here and now brings forth new vistas!  I will refer to books about writing and teachers of writing whenever possible.  I won’t hesitate to recommend people and books.

WHADDA WE GOING TO DO:  We are going to go through a process, which will take you through various modes of writing.  When I took Teach Writing the Natural Way at Irvine, we learned to mix details, descriptions, dialogue, and academic writing.  Writing is very much like mixing a soup.

People, places I highly admire who have taught me are: Jack Grapes:  the Pied Piper of bringing out the voice, whose workshops are in Los Angeles.  Natalie Goldberg, Writing Down the Bones, the writing process book you need for the desert island experience; UCLA Writing Extension Courses; Deena Metzger, Writing for Your Life, and a gazillion more.  Any writing teacher’s task (and joy) is to take the writer as far as he/she can go. “This is supposed to be fun,” my UCLA writing instructor, who looked like a maple syrup ad, told a group of us clenched-teeth, stomach-burning students one night.  And you know, it is; so relax and let’s enjoy.

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