Today we started with Deryl’s handout on humor and a video clip on David Sedaris reading on Letterman’s snow.

The basic techniques in Deryl’s handout were:
Irony
Juxtaposition
Exaggeration
Understatement
Action
Word play and puns
Ignorance
Tweaking cliches
Misunderstandings
Satire and Parody
Truth
Visuals
Awkward situation
Strange settings
Absurdity.

He had us try to write a humorous piece in the 10 minutes or so we had left. I think he was the one who handed out “Waltzing the Cat” by Pam Houston, which we were to read for tomorrow.

Rob discussed the writer’s view of himself and gave us two handouts: “Borges and I” by Gorge Luis Borges and “Updike and I” by John Updyke. He also read us “Rob and I” from his own writing. Home Play? Here’s the handout.

Rob Davidson  FSAF Summer 2012

 Authorial Self-Reflection

As we have seen with Borges and Updike, writers have been known to use themselves—or their public personae—as material for literature.  Indeed, the idea of “textualizing” the author and/or the creative process presents a writer with a unique set of possibilities.  By textualizing the creative process and turning the lens of creative writing onto itself, we are invited to reconsider: how readers negotiate a creative text; the construction of authorship; and the reflexive nature of all creative expression. (And so much more!)

IN-CLASS ASSIGNMENT: Write a 1-2 page character sketch in which you examine yourself as a creative writer, confront some issue of substance related to creative writing, and/or textualize the creative process.  Some questions to help get you started:

  • Who is it that sits down to write?
  • Why does that person write? (Be honest.)
  • What style or manner of writing does that person create? Why?
  • Does that person have any goals as a writer? Does she want to save the world? Destroy it? Or does she just want to create pretty objects to decorate book shelves? Perhaps none of the above?
  • Has your writing ever offended anyone? Pleased anyone? If so, how did that make you feel?
  • And so on…

Jeanne had us discuss “Snowy River Visions, by Paula Bohince in pairs, each pair coming up with ten things about the poem, which we were to organize as “How to write a Paula Bohince poem,” and email the list to her: bellestargang at gmail dot com. She also handed out “Thirteen ways of looking at a Blackbird”.” Jeanne, you didn’t put the author on that one.

Accordion PlayersThe noon Lunch Bites included a large group of accordion players playing together, some with button boxes and some with keyboards, which is apparently rather unusual. As I understand it, the button boxes are designed like a harmonca: they give different notes depending on whether the bellows are being compressed or expanded. Something new I learned at Festival!

It was also a day for readings. Rob read “Walter: Six Meditations” which combined six short pieces with slides, at lunch bites. Later, in the afternoon session of creative writing, all three of our instructors read from their own writing. Makes me nervous about reading from my own work at lunch bites tomorrow!

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