Thursday, September 27, 2007

Workshop 3 - Rod Jones

By the way, so I'm doing this Advanced Workshop week as part of my masters, which is why I'm blogging about these things every day. This morning's session is with editor Jenny Lee, but I'm skipping it, partly because I already be an editor and know everything there possibly is to know about it (ha) and partly because Martin did some nancy trick with his ankle and is now weak and interesting and I need to make his weetbix for him (he will be cross with me for writing this but I am cross with his ankle for being a rolled one so we are equal). Did I every mention I am not a very good nurse?

Anyway, yesterday's workshop was with Rod Jones (here is his kindly but slightly crappily written Wikipedia entry). He's the author of lotsa books, including Night Pictures, Billy Sunday and Swan Bay. No writing exercises, but lots of interesting discussion about character, voice and -ahem - possible (yet of course utterly legitimate) uses of literary grants. Nuff said. He was extremely open and generous in talking about the relationship between life and fiction, revealing quite personal details about his life in order to talk about the (sometimes ambiguous) boundaries between 'life work' and writing.

Here are some of the things I wrote down while he was talking:
We write out of the part of ourselves we don't know
Write a page a day
Reflections. Ego. Self-consciousness - this rock doesn't need to write a novel
Writing is a business to do with the emotions
Writer's block is a form of depression
Writing as secret love affair, illicit, sexiness
'I wrote once upon a time and it felt like the universe was giving me a nudge.' (Lawrence Durrell, The Alexandra Quartet

Some of this stuff really touches on my feelings about writing as my 'job'. It's become a legitimate - rather than risky or illicit or naughty 'stolen moments' - activity. I've lost some of the love affair with words, and instead I keep getting distracted by the business of them.
There was an actual rock present, very engaged in not writing a novel.


  1. Anonymous3:26 PM

    hey penni,
    yes! writers block is form of depression - i always try to deny it though of course the best thing is to 'shut down' and go do something frivolous... and ditto on the legit = less exciting... life is full of these little ironies ... I am reading undine at the moment, getting nicely transported thank you!

  2. Anonymous6:13 PM

    My rolled ankle and crutches make me windswept and interesting dammit.


  3. I also read somewhere else that writer's block is there to make us find a new path. Which I guess could also be a definition of depression.

  4. (yeah whadevayareckon, Martin).

  5. Anonymous8:11 PM

    how does that figure?

    well, at least it isn't man-flu.

  6. Anonymous10:05 PM

    Sounds interesting...

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