Learn Something Would Ya

12 Mar

I read The Walrus magazine and the writing is very intelligent which makes me feel dumb but getting smarter because I’m usually not finished reading one issue before the next one arrives in my mail box. I like the challenge their articles give my brain. It’s a workout for sure.

Anyhoo, there was an ad in the latest issue for literary arts workshops, courses etc in Banff, Alberta. I allowed myself to read all about what the course (Wired Writing) entailed before looking at the fees and eligibility criteria.  Gotta dream before you can make something a reality, right?

So it won’t be this year that I apply but that’s not to say that a year from now I won’t! It looks great- 20 weeks of mentoring by an author and peer mentoring within the group of writers. Of course two of those weeks are spent right in Banff which couldn’t hurt and certainly wouldn’t uninspire a person!

My work is sending me on a half day course all to do with social media. The individual speaker topics don’t sound amazing but I hope to glean something from the day and meet some interesting people AND

apparently we are getting a summer student to help with all things multi-media. I’m really looking forward to picking the brain of a 19-24-year-old who uses this stuff like it was a third arm. I wish using technology and social media came naturally to me but more often than not, I feel like I’m lost in the translation of a new language and never quitttttttttte getting it right. But I want to get it right so keep trying, I will. (That last sentence is dedicated to Yoda.)

I’ve noticed that a few universities now offer certificates and courses in social media use and why did no one ever tell me that a person could get a degree in creative writing? What the hell!!!!

University was a serious struggle for me. Thesis what? Bibli O’Graphy, huh?

I studied cultural anthropology and had taken a course on economic structures and culture or something of that sort and we had to compare two different systems and stake some claim as to which was better or I don’t know. Look at me I still can’t really explain it plainly, but what I could do and did do, which got me a flying failure of a mark, was to write a short story about how the USA took over Canada without firing a single gun because they took us over economically and pop culturally through the use of one of those systems and the reason we lost was because we were using the other system.

I thought I did a bang up job of illustrating the two systems.

The prof did not.

My favourite professor from my cultural anthropology degree hired a couple of us students to help pack up her house when she retired at the end of my fourth year, well technically I guess it was my fifth year in, (ARG the drudgery!) but anyway …

she said to me,

“You never did learn how to write a proper paper, but you were never afraid to ask the hard questions.”

I don’t believe I ever earned anything better than a C in her classes but I was so dang proud when she told me that. She said she would be using my mediocre papers as part of her research as she wrote a book in retirement about how her students’ views of western intervention in developing nations over her decades of teaching in universities had changed.

And, I suppose if I’d have really heard her back then, I’d have signed up for journalism right away instead of waiting another 10 years. It’s not being afraid to ask tough questions that can be important in that field and was, in the end, the field of study that landed me on the dean’s and president’s honour rolls. At least I did something right in the end.

I think what I’ve come to learn to love is that there are many different writing styles and voices and I like that I am beginning to be proficient at several of them. Never the uniworsity paper, perhaps, but maybe I’ll still land the social media, children’s author, novelist voices in this lifetime.



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Posted by on March 12, 2013 in PonderQs


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