Thursday, January 18, 2007

NAW - Qualifying Module

Day one was interesting, kept pinching myself - couldn't believe that I was actually on a course with 23 other people all wanting to do the same thing and actually discussing prose and mechanisms of it. We watched the second act of Ingmar Bergman's Fanny and Alexander (Hamlet within Hamlet - going from a father playing a ghost in a play to really becoming a ghost - and the whole family aspect of that - separating the children from the real adult world). Which has given us our first assignment - write 2000 words, encapulsating the 8 scenes in that 40 minutes, focusing (3rd person omniciscent) on the intense drama of it rather than dialogue or styleDay 2 wasn't so good - Birmingham author Jim Crace talked to/with us all morning, but he hadn't been briefed and hadn't prepared anything. The discussion really separated out the people - those of us interested in the mechanics of writing, an argument blew up over holding a contract with the reader (and I was surprised by some of the better/more experienced among us declaring that a contract between writer and reader was crap) - it's kind of like the colony in a way. There are those who want to write scripts, life writing (memoirs), stories, and of course the more social-impacting ones. There are a handful who have only written one thing and have no idea about anything and those that have been round the mill and learnt nothing.The course is kind of floundering with the tutors not having really worked out how it will all work, but well, we'll see.Day 3 is about to begin... I've still not made any firm friends - you know the ones you can go around with and feel attached to - so many of us, so many different objectives, but then I'm not sure who I want to attach myself to: the fun people with their sights set low, those prepared to ask the deeper questions, and push the extra mile but who ultimately I disagree on stuff with, etc.Very interesting.Anyhoo - the department head told us yesterday that the process for letting people on the course had the highest ratio of applicants to places that he's ever dealt with (he used to work at Oxford and this beats that), and that this is the hardest Creative Writing course to get on - so I'm doing something right.

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