Sunday, September 14, 2008

Praised and Confused

After attending a writer's workshop this past weekend, I found myself swimming in enough over-used cliches, and tripe filled superlatives, that Michael Phelps would've needed a life jacket, and a flotation device. These are just a few of my observations regarding the "4th Annual Writer's Workshop" (whose organization shall remain nameless) to protect the innocent and the not-so innocent. My views in no way reflect the merit of the attendees, and I apologize in advance for this lopsided precis.

The moderator, an author of several books, currently works as a "life coach" and part-time agent/editor. His presentation was a confusing summary of the genres he liked and didn't like. The prepared lecture, littered with trite euphemisms, and tired expressions that "everybody uses" was predictable and uninspiring. Phraseology such as "spontaneous combustion" "make no mistake" and using the words "like" and "drama" as a verb and a noun at the end of every other sentence lacked an interesting and intelligent use of the English language.

Seconds before half of the participants had exited the classroom, he decided to praise a few of the attendees by reading their writing samples in a fake Shakespearean accent. I listened peevishly as he read a gritty, character driven selection, written by a retired farmer from Sugar Ditch, Mississippi. While this brilliantly crafted narrative was deflowered by the ostentatious moderator, the few remaining dumb asses (myself included) didn't dare budge. We were altogether intrigued by this guy's effusive theatrics. Humbly, he concluded his lecture by passing a collection plate. Everybody shifted their butts, gathered their belongings, and when he wasn't looking we bolted for the door.

Disillusioned, I went home, and wracked-up everything I hated most about the workshop. From the cliches, meaningless rhetoric, people with Master's Degrees in Creative Writing, to the network marketers hosting the workshop trying to sell soap and market their "professional services" to unsuspecting authors. As the mental flatulence ejected from the seat of my pea-sized brain, I felt as confused as a duck wearing rubber gloves and wool socks in the middle of a sandstorm.

16 comments:

awek_clunk said...

thank you for your lovely comment..do drop by regularly..have a happy day!!

Jamie said...

Sorry to see that the conference wasn't more helpful for you. I hope your next one is helpful (if you decide to go to another one).

Your observations made me laugh and warned me about what might expected if I ever go to one.

Pasifik said...

great article.

keep posting,

BEST WOMAN CARE

RT said...

Thanks everybody! Your comments are very encouraging. If I sign up for another "Writer's Workshop", I only have myself to blame.

Shakespeare's Housekeeper said...

Hello!
great site-looking forward to perusing it more...
Will definately be visiting again soon!

Shakespeare's Housekeeper x

Cera Dark said...

Enjoyed your article RT. It felt like I was actually at the workshop. Sorry it sucked for you. And thanks for checking my site. Please keep following the story.

Cera Dark
http://www.pajamashorts.blogspot.com

Todd said...

You gotta love "experts" don't you?

Nice blog.

I'll be checking in.

Todd

RT said...

Hi, Todd-if you've noticed, the mainstream world of publishing has become less and less artistic and experimental. Part of this, I believe is due to the need to foist an easy read, on an easily had readership.

We must demand more of these writing gurus. If we don't, we can expect the death of literature as we know it.

Todd said...

Your point about the readership is well taken. Reading and comprehension is becoming a lost art. I didn't touch on all of the reasons (as I perceive them) for this, but I did briefly address some in this blog I did on the educational system.

http://todd-truthblog.blogspot.com/2008/07/ignorance-of-educators.html

RT said...

Todd, a love or kinship with reading begins at an early age. Many parents are too confined to work and routine to encourage actual learning. I appreciate your thoughts. But I believe parents are to blame for a child's lack of intellectual curiosity.

Barbara said...

I often refer to the phrase "those who can't, teach".

I can't imagine the cajones the "teacher" must have had to pull a Shakespearean acting moment...I wonder if he had any thoughts about why his class was half full when he was done orating...

Barbara
http://ifididnthaveasenseofhumor.blogspot.com/

SWM said...

Great reading.

I write because i just want to sound off about my life. I don't really have any true friends and am rubbish at relationships.

http://salesmans-antics.blogspot.com/

Maybe one day this blog will be a best seller?

RT said...

Barbara, truer words could not have been spoken! There are countless numbers of gifted teachers whose mastery of their subject is compelling. But often, so many self-defined "experts" have nothing more to offer than a rank amateur.

Mike DeNeut said...

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RT said...

Mike DeNeutt: I never delete comments. All comments are welcome here.

The Jules said...

Nice blog.

Let's see, Shakespeare was from Stratford, so he would have had a Birmingham accent, probably.

Did the teacher do a proper Brummie 'Oi'll 'ave a noice kipper tie wiv tow shuggas ploise' or was it a Laurence Olivier hammier-than-a-pork-pie type accent?