This program is made possible through a generous gift from Ruth and Russell Bolton
in conjunction with the Eberly College of Arts & Sciences.

Thursday, January 26, 2012

Work It!

During Monday’s Bolton Workshop in Arnold Hall, we started off free-writing about the season we all want to punch in the face at least once in the three months it lasts (which sometimes seems more like six months--UGH), Winter. Then we talked about style. We talked about what’s on the page, but we talked less about structure and less about subject matter. We talked about units as small as words and units as large as sentences and paragraphs. We talked about different kinds of language: everyday, esoteric, and specialized. We talked about our sentences like people--our voices low whispers, hands hiding moving lips--just kidding. If our sentences were people, how would we describe them? Short? Average? Gargantuan? Spunky? Classy? Straightforward? Unusual? Detached? Repetitive? Obsessive? Caffeinated?

We examined our writing again. How short phrases, sentences, and paragraphs sped up the pace. How one long, winding sentence could slow that speed to a halt. 

After looking at our writing, we decided we all have a natural style. It was just a matter of scrutinizing our writing and listening to ourselves a little more closely. Why try to riff like the greats--Carver, O’Conner, Hemingway--when we have our own writing swagger that’s pretty great already? To prove to ourselves that we have a style we can pick out on a crowded High Street, identifiable as a fingerprint, we wrote again. But this time we wrote about our first day back to school after our already distant Christmas Breaks (sob). We signed our names and slid our words into a top secret bag. 

I read each piece, one by one, and, one by one, the Arnoldites identified the author as if they’ve been reading that author’s writing forever. This is just a testament to what close friends we’re becoming at Arnold Hall. Maybe you should join us for some Valentine’s Day themed fun on Monday, February 13 at 7:15PM!

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