Saturday, June 03, 2006

Almost bankrupt

As soon as I finish these exams, I'll go to library and borrow a whole stack of books. I have also bought some books during the year, which I haven't read yet but I hope to read them as well. Then I'm planning on going to a summer dance school. I'm really sorry to hear that this year it's only going to last 6 days (I long for at least 10 days!). Then there's Ljubljana's Summer Festival and already I found 8 performances that I and boyfriend absolutely must see. Naturally, these are the more expensive ones, but I'm glad that at least the film projections are cheap (less than 2 euros).

Additionally, I got an invitation for a creative writing weekend in Autumn, which I'm really looking forward to attend, but it's quite expensive for only a weekend. (I have to provide a few sheets of my writing, so it wouldn't hurt me if I wrote some during the Summer as well - I haven't written, really written for several hours at a time in ages! It's high time I got my pens and notebooks out. Yes, I'm the oldfashioned type. I handwrite it first and then type it out as I'm working on a second draft.)

Thank God I have an aunt who can provide me with a well paying summer job! I'll really need those little green pieces of paper.

posted by Nadezhda | 11:49


Blogger Lilit said...

Creative writing! Do you regularly attend a course (is there a thing like that anyway?) or is this just a one-time event?

Well, you'll be bankrupt in money, but so much richer in experience :)

Blogger Nadezhda said...

No, I don't. I once sent an application for this one, but then something unexpected happened and I was unable to attend. But they've been sending me the invitations every year since then. This is a one time event, although it's an annual event. There are creative writing workshops, check out ŠOU or your local Sklad/Klub (?) RS za ljubiteljske kulturne dejavnosti. The one I'm going to is organized by Beletrina, študentska založba.

Yeah, I know. I don't really care about the money (though having little money's always a problem), because most of these things will certainly be a one-time event and I wonder when the next time to see/hear something like this'll be.

Blogger jin said...

'Yes, I'm the oldfashioned type. I handwrite it first and then type it out as I'm working on a second draft.)'

Oh God, I used to do that, before I got myself a laptop. You lose time doing that, don't you?

You could write a short fantasy story for Spirea, there is a proposl for you, how to spend your writting time.

Blogger Bo said...

Creative writing huh? Girl would I love to learn to write creatively!
I've been thinking about joining a creative writing studying group (CWSG) for years, just like Nadezhda, and well, I might just as well do it in the very near future, like Nadezhda. You know, one group at zavod ŠOLT in Ljubljana is starting on 19.6.2006. Oh that should be so great. (I am thinking now I could also do a live blog report on that sessions, since writing is very bookish, as is my blog - however in Slovene.)

Apart from not knowing how to write creatively, I know something about creative writing. Mainly from what Branko Gradišnik told me. He is the one Slovene who really knows how to write creatively, and even joined our notorious ... our kind psychiatrist Janez Rugelj (1989) with reshaping his social-andragogical rehabilitation method with a course on creative writing. Creatotherapy he calls it. Let me tell you a bit about some of his ideas:

1. Being creative also means being able to connect previously seemingly unconnected concepts. The term creative writing in turn covers the writing of fiction, mainly prose, and it's a whole different thing from writing technical articles.
I have doubts, however, that a CWSG would really help me write more creatively in a sense of writing a better prose. Hadn't all the schools been enough? Understanding creativity, I would rather continue with running and mountain hiking, and perhaps do more of that. Running specifically, and aerobic sports in general, mind this, have a great feature of meditation, and from there there's a small leap to creativity.
So, see you on the track, or, in the mountains?

2. But nevertheless these CWSG's like to help one in a psychological way: for instance, if one is shy, or if one doesn't have a right (understanding, objective) partner who: likes to listen, read and talk, in an emphatic and constructive way. This partner ("where can I buy one?") can most successfully supplement a creative writing teacher so one can move from the lower level of writing out of habit and intuition to a more rational, intellectual level.
The point of this idea is that one should be critical about what he puts down on paper and should try to understand what and also why he has written, and been trying to tell others. Our creative writing should namely be meant for a lot of people (like the plays of Shakespeare), not just some, somehow educated individuals. If you have a sympathetic partner by your side (at your disposal - but understand this in a positive sense) who likes: to listen to you, and read and talk about what you've written, you know well what I am talking about. (I had one such partner.) If you don't have one (or more - I'm half joking now), a teacher of some CWSG would do it fine too, but now so well.

3. Creative writing should not be subjected to some rigid constrains. Feel free (like Tom Petty feels: I'm free, free fallin'...) But be creative. Never, try never to put down a sentence which isn't:
a) driving your story on,
b) putting light on your character, and
c) establishing a general ambient light, an air, an atmosphere.

If you can do that, you can do miracles.
Also, it's a good thing to think of writing about:
- unusual things that happen to usual folk, or
- usual things that happen to unusual individuals.

Because this is appealing to general readers.

4. Writing is the truest form of self-expressing. So, if you are searching for the purpose of life (the universe and everything), write. And you will improve just by doing that. See how mindbogglingly optimistic life truly is.

5. However, Branko Gradišnik is not so optimistic about our future. He is positive that the general illiteracy would in 100 years time (if our race survive, that is) again rise to 99% - just as it was some 1000 years in the past.
So, if you would like to be called a loony (in that bin of 1%), or a genius (!) please, learn to write creatively. But don't expect that many will read you and your stories or blog.

Not exactly an indulgent (soft) guy this Gradišnik is, is he? (But I should defend him and say that he is a lot softer in person. One should be somehow provocative, if not even harsh, in such writing, don't you think.)
Any-way, I have to agree with what he has to say, and add that:

- It is a sad sad fact that a lot of people are at most half-literate, both in writing and reading, even the ones with digital watches ... the ones who have finished university, oh this makes me sad, it makes me cry sometimes, and I am a boy, imagine that.
- I can point you to two great (Slovene) books on our theme of (creative) writing: first by Branko Gradišnik himself, Projekt kreatoterapije (1996), and one by Drago Bajt, Pišem, torej sem (1994). I have great plans myself on going carefully through them both very soon. (Summer, happen!) - "But how do I know then they are any good?" Because people, whose words I cherish for their: creativity, are telling me so.
- Writing heals and it is mysterious (taking you on a journey of your soul), the true one (introspective) takes courage, the engaging your heart (- from heart a heart you ain't gonna never create, if from you heart does not come, my buddy Goethe likes to say), and it can be fun, creative one also fun to read. So please, write creatively do, I will reade you, and I believe everyone can somehow master it too.

Blogger Nadezhda said...

Jin - I don't type very fast (only use 6 fingers most of the time), but I write rather quickly. Also, there's the matter of "indentation" of the text and I tend to use that a lot and writing this is easier than pressing "tab" repeatedly. But yes, I suppose I'd save time by typing. (Only I don't have access to a computer at all times and I do have access to paper and a pen.)

I rather fear I'd suck writing fantasy. My stories are mostly realistic, sometimes there's a hint of magical realism there, the style is quite lyrical. I'm not an expert as far as fantasy is concerned, but somehow my style doesn't struck me as something commonly used in fantasy. But thanks for letting me know about that project! :)

Blogger Nadezhda said...

Bo - you've outdone yourself this time around! :) If you could really blog from the CW sessions or at least take notes and then write a resume on your blog, that'd be great. Share the knowledge for free is a concept I'm very fond of! :)

As far as point nr. 4 goes, I agree, but sometimes, the writing is not only about the grand things - love, life, war, hate etc., but about the small things, the detail of the detail, something that doesn't matter much in the grand scope of things, but matters a lot to the character. I like those kinds of stories a lot! They (if written well) create a very personal, very intimate relationship with the book/story and you're absorbed into this little world. I like that beyond anything else. Being absorbed in a book, existing half-way between the book and the real's magical...

There's nothing wrong with crying regardless of your sex. Being in contact with your own feelings and being able and willing to acknowledge them openly is one of the ways to live your life fully.

As far as a partner in writing goes - I prefer to have the so-called experts judge me. I mean - my grammar is good, but not perfect and they see flaws where I see a good, solid work. They make me work harder, learn faster and progress the furthest. I don't think I'd be able to get as far without their help. I'm very fortunate in knowing one such expert personally (he was actually the person who seriously suggested I should study Literature and not medicine as he believed I had talent for writing) and just adore the fact that I can send him an e-mail and ask his opinion. Having been preoccupied with medicine for the last couple of years, I haven't finished a project I'm very much looking forward to writing. But I think that now, at last, I have a very clear idea what I'm going to write about. Now it's just the matter of making the acquaintance between pen and paper.

Anonymous ch'i said...

You know, magical realism is not as far from fantasy as you might think :). Personally I believe it's mostly a question of belonging in the literary canon (and a few minor details, like dragons, dragons, and then some :) ).

I'm looking forward to reading some of the stuff you're going to write/are writing/have written :) (especially 'Mravlje' - I think I still have an excerpt somewhere).

(p.s., try Earthsea Saga, if you haven't yet)

Blogger Nadezhda said...

Ch'i - as I said, I'm rather clueless about fantasy, so (minus the dragons) I might even be writing fantasy. :) I like the quote by J.K. Rowling where she said she was half-way through the first HP book, when she realized she was writing about unicorns and owls delivering the mail and it occured to her she was indeed writing fantsay! :))

Yes, "Mravlje" is (still) the working title for the story, although by now we might be looking into something that's a novel length-wise. I've done some research, finally decided about some twists in the story, but mainly my concern now is whether I can still write - like really well. It's been long, too long since I last wrote for real and I sometimes wonder - did the little talent I had just evaporate in the meantime?

Thanks for your suggestion. I might try that as well.

Blogger Bo said...

(To all concerned with creative writing in Ljubljana.)

Following from the first paragraph of my first comment, I bring you some fresh, yet ill tidings. But we could make them healthy.

The course on creative writing at Zavod ŠOLT that was about to start on 19.6.2006, probably won't happen, because there aren't enough interested people. They told me that only two are currently madly into the thing, and one is me. Somewhat 6 are required.
But why wouldn't another one be you? If you have time and money resources - I know you are basically into it as me - call them and make the group big enough to happen. (Information here: Zavod ŠOLT - kreativno pisanje.)
Otherwise there won't be any live reporting from my blog and I will be sad, and I could cry again, who knows.

P.S. To the two recommended books I would like to add one more: Janez Gradišnik (otherwise the father of the aforementioned creative writer) wrote a lovely book called Slovensko ali angleško? - I would like to write about all three in my blog.

Blogger Lilit said...

Wish I could go, but I can't really afford to drive to Ljubljana twice a week.

ps. I also wish Blogger would accept my comment now!

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