Sunday, September 18, 2011


In the interest of interest, one of the ten positive emotions, I decided to spend three Saturday mornings at Grant MacEwan College, Writing Creative Fiction with instructor Kath MacLean. The first class was yesterday. Today I’m experiencing the side effects: homework. First on the list is the task of articulating my goals as a cnf writer. There’s space for three goals. Hmmmmm! My goals! This would be easy if I were a better goal-setter. Sometimes it’s better to move past the questions you can’t answer to the ones you can answer. Second on the list is the task of choosing a book. I am to choose a book that exemplifies the genre that most interests me as a writer of cnf. Shall I choose Beyond Belfast by Will Ferguson? Maybe. I do seem to like that book. I have been reluctant to delete it from the memory of my tiny talking book reader. But then, probably any book by Will Ferguson would do. But then there’s a bit of a snag. If I choose a book by Will Ferguson, I’ll wonder why I didn’t choose a book by Gary Lautens. Any book by Gary Lautens would probably do. I particularly like Peace, Mrs. Packard and the Meaning of life. Maybe I’ll choose it. If I choose that book, I’ll wonder why I neglected to choose a book by Greg Clark. Any book by Greg Clark would probably do. I could make it easier and choose Greg’s Choice. That would be a good choice. The only thing is, choosing any of these books would prevent me from choosing anything by Robert Fulghum, and that would be a shame. Any book by Robert Fulghum would probably do. Perhaps the best choice would be maybe—Maybe Not. Come to think of it, it might just be easier to define my personal goals than to choose a single book. Suppose I abandon the task of selecting a book, and consider the other assignment: stating my personal goals as a cnf writer. There are three spaces on the empty list. 1. I want to do writing that helps me think about my world in a way that makes me want to live in it. When I read books by Ferguson, or Lautens, or Clark, or Fulghum, I find I want to live in the worlds they write about. They, of course, are different from me. They have made a living with their writing, which could be my second goal, only it isn’t. If I wanted to make a living at something I’d probably study it on a Wednesday, or maybe a Monday afternoon. I’d be taking a rest from it on Saturday. . 2. I want to chuckle more. Ferguson, Lautens, Clark and Fulghum make me chuckle. But you can’t always be relying on others. I used to have a plaque that said, “Those who learn to laugh at themselves never cease to be amused.” 3. I want to play as I write, to play with emotions, with ideas, with the ever-changing truth. And if the things I write are not exactly true, well, then at least I hope they are entertaining.

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