Thursday, July 27, 2006

The Constant Learner

It's been an odd week, as I'll talk more about in Saturday's "check-in" post. Luckily, I've had some fun things to keep me occupied when my brain wanders into the icky territory. The first is the great series of virtual workshops that Sheila Kelly is doing (first installment, second installment). Sheila is great at sharing what she's learned and making valuable information very accessible. Plus she's giving away great goodie bags for folks who comment. Why is she doing this? Other than the fact that she's a great person, she's very much aware that lots of folks in the writing world are at the Romance Writers of America national conference. She's pretty vehemently against conferences as the social things they are, but definitely likes the idea of sharing knowledge with other writers. Hence, she's doing the workshop. Great fun!

The other item that made this week interesting (and difficult) has been a sudden idea I had for a story that requires me to research Chaucer and the Canterbury Tales. I remember vaguely studying this in high school, and my memories of the content are just as fuzzy except that I recall there being some naughty elements to the tales. As I started fleshing out this particular idea, I dug into the wealth of information on-line about the tales and Chaucer himself. I never thought I would find literary and rhetorical analysis fascinating, but I'm really enjoying myself. I don't think I would've enjoyed it nearly so much if the sorts of essays and themes I was finding didn't mesh so well with the idea itself.

These two things represent what I love most about writing: you are constant learning new things. Other writers share their wisdom and experiences, putting things in a new light that refreshes your own perspective or gives you something new to chew on. And new ideas make you dig deeper into things you glossed over in school or were forced to read or whatnot. Writing means you get to be a student for the rest of your life, and I love that.

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