OK, Last night was the Fiction class. I met up with Bill beforehand to give him some psychological support when he was about to go deal with his cousin in law. He had a rough day, dealing with family things that shouldn’t have been said but were said nonetheless.
I suggested he go to the lion’s den, hat in hand and apologize. He was full of apprehension so I gave him a Xanax. Actually it was his suggestion and asked for a Zantac. I explained that that was for acid reflux.
It seemed to have taken some of the edge off. Bill has a short fuse and he was going to talk to someone with an even shorter fuse. And it went well for Bill, he came back happy and relaxed and thankful that I was able to support him the way that I did.
Here are my notes from last night. Day 2 with the Gotham Writers Workshop. Fiction time or maybe fictional time. The class is smaller than the class I attended yesterday. David Winner is the teacher. He just introduced himself.
Everyone is given a sheet describing 1st Person, 1st Person Peripheral, 3rd Person Single Vision or Close 3rd, 3rd Person Multiple Vision and Omniscient.
Samples from different writers are on the sheet.
1st person is Charles Dickens- David Copperfield and JD Salinger- The Catcher in the Rye.
1st person peripheral is F. Scott Fitzgerald- The Great Gatsby.
3rd person is Joyce Carol Oates- Where Are You Going? Where Have You Been?.
3rd person multiple vision is Mary Gaitskill- A Romantic Weekend,
Omniscient is Gabriel Garcia Marquez- 100 Years of Solitude.
At first the head count in the class was 12 women and 4 men including David Winner. So many women interested in writing fiction. Who knew? Most look like they’ve just gotten out of work. I look shabby compared to them.
I did shave though and my legs look great.
2 empty seats are left. I sit in the back. The age range of the women seems to be mid 20’s to mid 60’s. The men would be 20 something to me at 47. I’m the elder. Outside sirens and horns blare.
It’s 7:00 and David Winner asks us all to say our first names aloud going down through the aisles, makes things friendlier. I’m last.
David Winner starts talking about Point of View (POV). How is POV used in life and in fiction? In life it’s an opinion whereas in fiction it’s about seeing through someone else’s eyes. David Winner goes on to tell us about his MFA and his writing short stories with different POV.
He wrote a novel years ago.
David Copperfield is read aloud. The Catcher in the Rye is next. The benefits of 1st person? Immediacy, tone, releasing the passion within you. Decisions, gained and lost. Constricted by one person’s eyes. Anonymity is lost. Careful and conscious of what is being said.
I think I generally write in the 1st person.
The Great Gatsby is read aloud. Joyce Carol Oates is read after Fitzgerald.
Now there are 18 women in the class, 2 were late and one hovers by the door, eventually raising the number to 19 women.
Now Mary Gaitskill is read. The oldest woman says that Gaitskill’s excerpt is contrived, pretentious and a screen treatment. David Winner agrees. A younger woman quotes Atlas Shrugged which makes me keep an eye on her. Another woman suggests The Sweet Hereafter by Russell Banks.
I didn’t know the author and neither did she. I almost said Atom Egoyan but he directed the movie adaptation.
Finally the excerpt of 100 Years of Solitude is read. The girl sitting in front of me cracks her neck loudly, her ponytail flails in the opposite direction of her neck. I’m having difficulty staying alert in this class. Doesn’t have the pizazz of the class the previous evening.
David Winner says, ‘That little metaphor that you have in your writing, that you think is so great is really rather flat.”
Now we have a writing exercise. Start out by writing in 1st person, describe a dramatic but not traumatic incident. I dive in, 1st person style.
I was meeting Bill on the corner, across the street from his office. I was feeling pretty good having been able to get out of work earlier than usual. (See? Fiction!) I didn’t mind waiting. Bill on the other hand had to stay a bit later. I just walked around in a small circle, having a smoke amongst the crowds of office workers and the odd tourists.
I Looked up, trying to locate Bill’s office but the distance caused in me a sense of vertigo. So I focused on a different building, one with a lower height.
It was then that I saw Luanne, just looking out the window, onto the street below. Though it seemed impossible, I could swear our eyes had met. I say impossible since she was on the 10th floor and I was at street level.
After this, David Winner instructed us to then take the situation and write it in the 3rd person and I do.
Bill was upset that he had to stay late, keeping Laurence waiting which Bill hated to do. Laurence could be quite a stickler for time and Bill recalled an argument they had a while back when he was late. “No need to revisit that” Bill thought. His desk was a mess and he did his best to keep it clear of clutter since he hated coming in, in the morning to a messy workspace.
It had now been a long time, Bill felt and didn’t want to stay much longer in the office. But he did have a fire breathing dragon of a boss who wasn’t the type to let Bill out of work so easily.
Even on 3 day weekends, his boss made sure Bill stayed at his desk a bit longer than other people on his floor.
A song wafted through Bill’s consciousness, a song from the early 1980’s. Bill thought it was this group or that group, but ultimately all Bill knew was the chorus, ‘You’re Everywhere that I’m not’.
It made Bill smile to himself. It didn’t make the clock go faster but it did make the killing of time that much more bearable.
Once again, I read my writing aloud. I followed the sixty something woman who wrote about being stabbed on Christmas Day and laying in the Bus Lane on the street. Very Lawn Hors d’œuvre. After that class was over and there was no time to critique my writing.
A walk to the Path train and soon I was home. Sometime after that I was asleep, waking up at 4:00 due to Bill’s apnea mask making sounds. Back to sleep at 4:30.
Cannabis free dreams? Sure. One involved me running for public office in Hudson County. Hiram Monster Rat was a power broker who lived by a gas station. He tried to get me to have sex with his girlfriend wearing a priest’s collar (not sure if this was the same girlfriend he stabbed in the face with a broken glass). I reject the offer due to my atheism.
The other dream involved me watching the sequel to Corky Romano starring Chris Kattan at 49th Street and Park Avenue. Oh how I miss my cannabis.