I am still in a phase of fascination with the literature on breaking bad habits — looking up both the religious and the secular writers on that topic. In my previous post, I thought just going ghost on a habit/quitting cold turkey, was the better option. I’m learning though, what everyone who has made a resolution, New Year’s or otherwise, can tell you: how much humble pie is consumed in the process. Even the strongest willed fail, fall, compromise along the way and have to start again multiple times over. There is merit in consuming smaller and smaller portions of your habit on the way to quitting or managing it better.
I am fallen, into a non-writing habit, for a number of compelling reasons that I am not eager to bring up lest they become convenient excuses that encourage me to be lazy. I scribble a wee bit on occasion, but need to start writing, or re-writing in earnest. I determined one of my bad habits that keep me from investing more time in a good writing habit, allowing for any ailments that make holding a pen to paper challenging, is my online and social media consumption. At the start of this week, I resolved to ‘dump’ my social media accounts for at least one week and see what would emerge in other aspects of my life. The online habit often lead to progressively worse ones, I’ve been told, like trolling, spying, envy, pride – believing we are so good at mind reading or deciphering what others are up to, and so on. I am here now, so I guess that means I am eating humble pie. Meaning I have changed tact and will instead experiment with being online on a schedule of diminishing frequency, and see what changes. Or gives.
I am reading this interesting article about the virtual absence of creative writing programs in the education system in France. It’s making me wish that someone had offered me some hand-holding way back then and taught me how to harness and herd my natural talent into a rewarding writing career.
Here’s a chunk of the article MFA vs. Saint Germain des Près
There’s obviously the enduring resistance against the idea that writing can be taught. This is nothing new, and it’s rooted in the construction of the writer as one driven by natural talent, intuition, divine inspiration, what have you. France, however, is the country of the philosopher who famously wrote that one wasn’t born a woman, but became one. Can’t the same thing be said of the writer?
1. If Mary reached her maximum height in February, how much taller will she be in March?
2. John hit rock bottom in February. How much lower will he fall in 2017 or later in life?
3. If you said read Prodigals and I did an About or sent a writing, would that be clear or confusing?
4. Is the habit third time lucky or three strikes out if they said:
Once = accident
Twice = coincidence
Three times = habit
Finally, I am taking advantage of the holiday weekend out here and I’m going to watch Room. I have been meaning to, since it came out in 2015. My interest is a little more than passing. In 2010 -2011, I was doing a graduate journalism degree in London (Ontario) and with that an elective in arts and entertainment reporting. I love to engage all kinds of people and hear what they have to say, especially if they are writers. I went after a story about Emma Donoghue for one of my key course assignments. She was in the headlines at the time – Room had been shortlisted for the Man Booker Prize. I attended a public lecture she gave and asked questions there, got a brief in-person interview (pity I can’t post that audio) and she was generous enough to agree to talk on the phone and answer more questions via email. My course instructor was not particularly thrilled with my submission – he felt the focus was on something future that might never happen (the writer telling me of her plans to get a movie out of the book Room). I did grumble to myself that he was not impressed that I had gotten a busy, hard to pin down somebody to give me her time, after I had indicated up front that my focus during his course would be writers.
Anyways, here is that article and some of the interview Q & A that I did not use.