My Writing Memoirs class is a bit of a joke. Not the class itself (I love it!) but the fact that it only lasts for two and a half hours every day.
At first I thought, well maybe that’s just for the first couple days while the visiting professor catches up on her rest and relaxation. Maybe it’s a stressful time for her. Maybe she has big things to do in the evening, and so meeting with us for two and a half hours (and then individual sessions with a few each day for three hours) is just about all she can handle.
But then she let us out early today and didn’t tell us that class would resume in the evening. So once again, we’re done for the day way before any of us really want to be done.
But regardless, I’m loving the morning writing sessions. It just leaves me wanting more, because it’s such a blast. The professor will talk for a bit, but mostly she’ll give us a prompt, we’ll write for 10-15 minutes, split up into small groups and share our stories, and then go back to writing another prompt.
And the exercises are really fun. We’ve written about vivid memories and the parts of them that we don’t remember. We’ve compared people we know really well to an animal that matches their characteristics and mannerisms. We’ve created new characters with interesting ambitions. We’ve described a person close to us as if we were describing them to a person who was blind (so no physical characteristics).
All of the exercises have caused me to look at memories and familiar situations and people in an entirely new way. Because when I remember things, I naturally remember them from my specific point of view. But when I start look at a memory through the lens of what I don’t remember, I instantly notice that I don’t remember things about what other people are doing, thinking, and feeling at that time. And by trying to remember the actions and reactions of other people in my memories, it automatically adds dimension to the other characters in my story. It forces me to try to understand people (that I usually take for granted) in an entirely new way. It’s really fascinating. Try it sometime, even if you don’t write it down.
Also, thanks to this class, I am constantly remembering and processing childhood memories long after the class lets out for lunch (and for the day). I need to start writing down all these memories as they come to me so I don’t lose them again.
I just wish the class lasted all day. Or at least until five or six. I completely cleared my schedule for this weekend, and it’s beginning to turn into just one big vacation — that I can’t enjoy fully because I know, in the back of my mind, that I should be using this time to be productive.
If this week was all being spent writing, that would be completely productive enough for me. But it’s not. So I feel like I’m wasting time. That being said, I did take a deliciously long nap outside on a bench in the 75 degree weather today. That was a wonderful waste of time that I wouldn’t mind repeating every single day of my life.