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2.04.2008

Creativity and Reception Moments

Duma Key is the best thing I've read in an awfully long time. The novel is about, among other things, creativity and talent. In On Writing, King asserts that a decent writer can take his or her abilities and, through long usage, hone them to the point of creating solid art. I think it's a fair point and a liberating idea.

I try to stress to my students to relish their daily experiences, because it's in those moments (in the line at the grocery store, walking in the park, working in the yard) that we often find the seeds of creative writing. A literary critic I admire calls those little insights reception moments. They happen a couple of times each day, and I think the perceptive among us think closely about those little interactions. It's that contemplation that elevates life beyond mere novelty and into the realm of experience.

Just yesterday I noticed a Schwann's delivery man setting up a tripod and a camera at a local park. I thought about his life--about what it must be like to drive a delivery route while anticipating a lunch break that can be used to practice the art of photography. Then I wondered what types of things he's seen through that lens, which strange and potentially frightening images you can look at through that viewfinder.

Now I have an "in" for a short story I'm working on this week. These are the types of moments that drive authentic fiction.

Oh, and as a side note, I had the winner picked correctly yesterday but I whiffed on the score. I won a date of my choice with Jeanne. I think we'll be getting up early come Saturday and heading here. I'm hoping they sell mermaid jerky in the gift shop...

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