The Home of Steven Barnes
Author, Teacher, Screenwriter

Wednesday, October 05, 2005

The Genius Zone

A note from a student--


I also finally caught up on your blogs, adding my two-cents worth on a few of your topics.  But there are two things I wanted to personally write to you about.  First, I wanted to thank you for your suggestions on how to strengthen the poetics side of my "writer's triangle."  Every day, I've been reading a poem aloud, writing a poem and writing 1000 words of fiction a day.  The reading part started off on a humorous note. The first day I put this ritual into practice, I took my Riverside Shakespeare (which contains all of his works), spun it around and randomly pointed at a section of the book.  I opened this tome, looked down and discovered that I had chosen the last scene from the last act of the most emotionally draining play he had ever wrote: King Freaking Lear!!!!  "Howl!!  Howl!!!  The Bard is going to kill me!!!!"  Ha, Ha.  Still, I attacked that scene as I do with my writing and with each passing day, the creative flow is slowing returning.  I'm even going to apply some of my poetry to a couple of my stories.  We shall soon see.  Again, thank you for helping me back "on the road again."  :))
You're very welcome, Peter.  You'll remember that my theory is that one hour out of every day belongs to you.  In this hour, you can get your basic exercise (20 minutes three times a week can cover the very basics, if you're smart enough), meditation, reading, even writing (30 minutes a day can produce 3000 words a week if you separate flow from editing).  But one of the most important things is your reading.  This is the source of poetics--the way words, images, and themes interrelate to guide the mind in a fluid, dreamlike fashion.  This usually isn't  the domain of conscious thought, except in re-write.  The key is to read material which is bettter than you intend to write--in Peter's cas (and mine) that would be Shakespeare.  The Bard is on almost everyone's list of best English-language writers, and based on several reasonable criteria, has a shot at being Best writer of all time (number of languages work translated into , number of cultures who have adopted his work into their own theater and film, centuries of popularity, translation into different forms and genres, etc.)  I treasure my daily Bard, even when reading something like Pericles, Prince Of Tyre, which frankly sucks.  Yuckka. 
My own Golden Hour is a Godsend.  Right now I'm listening to a Teaching Company CD on political theory, working with Coach Sonnon's Eclipse and Prasara (I'm also beginning to teach Eclipse to students.  I'm not sure, but it is possible that Scott has created something not only powerful, but VERY available to the average person--something that he hasn't quite done before now.  Interesting!), kettlebells (Steve Maxwell's Ab program, and a "power endurance" routine he created for Pavel) and silat.  Having a good time, and enjoying the game of seeing if I can plan a "perfect"work and workout week.  I'm never satisfied, but really entertain myself with the effort.

Well, have to take Jason to day care.  Tananarive's been gone for a week, promoting JOPLIN'S GHOST across the country.  Woman is a power-house, and can't wait to see her tomorrow night!

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