by Rebecca Cantrell
Judging by the lateness of this post, I might be better off taking a class in time management.
Instead of talking about writers I'd like to take a master class from, here's a list of those I have.
- Stephen Spittler. He was my English teacher senior year. He loved literature and seduced all of us into loving it to. He was smart, enthusiastic, and he never cut me a bit of slack in my writing. Whatever good fundamentals I have, they came from him.
- Sharon Dilworth. She was part of the creative writing program at Carnegie Mellon. She was kind and generous with her time, and made me feel like writing was a craft that could be learned and not just a talent given from the gods.
- Christopher Keane. He taught at the now defunct Maui Writers Conference. He taught me to revise and throw things away and start with a completely different perspective, and the simple value of putting in the hours.
- Michael Palmieri. Maui Writers Conference again. Structure. Structure. Structure. Michael knows it, and he teaches it with humor and intelligence and grace.
- James Rollins. OK, also Maui. Pacing, setting, and moving characters through scenes. It sounds simple, but it wasn't for me.
- Julia Cameron. A bit of a cheat, because I never took a face to face class, but her book "The Artist's Way" taught me as much about being a writer as anything else. I thank her most for this line (I'm paraphrasing, I'm sure she said it better). "If you had a job at the 7-11, you would show up whether the muse inspired you or not. So why are you treating your heart's work as something less than a 7-11 job?" Busted. Busted. Busted. And as soon as I was busted, I started taking writing seriously and within three months had started "A Trace of Smoke," my first published novel.
Thank you all, teachers and mentors, for helping me to get where I am today. You helped me more than you know.
How about you? What's your favorite writing class/teacher/book?