Tag: Lonestar Montgomery

Dec 01

Persistence

Fortune

It’s only two classes, but they’re wedged in with everything else and TWO CLASSES seems to be the limit, the maximum, that can be wedged into my current existence. The things in the margins: housekeeping, cooking, fiber pursuits. (I keep up with the laundry, because it’s one of two chores I actually enjoy, and everybody needs clean towels and underwear). Although my blog is suffering from neglect because of all the writing I do for my creative writing class, I’ve been writing more than I have in years. And Texas History? An absolute gift. Although much of what I thought I knew about the Old West is now revealed to be a collection of myths, the upside is that with the true and sometimes ugly backstory, I now have rich context for re-reading one of my favorite novels — Lonesome Dove.

I saved the best for last.

Background: I have a very short list of classes I have to take in order to earn my Associate of Arts degree. While I could have transferred to a university as a junior (with my existing credits), there are two reasons I want my AA first: (1) as a milestone marker and (2) the ease of transferring to a university (over transferring with credits from two different colleges in Oklahoma). So with this short list, it seemed a little bit limiting until I allowed myself the luxury of digging a little deeper into matching the requirements with things in which I have an interest. When I learned that a Creative Writing class would fulfill the remaining Humanities credit I needed, I was all over it! Not only that, as some of you might remember, it’s part of a “themed” block of Futuristic classes — my professor was offering this class as a Speculative Fiction and Screenwriting class. And while writing within the theme was optional, I loved that some of the material and supplemental reading was specific to science fiction and fantasy.

I’ll skip to the good part now – screenwriting. Screenwriting really FITS with my writing style and it helps me focus on the parts of my writing I’d like to improve. There is enough structure to screenplay writing, along with formatting and style conventions, that it helps me to construct a story. Every encounter with it (I’m writing one now for an assignment) is rewarding — not easy, mind you, but rewarding. I don’t often feel that way when I’ve invested time in writing – but with screenwriting I do.

Now Write! Screenwriting

With this class, I now not only have more writing under my belt, but more FINISHED writing — a few short stories and nearly 20% of a screenplay. I also have a lot more ideas and inspiration. There are so many great resources, but here are some books we’ve used in class for our in-class writing exercises:

The Lie that Tells a Truth, by John Dufresne

Now Write! Fiction Writing Exercises from Today’s Best Writers and Teachers, by Sherry Ellis

Now Write! Screenwriting: Screenwriting Exercises from Today’s Best Writers and Teachers, by Sherry Ellis

What If? Writing Exercises for Fiction Writers, by Anne Bernays and Pamela Painter

Next time I hope to have a finished knitting project to share. I might even actually model it myself.

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Sep 07

Mavericks *

Lonestar Montgomery - path to Building F

The path to Building F

The first two weeks of classes are under my belt and I’m feeling a little less overwhelmed. Texas History is incredibly interesting and spans the time period from the earliest arrival of humans in Texas (about 10,000 – 12,000 years ago from Siberia via the Bering Strait land bridge to the area in the Texas panhandle near the Canadian and Red River) through present-day Texas. The textbook is excellent — I highly recommend it for anybody interested in Texas history.

There’s a ton of reading in this class and I’m glad the subject matter and supplemental reading is interesting because it’s challenging to carve out the time for all of it.

Texas History class

Early arrival to Texas History

As for Creative Writing, while it’s gotten better each day, it’s far from easy for me! For somebody who only writes creatively when the mood or the moment strikes, to be assigned something that requires creativity ON THE SPOT (we write something EVERY time we meet) is a much bigger challenge than I anticipated. I do see the value in it and I’m participating and keeping up, but if your perception was like mine — that it would be fun and self-indulgent — that’s only part of the bigger picture. It’s work. We can choose to explore the direction the writing assignment takes us, but it’s still an assignment. The reward is in the doing and in developing the writing (and editing and revising) habit. And by the end of the course, I’ll have a full portfolio of “finished” writing. I’m hoping to be brave enough to share my writing in this space.

But today? I’m just extremely glad it’s Friday and I have a weekend ahead of me.

* Lone Star College‘s official mascot is the Maverick.

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