Sunday, December 6, 2009
Best of 2009 Blog Challenge, Day 6: Workshop/Conference
I'm kind of cheating on this one, since I didn't attend any. I'm not in any position, career or otherwise, to do so, but a few of our required classes in the Literary Journalism major are called workshops since they are done in that format. I only did two this year, but one of them does mean something to me.
I took Amy Wilentz's Personal Essay workshop, and it turned out to be one of the best experiences of my life. It wasn't your typical journalism class--it was so much more. It was creative writing, it was reflection, it was exposure, it was learning. I was forced to think about who I am and who I was and what made me. For all the pieces we worked on and the in-class writing, we had to talk about ourselves and what has happened to us personally (hence...personal essay...WOAHMAN).
One piece in particular came out of this class, and it forced me to go back to a place I never wanted to go. Since writing it, though, I've had the courage to show it to multiple people. Yes, the reactions have all been positive, but what mattered is that I actually showed it to people. It spoke of one of the darker times in my life, a time when I was hopeless and lost and searching for a way out. The piece made me explore what I was going through, why it affected me so much, and then let me tell how I was able to come back. It was a piece that, for me, had to be written.
At the same time, this class also exposed me to how I really felt about certain things. When we had to pitch our ideas, things that I thought were meaningful really weren't as important as they'd seemed. Or, likewise, things that I thought about in passing turned out to be major turning points in my life.
Taking the Personal Essay workshop was putting my life under the microscope, so to speak, and as painful and terrifying as it was...I'm so glad I did it.