Little Short Pants

“Writing makes important.”

- Henry James

The Business Guy and the Resident Teenager are patiently waiting for me to come back down to earth. I’ve been abducted by aliens, and haven’t quite found my way home yet.

Where to begin? My week at Writing Camp was fantastic. For seven days, from dawn to dusk, I was immersed in the art and craft of writing, surrounded by other writers equally keen. What a supportive bunch, all of them! The students were interested to know about each other’s writing experiences, and the instructors were generous in sharing their knowledge and nudging us along. Industry insiders gave afternoon talks on the nuts and bolts of editing, publishing, literary journals, and agency know-how, and they all bubbled over with the thrill of good writing, great story, and craft. It’s most encouraging to be aware of this, after years of toiling in obscurity and receiving a goodly number of rejections (and a few acceptances). These people love what they do, and they’ll lay down their lives for the sake of a good story.

My class instructor supplied us with tools and reminders and encouragement to last several lifetimes of writing. One of the highlights of the week was listening to him give a reading in an auditorium so silent that a dropping pin would have shattered eardrums. The audience was understandably attentive: it was Alistair MacLeod reading his short story, As Birds Bring Forth the Sun. Breathtaking.

And speaking of breath, Mr. MacLeod’s favourite example of terrible writing, which he referred to repeatedly with a gleeful grin:

“His breath came in little short pants.”

Categories: General.