‘Lee’s Writing Factory’ (2017)

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My office was worse than this. I didn’t have a window.

Once upon a time, there was nothing like a few years as a newspaper reporter to prepare you for a career as a writer. Based on what I see of the nooze media every day, that’s no longer true. But it used to be.

Lee’s Writing Factory

I should have added, though, that when I first tried to switch over to fiction-writing, my short stories read like newspaper articles. That was a problem that had to be solved, and it took several years to do it.

Someday I ought to write about the Creative Writing classes I used to teach at adult night school. “At 8:17 p.m. Roger M. Pooh, height 5 feet 11 inches, weight 178 pounds, brown hair, brown eyes, stood on the corner of Main St. and Pilchard Avenue…” Was this a short story or a police report?

2 comments on “‘Lee’s Writing Factory’ (2017)

  1. Hee hee, this reminds me of the time I went back to graduate school while I was still on full-time active duty in the Air Force. (Night classes and long lunch hours, in case you’re wondering.) My first class based its entire grade on a final seminar paper, but I found that everything I tried to write came out in Air Force jargon (like your police report short story). I went to see my professor about it, and he, knowing that I’d written poetry in the past, told me I could write him a series of poems on the subject instead. A SERIES OF POEMS??? With only a week left to deadline? Did he know how long it took to incubate and write even one poem? I was furious, but I went home and tried to write the poems. I came up with three of them, one actually pretty good and the other two … let’s be kind and say not completely awful. But just so my professor would know the point I was trying to make in the poems — they were all about the “Guinevere” section of Tennyson’s “Idylls of the King,” by the way — I decided to write an explanatory cover letter to the poems. And as I tore the seventh handwritten page off my writing tablet, I realized that I was really writing … (suspense) … a critical analysis, i.e., a seminar paper. So I kept going. And I got a top grade on the paper, too! (My professor mercifully didn’t grade the poems.)

    I often told some of my students that story when they were getting themselves bogged down in dissertationese. It usually helped them write more easily as one human being to another. Of course, these days clear writing would disqualify them from any career in academia. But things were different then. 🙂

    My goodness, I’m certainly being chatty today. My apologies. I think the week’s chaos has gotten to me.

    1. We love you being chatty!
      This has reminded me of my college biology papers, which I tried my best to write in the style of “Tristram Shandy.” I didn’t get good grades for that.

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