Monday, June 7, 2010

South America here I come!

So I am off to travel the world in a great story hunt! Some time possibly around September I'm heading off the South America and then maybe Germany to go chasing stories. I'll be armed with my camera and my laptop and I will blog my way through the experience so you'll be able to follow my progress right here. I've always said I'd go to South America and I figure now is as good a time as any. I've played the South American classical guitar for years and I'd love to put a landscape to some of those old favourite pieces - like Antonio Lauro's Venezuelan waltzes. I'm also a big fan of Marquez, Neruda and Louis de Bernieres' South American trilogy. Dare I say I'm partial to a little magical realism? So long as it's not reduced to the formulaic and trite.

Germany is more of a linguistic journey. I love the language. Those who think it an ugly language should listen to Rilke - or to some of the poetry you hear in "The Lives of Others". It can be spiky and harsh, but listen to a pretty German girl speaking it and I guarantee you'll get a different perspective on it! Or maybe that's just me... Anyway, I've spent so long reading German and listening to it (thank you, inventor of the podcast!) that I want to finally get the chance to immerse myself in it. I'll be story-chasing there too, maybe while I couch-surf around Berlin.

On another note, my friend Jon Bauer and I may have the opportunity to start a creative writing school next year. We're still in early negotiations stage, so I won't say too much more. But as a result I have been reading a lot of creative writing text books in order to understand how others teach it, to maybe pick out the ideas and approaches that suit my style an resonate with me. Has anyone read "Living the Writer's Life?" (Eric Maisel) Now there's a dose of gloom to counter any cheerful optimism which "The Artist's Way" may have left you with. Apparently writing is a thankless, penniless, excruciatingly difficult activity which only the insane and the daemon-possessed would consider dedicating themselves to seriously. The proof being that writers are in fact a bunch of manic depressives (or just plain depressives, without the upside) who commit suicide with disturbing frequency. Nah man, I'm going to be sticking with nice, comforting Julia Cameron with her artist's dates and her warming entreaties to leap into the void and fly, fly, fly!!!