In the fourth grade I loved writing and dreamt of becoming an author. By the fifth grade I had sworn off writing forever. That year had brought sweltering afternoons in a stuffy classroom studying the parts of speech and diagramming sentences and I hated every minute of it.
I started this newsletter because I had a million and one things I wanted to say about animation, but was running out of people to listen to me. Writing everything down in a newsletter helped me to organize my thoughts, and the casual nature of it all lowered my hesitancies towards writing. And the more pieces I wrote for this newsletter the more I began to enjoy writing again, andI found myself enrolling in a Creative Writing 101 workshop entirely of my own volition.
My assumptions were that I’d be on a Zoom call with published authors who were “just brushing up” their skillsets, and that we’d rip each other to shreds over tiny grammatical mistakes. Or rather, they’d rip me to shreds and imply that I would have been better off lighting my money on fire because this class could not rescue me. It turns out that I have some hang-ups about writing.
This was, of course, not the case. Most students were there to build their confidence and get into a writing habit, and the instructor made it clear that we were not required to read anything out loud to the class. But I often do things that terrify me as a way to convince my brain that we are not actually in any kind of danger, and so made the quiet commitment to read one piece out loud each class.
The instructor showed us The Garden of Earthly Delights, a sprawling oil painting by Hieronymus Bosch, and instructed us to “spend five minutes writing about whatever your eye goes to first in the painting.” I came up with this:
A beacon amidst the madness, they’ve crowded amongst one another within the red tent, all lithe and white and wriggling. The cloth itself comes alive, reaching desperate fingers toward the throng and beckoning them to crawl inside. “There’s room,” the fabric whispers to the world “although we might have to reconfigure our internal arrangements to accommodate you.” Outside the tent the world thrums on, oblivious to the magic.
It’s a fascinating painting and one that I could spend years looking at. If you’re interested in learning more, the resources I recommend are:
The Bosch bot on Twitter, which regularly tweets out close-ups of Bosch’s paintings
An online interactive tour which has both a guided tour as well as the option to freely explore the painting
Until next week!
is this writing course thru a uni or some other method?
it is great to hear you're feeling more excited about writing and I really have been enjoying all the pieces you've posted here in case that is any encouragement! hope you can keep up the fun in it and don't be afraid to take breaks if you're not feeling it you don't wanna kill the flame :)