Sunday mornings have a new routine: after feeding the animals (Merlin the Magical Cat and Franklin the rather wimpy but gregarious dog), I make a large mug of sweet tea, grab my notebook and pen and, still in my pajamas, I go to class.
I’ve enrolled in Sarah Selecky’s Story is a State of Mind. It’s my gift to myself.
I started small. I read her blog. Eventually I signed up for her daily writing prompts. After two months of writing new and surprising things every day (some surprisingly awful, some gratifyingly good), I took the plunge, stumped up the cash and joined her online class. And I’m loving it.
Each class consists of video tutorials, assigned readings and in-depth and challenging exercises and assignments. I have to admit the readings are one of my favourite parts. Not only well-selected in order to illustrate the lesson of the day, each story is so stunningly executed, so beautiful and rich, that my own writing is informed and inspired even without the lessons to guide me further. These are not the short stories we laboured over in high school English!
Sarah’s personal approach makes you feel like you’re embarking on this writing adventure with an old friend and a trustworthy guide, one who knows there are no real shortcuts but who can point out the treacherous waters and even where skunks and poison ivy hide! And all the while, her own love for good writing shines through, reminding you that the goal is not to get published but to create something good and true.
A bit about Sarah Selecky:
She has been teaching people to write mindfully since 2001, when she ran her first creative writing workshop out of her living room in Victoria, BC. She now divides her time between Toronto and the rest of the world.
Sarah is the author of This Cake Is for the Party, a much-lauded collection of short stories that was a finalist for the Scotiabank Giller Prize, the Frank O’Connor International Short Story Award, and the Commonwealth Prize for Best First Book in Canada and the Caribbean. You can find her stories in The Walrus, Elle Canada, Geist, The Journey Prize Anthology, and other publications.