I'm supposed to be making supper (it's Melanie's last night in Montreal and it's warm enough for a barbecue!), so I don't have time to tell you all about the dinner party we had where Melanie (my editor on 121 Express) met Andrew Adams (who's actually a character in the book). In short, we had a great time and the party didn't end until nearly one in the morning, whichis late for me, but not for Melanie, who is a far younger woman and a bit of a night owl!
Did I tell you Mike also invited two guests I'd never met before -- Jacqui Banaszynski and her husband Don. Jacqui was at The Gazette last week doing workshops with editors and reporters and Mike thought she and Don would get a kick out of meeting our other guests.
Jacqui is Knight Chair Professor at the Missourri School of Journalism. I didn't want to make her feel like I was picking her brain, but during a short tour of our house (it's not very big!!), we got to talking about her work... and well... I took some notes. For you, of course! Did I mention that Jacqui won a Pulitzer Prize?
Here's Jacqui's advice to young journalists -- but it applies just as well to fiction writers, too: "You have to know what your story is about -- the essence -- the core." Simple straightforward advice, but RIGHT ON!!
Jacqui is also an amateur painter. She says learning to paint is teaching her important lessons about writing. "When you learn to paint, you have to tell a story without words. You have to know the heart of the story. When I paint, I try to be a storyteller. I learned how to tell a story with words. Now my painting teacher is pushing me to tell a story without words. Then the question is, 'Will I then be able to tell a better story with words?' I hope the answer is yes. Words are the most wonderful things in the world, but they're also tricky."
Hmm, thought-provoking, no? What do you think about the link Jacqui sees between painting and words? I'll go think about that now while I make potato salad!!
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My family had the first barbecue of the season this evening... to celebrate my sister's birthday (though we were interrupted by the fall on the sidewalk of a well known old man -- he looked fined afterwards, except for a nasty cut on his hand -- and then I had a skating session, followed by watching my sister's and my favourite television show), except we had to eat inside because the patio table isn't up, yet!
I agree with Jacqui's vision of art -- knowing the main part and then embroidering a story (not sure that's a correct expression in English) around this centre. I suppose that this embroidering is more difficult to do with a painting, because there is only one scene, while a piece of writing has many events in succession, and therefore more space to add details and create a story. I kind of see the link between both, but I must say I have a distinct preference for words... and music.
i like the what J. had to say about painting. I paint for fun but don't usually show anyone my paintings.. it is so true though that your story is given across without words... i like that