Monday, March 3, 2008

Writers Week XII

I love Writer’s Week. Although I didn’t get to go as many times as I would have wished this year, I still went at least twice a day and witnessed some very memorable performances, from Marc Smith climbing on the banisters to an enthusiastic young girl run up to Patrick Kennedy and ask him to sign her shirt.

My Writer’s Week began with the 8th period performance of Hollywood screenwriter Bill Kelly. In most cases one would think that I would dislike Kelly—due to his unprepared-ness, standard question and answer format, and unenthusiastic, dry, performance. However, I thought his subject matter was captivating and I actually enjoyed his bland sarcasm. I thought his personality was very ironic because he reminded me of a television or movie character that would be purposely written as over-the-top subdued and apathetic. I loved how he showed indifference when people asked questions concerning his obviously awful screenplay for “Premonition,” as if he already knows how bad the movie is and doesn’t really care. When asked why he loves his job, his honesty struck me as amusing when he described his love for the “God complex.” My sister and entire extended family lives and works in Hollywood and Kelly often reminded me of my uncle and stories he tells me about his dorky screenwriters. I know not everyone may have enjoyed his performance, I don’t even know if he was really technically that good, but I liked hearing about another side of writing careers.

I also liked listening to Billy Lombardo. His stories were very captivating and honest. I found it interesting how well he wrote stories about conflicts that never happened to him (“The First Time I Got Punched”), yet still managed to make them realistic and entrancing. He seemed to be able to have a very strong grasp on human behavior and emotion and be able to capture that in his writing, especially noticeable in “How I Knew You Were Mad at Me.” Lombardo also inspired me to possibly try writing in 2nd person, the format two of his stories were in. He suggested when writing in second person to use the second person format to present, “an author that is distancing himself from the situation. Use the second person as a stand in for another, deeper conflict.” I may try out this style on my Writers Week shareable draft.

Seeing Scott Woldman & Co. and Daphne Willis & Co. was very refreshing. I liked seeing performances that strayed from the usual presentation that traditional authors and poets seem to fall into. However, I didn’t necessarily love “Speed Dating: The Musical.” I wasn’t bored and I did find some parts funny, but overall I didn’t think it was that good and I didn’t like the majority of the jokes or actors. I did like seeing Daphne Willis, though. The 50 minute period went by very fast because I felt like I was at a concert. I loved her voice and her perseverance to stick to her musical style even when Hollywood may not be advertising for someone like her right now.

Although I like seeing professional writers discuss their work, my favorite periods are ones when students present. I liked the variety of pieces that were read. I heard things such as college essays, pointless fictional excerpts, musical compositions, emotional poems and everything in between. Hearing the audience’s positive response to each student made me excited and proud of that person, even if I didn’t know them. Sadly, I wasn’t able to see anyone from our class perform, although I heard many good reviews from friends who did see them and made me wish I had gone. I guess this just teaches me to skip gym a few more times next year.

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