Wednesday, July 06, 2011

You've Got The Write Stuff

About 10 years ago, HR officers across my home state were carrying on about the concept of “lifelong learning”. Jargon though it undoubtedly was, the idea nevertheless spread like wildfire across the public service and underpinned every training course we were asked to do; every seminar we were invited to attend; and every performance review we had to endure. It seemed that nobody in the workplace was too young, old, junior or senior to learn.

While I am loathe to admit it, I became quite a fan of the “lifelong learning” idea. Whenever my early administrative jobs offered more troughs than peaks (as happened quite often in those days), I remember being buoyed by the notion that old dogs could learn new tricks, and were in fact being encouraged to do so. Needless to say this dovetailed beautifully with the other piece of intelligence I acquired around this time; namely that these days, a person changes careers at least 11 times in their life. I don’t recall aspiring to that number necessarily, but the very idea that “lifelong learning” had overtaken “lifelong career” as a modern-day aspiration filled my twenty-something’s heart with hope.

I poke fun at “lifelong learning” only in jest, because I do believe it has influenced a lot of what has happened to me over the years, in life and at work. There’s no question that it explains my current enrolment in an online non-fiction writing course with Gotham City Writers (cool name, huh?).

Over the next six weeks my virtual classmates and I will learn about what it takes to produce quality non-fiction work. We’ll dissect the elements of memoirs, personal essays, biographies and similar. I will have to participate in online discussion boards (not my strong suit) and complete weekly assignments that are peer-reviewed (eek!).

The first assignment is a bit of a cracker. In 500 words or less, I need to:

Think of a specific moment when you were at a crossroads, major or minor. Zero in on that moment. Remember all that you can about that
moment, perhaps even jotting things down. What did you see, hear, smell, touch, or taste? What were you thinking or feeling?

In a way it’s quite amusing because in the spirit of lifelong learning and moving ahead, I have to first look backwards. No chance of writer’s block in this class, baby.


Anonymous said...

Maybe the topic should have been more like ".... when were you at the crossroads and you DIDN'T get run down by a pack of passing rogue ostriches ...." or something like that. Is it ostriches or ostrichii????

Helenbeee said...

are you going to post these writings for pre peer review review? We will be kind I promise ;)