The Road to Writing (Part V)

I attended a week-long Dangerous Writing workshop in Cannon Beach, Oregon, in July of 2005, and the events of that week changed my life in many profound ways, one of which was writing. Tom Spanbauer taught the workshop. Tom is a marvelous, bighearted and emotionally honest teacher, and he encourages and challenges his students to peer into their hearts and tell stories about those “sore places” that only they can thoroughly explore. The “danger” resides in personal revelation, that is, “Writing what personally scares or embarrasses the author in order to explore and artistically express those fears honestly. Most dangerous writing is written in first-person narrative for this reason and deals with subjects such as cultural taboos.” (Wikipedia) For me, being introduced to this philosophy of writing was both exhilarating and liberating. During the workshop I shared stories based on “scary” incidents that occurred during my childhood, namely child abuse. Themes of the absent father are also prevalent. During the workshop I conceived the central idea for my Trout Trilogy: A middle-aged man with a troubled past and loveless marriage kills his old heart (Trout Kill), seeks a new one (Trout Run), and finds it (Trout Love). Dangerous Writing is my philosophical touchstone.

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