Coming unstuck

I don’t feel I have progressed so swiftly with the coursework today.

I worked through three of the tasks – one of which was to critique the opening passages of Toni Morrison’s novel Jazz, which I really enjoyed – then came somewhat unstuck.  We have been asked to write 500 words in the voice of a character telling a story about either him/herself or another person.  The piece is supposed to be quite telling, making the narrator come to life through their language, thoughts and pattern of speech.

I spent a very long time brainstorming, listing a few of the many wacky characters I’ve met in my own life whom I might adapt (after changing names to protect the guilty, of course) into a fictional protagonist with a tale to tell.  Unfortunately the inspiration was not forthcoming.

I even took myself off for a lie down at one point (no sniggering please, I was on my own), hoping inspiration might magically strike me if I shut my eyes and concentrated.  I succeeded only in virtually nodding off, and had to drag myself up before a catnap rendered me unable to sleep tonight (I hate sleepless Sunday nights, which result in me feeling wrecked and grumpy all through Monday).

I have considered expanding one of the characters from my existing novels into a scene, but that strikes me as a tad lazy.  I’d feel like cheating.  I enrolled on this course with the aim of doing something new.

These are the sort of points at which my shaky confidence is and will continue to be tested.  I detest writer’s block.  This is the aspect of the course I was dreading.

I did start working through the course material a little early, though, so am not panicking yet.  I may have to postpone this activity, carry on through the remaining ones in the block and return to it later.  No point wasting time staring at a blank screen or twiddling my pen and scribbling crap in my journal.

In theory these activities given to us are not compulsory.  We are not marked on them – only the two tutor marked assignments count towards our final grade – but they are good practice.  There is, I suppose, little point signing up for the course if you don’t intend deriving as much benefit as possible from it by completing all the tasks.

Ah well.  I’ve logged off the OU website now, and turned my attentions to the altogether more straightforward task of preparing the Sunday roast.  I can cope with cooking.

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