Wednesday, February 01, 2006

"Nuns fret not at their convent's narrow room"

(I bet this one doesn't, anyway).

I just got back from a writing workshop at the local Catholic University. A slightly surreal experience, but very entertaining, and full of useful tips. It was mostly focused on the differences between writing for journals and writing a thesis, but there were enough wannabe novelists there that we often got side-tracked onto creative writing issues too.


(1) The short and very excitable Irish nun who taught the course. I think she is the oldest person I have ever met who has entirely embraced the internet and all forms of electronic media. Not only did she emphasise that if you are properly up-to-date you should never need to leave your office anymore for anything, thus leaving so much more time for research, but she even gave a five minute spontaneous interpretation of the religious symbolism inherent in the Catholic University's architecture as seen from Google maps.

(2) The non-native English speaker in the corner who was very enthusiastic and answered every question, but seemed to be on an entirely different planet -- maybe he was attending the special topic workshop running in his head. For example, excitable Irish nun addresses the group:
"Now, someone will please name for me tree o' the hot topics in the area they are working in."
Student: "Sometime I read a newspaper... a lot of newspaper. It is very important to understand important... issues in world today. Sometime I read many... newspaper and some journal all day."
Irish nun: "Aye, well. I'm thankin' ye for that contribution. Very... engaged. Anyone else?"

(3) The memories of my (happy) primary school years at a Catholic school, which all came flooding back. Something about the architecture -- the fake-stone chapel, creamy gently curving walls, wide corridors flooded with natural light, the geometrically laid-out rose garden in the central courtyard, and everywhere, everywhere the lingering smell of newly polished floors.

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1 Comment:

Spike said...

LOve the non-native speaker. I teach Adult Learners of English and they do tend to seize upon one word of the question and rabbit on about it. The nun handled it rather well.