April 2010


I haven’t finished reading a book in a month. There. I’ve said it.

I’ve been busy lately with my online writing class at Gotham. Up until last Monday, the short story I submitted for class was in the Booth. Every week, a certain number of students gets a chance for their manuscripts critiqued by fellow classmates in the Booth. After everyone in the class gives their feedback, the teacher will critique the story. During  critique week, the student who submitted the story can’t defend their story or asks questions until everyone in class including the instructor is finished. That’s why it’s called the Booth. It’s like being in room where all  the student writer can do is listen (or, in this case, read) to the comments. Everyone in the class has a chance for their story to get critiqued by each other.

This is my third class with Gotham, and I still get nervous when my story is in the Booth. While I never received a bad comment on my story in the Booth, the waiting is the toughest part. Some comments are expected (Develop your story more. Add more descriptions, Helenita). Some comments are not. This is a good thing for me. Sometimes I’m too close to my story, and a fresh set of eyes gives a different perspective, which is greatly appreciated since I want to be a better writer.

Even though I haven’t been reading a lot lately, I really like this class. The class routine is the same: lecture, online discussions, assignments, and the Booth. So far, the only thing that’s different is that we get to read wonderful short stories by published writers and study their technique.

Another advantage on taking this class is that I’m forced to write everyday because I have deadlines. By writing everyday,  I feel like I’m improving.

The only bad thing about this class is that I’m sacrificing my reading time. I know that in order to write better, I must read frequently too. Somehow, I haven’t found the balance yet because there have been days when I just want to read, not write. Realizing this, I should try to schedule both, and that way neither is compromised.

Juggling between classes and a full-time job, it won’t be easy, but it’s still worth a shot. Whether I finish a book in two months or three, I don’t think it will make me less of a reader. Nor it will make my love for reading any less.

I don’t know about you, but the month of March really felt like it disappeared into oblivion. I mean, where the heck did it go? Did it really feel like four weeks just went by? Did it really feel like I didn’t blog for a whole month? Yesterday, I felt really guilty for not blogging, and I knew I had to start blogging again somehow.

Last month, I took a week vacation in Florida. It was exhilarating to get away from work and, well, everyone. It was a spur of the moment trip, but honestly, it was much-needed. I’m hoping to go back in the summer.

I hadn’t read a book in a month either. I did listen to two audio books last month during my trip to and from Florida. I will review Dennis Lehane’s Shutter Island soon. I didn’t finish listening to The Man from Beijing by Henning Mankell. I thought the plot was good, but the  main character sort of annoyed me. I’m not sure if I will continue listening to it. We shall see.

I’m taking an online writing class with Gotham Writer’s Workshop who is working with Zoetrope All Story Magazine. I think the class is amazing. I have submitted one short story to be workshopped. I have learned a lot so far in class, but it has kept me extremely busy. I love the class though. I can’t wait for the next lecture.

Well, there you have it. My excuses why I was invisible for a whole month. Hopefully, April will be better.