Sunday, October 08, 2006

Enriching your craft

I was cleaning my desk today, and ran across notes I took before moderating a panel of writers on how we improve our craft.

One of the questions scribbled on the sheet: If you could choose one educational or experiential thing to build your craft, what would it be?

For me, if I could choose ANYthing, I would like to go get a BA in History, focusing on Europe before World War I. (And including both some basic and advanced classes on Eastern Europe.) I majored in Religion, and minored in South Asian studies. This was fascinating and rewarding, but if I could go back and do it again, I'd major in History because it would be so useful, given what I do now.

On a smaller scale, I'd love to spend some time riding horses. I did a very small amount of horseback riding at Girl Scout camp as a kid, so I know how to get on and off and how to tell a horse to go and stop, but that's about it.

I'd love to hear other people's fantasies about what they'd learn more about if they had more time/money/resources.


Kelly McCullough said...

Latin—I want to have learned Latin. Which means, I don't particularly want to go back and do it now, though I may yet.

lydamorehouse said...

Languages in general -- Russian, Chinese. Of course, in this fantasy scenario I'd also not be mildly dyslexic.

Otherwise, yeah... more history. Or, like, I'd have paid more attention to the history courses I did take.

Also, maybe marine biology. Or religious studies.

Forget it. I'd just go back to school and take anything that turned me on. I loved school. If only it didn't cost money and time.

Muneraven said...

I'm with you on sometimes wishing I could go back to school and study History. Religion. Art history. Biology. Sociology. American Studies. Women's Studies. Linguistics. Atmospheric Physics. Anthropology. So many things!

But then I remember how universities really work, how its all politics and in-fighting, and how PhD students rarely get to study what they are passionate about.

And then I am glad that I have a library card. :-)

Naomi said...

Yeah, if I had infinite resources (both money and free time) I think I could happily get a dozen BA's. I don't know if I'd ever get any sort of graduate degree, but I'd get a BA in History, another one in Art, another one in Biology...

Deborah Roggie said...

I did exactly that, got my BA in pre-industrial history, and I've never regretted it.

My history studies naturally included religion, archaeology, sociology, economics, demography, law and political science, technological and medical developments, art, architecture, and literature. I learned how to do research and to ferret out source documents. All wonderful training for a writer.

Best of all, there are wonderful stories buried in the history books.

The educational experiences I'd want to get now (to supplement what I've already done) would be (1) to go through the Clarion or Odyssey workshop; (2) to travel more widely outside of the U.S.; and (3) to learn how to sail.

Douglas Hulick said...

Well, I already have a couple degrees in medieval history, as well as minors in english and anthropology, so that's covered. And I teach and fight with swords regularly. So, hmmm. :)

I think I'd like to study some art history. That gives you a different appreciation of cultures and values than either regular history or anthro.

Some physics courses would be nice, seeing as how I have never taken one (no, Kelly, not even ONE!).

Working with Jamie's uncle (a P.I. in Chicago) would definitely be up there in the experience area. :)

The biggest thing I'd want to do, though, would be to go walk-about overseas for a year or so. Just to soak up experiences and cultures on the street level. Talk about fodder for fiction....

Erik Buchanan said...

Given world enough and time (and money), I would travel and study. History, Languages, Archeology, and anything else I can think of.

And travel. Europe again, Asia, Africa, Central and South America, USA and the Canadian North. And Newfoundland. I've never been to Newfoundland.

Looks like we all want the same things, doesn't it?

tate said...

Travel... yeah. Ah, for time and money, eh?