SummerKeys   Leave a comment

The intrepid author, gathering material in the field.

For over twenty years, Manhattan-based piano virtuoso and teacher Bruce Potterton has operated a ‘summer-vacation’ music instruction program in Lubec, Maine, known as SummerKeys.  Potterton’s creation has firmly taken root and now offers much more than ‘merely’ a strong foundation in piano.  Most orchestral instruments are taught, and by world-class performer/teachers.  Along the way folk instruments have been added to the mix, such as Mandolin.-Potterton has wrestled with the question of offering non-musical ‘significant-others’ some kind of intellectual challenge as an adjunct to his musical instruction, as a way to make his program more enticing to his primary audience.  He has proposed to yours-truly the idea of adding a creative-writing seminar to the lineup.  By so doing, he has once-again  proven himself perspicacious, visionary, broad-minded, and just plain smart.  (Hey, don’t blame me.  I’m a writer.  This is what I do.)-The Creative Writing Workshop will be a week-long session offered four times during July and August of 2012, alternating with the Photographic Workshop conducted by Frank van Riper and Judith Goodman.  So that we can work as a closely focused group, each session will be restricted to eight writers eighteen years and over.  Tuition is $375.-As writers we will focus on using all of the tools in the writer’s toolchest (with a nod to Mainer Stephen King for that wonderful metaphor) to delve into the sights, sounds and even smells of that most wondrous of places, Lubec.   From the sound of the water rushing over the seawall to conversing with the ghosts lurking beneath the piers, the feel of the low-water mud at Mowry Beach to the flavors and aromas of the latest creation at Frank’s Dockside Restaurant , Lubec has a wealth of opportunities and we will consider as many as can be crowded into one short week.  Even the fog that sometimes blows down Water Street like a moving wall, these are all things that make Lubec as unique as the musicians, writers and artists who congregrate here – the easternmost corner of the United States.-Course schedules, enrollment information, and everything else needed to sign up is available at the SummerKeys website.  As a special treat, Thursday evening we will do a reading at the Lubec Memorial Library.  The event will be open to the public; participants will be given the opportunity to test their words on others, or to practice their elocution skills using their favorite passage from another author, or to just sit and watch.  If time allows, members of the public will be given the opportunity to take the floor.  The library is a treat in itself, and worthy of a few hours browsing time. Update…The summer has come and gone, and now we’re gearing up for the summer of 2013.  I learned a lot working with this year’s participants, and am adding new material.  What was my biggest lesson?  It was this: People who sign up for a Creative Writing class come with a story already in their head, and are looking for ways to overcome their own particular challenge.  That hurdle may be what they perceive (wrongly) as a terminal case of writer’s block, or confusion over which Point of View would be the best one, or maybe a reluctance to let their own personality become part of that of one of their characters.  The challenge for me is to find out what the issue is that keeps them from either starting or from making good progress, then helping them see it without me telling them what it is while at the same time letting others learn from each other. Oct, 2012

Posted October 21, 2011 by JD Rule

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