Writing Lessons: Judith Conte

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In our Writing Lessons series, writing students will discuss lessons learned, epiphanies about craft, and the challenges of studying writing. This week, we hear from Judith Conte, a student at the 2013 Kachemak Bay Writers Conference. You can follow Judith on Twitter @JudithConte. —Andrew Ladd, Blog Editor

colorAt the 2013 Kachemak Bay Writers Conference, Naomi Shihab Nye presented the following writing exercise:

“Write for three minutes using three-word sentences,” she said. What a treat, I thought. No consideration about dangling modifiers. No thought to commas versus semi-colons. No holding out for top-shelf words. It worked for Herman Melville; “Call me Ishmael,” he wrote, at the beginning of “Moby Dick.” A short, weighty sentence that pushes the reader to the ones that follow. Three words as famous as the entire book.

Here is what I wrote during the workshop:

Thank you lawyering. You served me. Thirty plus years. Fed my children. Housed us all. Time for goodbye. We are separating. It’s difficult, yes. Still, we must. Right brain insists. Left brain rests. Thank you lawyering. Battles I won. More than lost. You strengthened me. Equal to men. Thank you lawyering. My father’s pride. My mother’s anger. “You too haughty. Know-it-all.” Thank you lawyering. Goodbye for now.

In three minutes, I wrote a tribute to my law career and a farewell to my full-time profession, a delivery system facilitated by three-word sentences.

Call me happy.

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