Sunday, September 27, 2009

No cowboy coffee here

I can’t tell you how much I learned this week.


On Monday night, I went to a talk by eminent French archaeologist Dr. Jean Clotte about the oldest paintings in the world, the 30,000-year-old art in Chauvet Cave.

I was so enchantée that I signed up for Dr. Clotte’s four-session

Introduction to World Rock Art and at six thirty Tuesday night, I slid into a lecture theatre for the first class along with dozens of anthropology undergrads and Paleontology groupies.

On Wednesday, I got a refill for my pen and arrived early for the second class.

Thursday I had to miss the symbolism of animals, humans and geometric shapes in ancient rock art to meet a friend for Managing the Middle-Aged Brain, a one-off lecture we’d signed up for, ever-so-hopefully, months ago.

Friday night I was back with Dr. Clotte for more techniques of Paleolithic artists and theories of Structuralism, Totemism and Shamanism.

Saturday I went to an all-day Romance Writers of America workshop where Lee McKenzie talked about creating characters with archetypes the way Hollywood does; agent Sally Harding described six strategies even unpublished authors can use to boost our profile with publishers; and Susan Lyons explained the pros, cons, and how-tos of critique groups.

And I can’t tell you what I learned because, like a big old Corningware percolator, it takes me a while to process and filter baskets of fresh-ground information.

As I review my notes and reflect on what I’ve heard, I’m sure I will have more to say, but for now I feel like one of Gary Larson’s characters.

A student sits in a classroom, thrusting his hand into the air to get the teacher’s attention. “May I please be excused?” he says. “My brain is full.”

The Far Side cartoon is a masterpiece, but my brain…? I’ll let you know when I figure it out.


  1. After Saturday's writing workshops and pitching to an agent, I felt as if I was a simmering crock pot full of ideas, tips and possibilities.
    The only thing I was capable of when I returned home though was to float in my hot-tub in order to escape the the myriad number of thoughts tangled in my mind.
    I had to reclaim my body.

  2. reclaiming the body – what a novel idea, Jodie.

    Did it work, or did you end up floating in the hot tub and rolling everything over in your head?

  3. Jodie, you're so lucky to have a hot tub!

    By the time I got home via ferry and car (talking to Sally Harding for the entire ferry trip), my brain was so full to bursting that it pretty much died - and I went to bed with Nora Roberts and a glass of white wine. Didn't even have the energy to run a bubble bath. And even Nora couldn't keep me awake.

    But then... I woke in the middle of the night with the simmering crock pot of a brain, darn it! Couldn't get back to sleep, so I turned on the light and got back together with Nora, and finished the book. BLACK HILLS. I highly recommend it.

  4. I would highly recommend the 'hot tub' method of disengaging from your mind.
    I was so floaty and relaxed that I drifted off to sleep early.
    It was a treat not to attempt to read or process anything.

  5. I've come down with a serious case of hot tub envy, Jodie. Like Rachel, my brain is like a coffee pot. It'd be great to simmer the old bod while the head percolates.

  6. Hey Rachel, missed your blog this week. Is your brain full or are you taking some time off to "figure it all out"? Let me (us) know if you come up with some answers as my brain appears to have sprung a leak!