Douglas Glover enthrals writers with his Master Class
MRU professor hots one of the highlights of WordFest
Many people don’t go to WordFest because they imagine it will be full of stuffy writers who just want to show off how good they are.
However, those who actually went to one of the WordFest Master Classes were entertained by a man who loves to talk about “globs” as a writing technique, amongst so many other things.
The Eau Claire room of the Westin Hotel was full of eager writers on Oct. 10, ready to learn at a Master Class led by accomplished author Douglas Glover. His work includes five collections of short stories, two non-fiction works, and four novels — including the critically acclaimed Elle.
The Master Class, hosted by Mount Royal University creative writing instructor Dr. Micheline Maylor, was just one of the many events put on by WordFest, an annual six-day festival that celebrates the written word with events spread out across Calgary and Banff.
“I had been corresponding with Douglas Glover for a few years,” Maylor said. “It was a real pleasure finally putting his face to his name. Hosting the event was educational and energizing.”
Glover’s lecture was largely an extension of his latest book of essays, Attack of the Copula Spiders and Other Essays on Writing, which emphasises the use of form and structure as a guide for the craft.
There were plenty of opportunities throughout his talk to practice the structures he discussed through guided writing exercises, and common mistakes were addressed when those who were brave enough shared their work.
Glover did note, however, that his intention was not necessarily to teach a specific skill, but rather to demonstrate how any writer has the potential to improve his or her writing through careful analysis of literature for the structures discussed.
Maylor, who uses Attack of the Copula Spiders in her teachings, gave Glover’s instructions a positive review. “What fascinates me about Glover is that his training is in philosophy before writing and he uses very unconventional ways of approaching story, including inventing his own terms for story/novel development, such as ‘globs’ and ‘copula spiders’. He also advises, ‘Don’t write what you know.’ This is counter advisory to what most writing professors advocate. I’m certainly glad that J. R. R. Tolkien and Kurt Vonnegut didn’t write what they knew. Yawn.”
Glover’s Master Class lecture was arguably one of the more anticipated events on the WordFest schedule this year, and it did not disappoint.
It was an evening that was beneficial not only for the student-writer — who is the target audience of Attack of the Copula Spiders — but for writers of any experience level looking to advance their craft.
Glover shared his unique ideas of using structure to drive content, rather than the opposite, and that offered those in attendance a new perspective to approach their work.
If you are an aspiring writer of any level and you have the opportunity to learn from Douglas Glover, either in person or by book, take it! You will not be disappointed.