The Canadian Writers' Collective

Writing, and writerly tangents

Tuesday, January 23, 2007

Mlle D’s 3 / 4 Split

by J.A. McDougall

Talk about our jobs to the class? Not all of us have jobs. Well, it’s not like that…there are tons of jobs here, in Calgary… too many for the number of people, calls to apply appear on every store window, every cash desk, every register receipt. It’s not that I couldn’t get a job if I wanted one. And it’s not that I’m lazy…I even feel badly about all these jobs, like maybe I should rethink things and pitch in and help out the Calgary economy. I used to have a job… a career, really. I could talk about that….no? Too dated, I guess. There are other mothers who have more interesting, more current job experiences to talk about.

No, she hasn’t mentioned anything about this.

Are you sure she said author? I’m not an author, I’m a writer, and it’s really more like a hobby. For children? No, no, no. My writing is for adults…all of it…I think…not that it’s…well, I could read it to them, I just don’t know if they’d…you know.

Monique’s coming? Oh how nice…she’ll be interesting, she’ll have her stretch board with her…maybe she’ll teach them a technique to help their parents relax…yes, hah! Right…of course, Ethan’s grandmother in her black robe…yes, she’s great, really approachable…yeah the kids will love that…and Barb will bring maybe a drill bit…wow them with a demonstration of how to extract petroleum from the oil sands and present her side of the environment argument.

Maybe she did say something about community services.

Hey, I could probably find something that would work. A story to read…yeah…a short one…straightforward. For the next unit? The creative writing unit? After Christmas? Yeah, I guess so. Main ideas and detail…yes…I know what you mean. Strategies for writer’s block…three of them? Ummm…okay. Sure. I’d love to.


Can anyone identify the main idea? Yes, Pierre is going to town, but why is he doing that? That’s right! Good answer! And now what might happen to him there? Yeah, I suppose that could happen, anyone else? Yes! That’s a very creative idea!

Let’s use all of our senses for a moment, and think about details that could be added to this section of the story….what might Pierre be hearing when he arrives at the town? Voices… good. What kind of voices? Yes! Good! Now what about taste…and touch?! Could Pierre feel the wind? Some dust carried on the wind? Afraid? Ummm, I guess he could be feeling afraid…but what is it that his hands are touching? Worried? Yes, he is probably feeling worried, but let’s try to use our five senses right now. Let’s take smell…

Who can guess the time period in which this story takes place? Maybe…1960…maybe a bit earlier…1922, sure…yes? A question? Sure, go ahead. Who do I hire to do my illustrations? Well…uhm… I haven’t needed…I guess that’s something I’ll have to think about for the future, is that ok? Oh…you’d like to be an illustrator… really?! That’s wonderful. Oh I’m sure you’ll do very well…what’s that? You would? Yes please! A drawing of Pierre and his dog in the cart on the path… that would be very nice…you’re very sweet. Thank you. Very much.


Blogger Anne C. said...

Too funny. And you say you have the flu?

Tue Jan 23, 10:39:00 am GMT-5  
Blogger Tricia Dower said...

You make us work for this, Jen. I like it! Is Mlle D the teacher?

Tue Jan 23, 12:13:00 pm GMT-5  
Blogger Anne C. said...

Mademoiselle D's three-four split class.

Tue Jan 23, 12:46:00 pm GMT-5  
Blogger J.A. McDougall said...

Thanks you guys, feeling a better today. Hope I haven't been too cryptic, wanted to try something new...

Tue Jan 23, 01:38:00 pm GMT-5  
Blogger H.E.Eigler said...

This was a fun piece Jen! I liked the one sidedness of it - very fresh!

Tue Jan 23, 05:23:00 pm GMT-5  
Blogger Steve Gajadhar said...

Who needs a real job anyways. And what ever happened to Pierre?

Wed Jan 24, 02:38:00 pm GMT-5  
Blogger Patricia said...

I LOVE YOU!!!! hope you're better honey, this is freakingtastic..xoxo

Sat Jan 27, 03:29:00 pm GMT-5  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

I enjoyed your article, Jen. My mother-in-law said when she was raising her children, "I have a job. I just don't get paid for it and it's the most important job anyone could have - taking care of children."

Diane Smith
Maple Room

Sun Jan 28, 11:40:00 am GMT-5  

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