Monday, September 13, 2010

Fascinating Features of Feedback

I'm celebrating the fact I can sleep in tomorrow morning with a 7:25 AM class cancellation by doing a blog. What else can a girl under the drinking age do with no car on a Monday night?

The subject of this blog is feedback. But not just feedback, but how it seems to span past art and into interpreting.

I mused this during this poetry forms/workshop class I take on Monday nights. As the teacher went over the rules of workshopping to the class, I was struck with how similar it was to that 7:25 class where we do the same thing when translating between ASL and English.

The basic rules of a workshop are pretty simple: a group of writers get together, one of them reads their work, then shuts up while the rest of them proceed to give him/her their two cents worth. If you've ever been in a workshop of any kind, you know this can be one of the most humbling experiences in your writing process and one of the most valuable tools in your arsenal. For interpreting it's surprisingly the same way. One of the interpreters performs/recites their translation, then shuts up as the other interpreters give their constructive criticism on the various points of improvement.

I'm left wondering how something so seemingly formulaic can be so similar to something so creative. My theory is, it's because they both play with language for different purposes. Writing plays with language for the sake of art, while interpreting plays with it for the sake of communication. Both change tangible ideas into the most appropriate words to get an idea across. Both utilize chance moments of clarity and strokes of genius to convert words into something new.

Therefore, I've been humbled by God's particular workshopping process by the serendipity in which these two interests of mine have intersected to support each other in a most unlikely way. So different in purpose, yet so alike in technique. If I had the resources to delve into this further, I might just pursue that. But for now, you're suck with my impromptu musings.

What about you? Any experiences interpreting for someone, or even trying to communicate in another language? Has this had any effect on your writing? Do you see any similarities between the two I might have missed, or do you think my thoughts are unfounded?

Workshop this idea with me!


  1. ...workshops and critique groups are the holy grail of penmanship. Discussing the highs and lows of one's work with intelligent peers can be a priceless attribute while fine-tuning that WIP.

    Your writing is intelligent with smooth diving into a copy of The Times.
    Well done:)

  2. Hey there, I actually do not post "snippets" often, but I liked the idea of sharing small pieces from what I have done- helps to remind me what I'm doing every time I view my posts. Thanks for your comments!