Meet Instructor Catherine Vance!
What is your favorite thing about writing?
There are many jobs to be had in this life! I taught college freshman English for many years, and always knew I was highly replaceable. Universities can snatch up any number of innocent souls to do that stuff! But when you write, you are doing something totally unique. You are creating something that you alone can offer into the world. And sometimes when I see that I’ve made something beautiful, or come up with a great insight in the process, that’s labor well-spent. I can tuck my thumbs in my suspenders and say, “wow, I did that, and I like it.”
If you could pick anyone from history to collaborate on a book with, who would it be?
Such a tough question. Sometimes I think of someone like Aphra Behn, who lived in the 1600s in England and was one of the first women to earn her living by her writing. What an incredible feat at that time in history. But then I think about someone whose work I’d love to emulate and Margaret Atwood comes to mind. Her work has such a perfect combination of feminism, myth, amazing plot, and use of language.
What is the one thing you wish you had known about writing when you were just getting started?
When I was seventeen and won the Texas State High School Ready-Writing Contest and got my name on the bank signs all over town, I wish a little bird had told me, “Honey, you are going to be a beginner for a very long time, so you just better get used to it. Let the rejections roll off. Don’t give up or try to please people. Just keep your head down and stay with it and believe that what you have to say is what you ought to be saying.”
Why take a workshop at Writespace?
Well first of all, they are really fun! I was a student at Writespace before I was a teacher. There is a workshop for so many writing problems and possibilities. The instructors are always interesting and you will get to know your classmates and make connections. Writespace workshops give you a huge return for the small amount of time and money you invest.
What are you currently reading?
On my nightstand I have Belonging by Toko-pa Turner, Howard’s End by E.M. Forster, Sue Monk Kidd’s The Invention of Wings, Man and his Symbols by Carl Jung, and A Course in Miracles.
What do you think is the most interesting thing about you?
OMG. The thing that seems to interest most people is how well I have done starting my life over after coming through a traumatic marriage and divorce. I’m a hula and Zumba dancing writer. My father is almost 100 years old and in relatively good health. I do social justice work and took a group of women to the Civil Rights Trail in Alabama and our journey has been made into an HBO movie. Oh, and I have kept a dream diary for 30 years, and use dreams regularly in my work... So come to my workshop and we can talk about how you can translate your own dreams into your writing!
Learn more about Catherine on her website.