Wayson Choy at WCDR

I took away some great tidbits from Wayson Choy's talk at the WCDR breakfast this morning. It was the first time I have attended one of their monthly breakfast meetings although I've been to the related Ontario Writers Conference.

When I first stepped into the dining room at the Ajax Convention Centre, it reminded me of facing the cafeteria, my first day of grade nine. Most of the seats were full and there were countless unfamiliar faces. I sat down at a table near the back and crossed my fingers. I needn't have worried. WCDR members are very friendly. I enjoyed meeting new writers and saying hello to others I knew from CANSCAIP and beyond.

Choy began his talk by evoking discipline. He encouraged us to never give up but to find an individual writing process. Choy criticized teachers who insist all students learn as they do, likening this to a "teaching disability." With my background in special education, I have to agree. There are many ways to mastery and they are seldom the same for everyone.

Choy emphasized writers must try different methods and switch if they don't work. In other words: "If at first you don't succeed, don't be an idiot."

My other favorite Choy quotes were: "Good writing is great gossip" and "Don't call yourself a failure until you understand that failure is your teacher."

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