Wednesday, September 8, 2010


When I was an undergrad at San Francisco State, I took some fabulous art classes. One of them was a sculpture class which was assisted by Ptah*, a tall, wiry Rastafarian with a real smile.

Ptah was a graduate student. He was broke and 40-ish, and any day, any time, you could find him in the studio: helping strugglers like me, or mixing or firing the clay, or smoothing his art with his large, kind hands.

One day in class, Ptah told us to look at our works from a different perspective. From above, perhaps. Or from below. To turn it, and see it from the side.

I was making a big African head--maybe a planter?--that I thought was almost finished.

But when I turned it, I noticed that the chin and cheeks were under-defined and the nose was way too big.

It needed some serious work. Revision.

Twenty-one years later, I've been thinking about how I can apply all this to writing.

Can anyone help me pay homage to Ptah and use his advice?

*The last day of class, we found out that Ptah named himself after the Egyptian God of Creation.


Rick said...

Thanks for visiting the blog and commenting Jennie! :) Swimming and dinner, sounds like a little date to me for oyur son! But great he went back to his nerf gun! Man I miss those things.

Great post, perspective can really make or break a piece of work i think. Ptah sounds like a very inspiring man.



Shannon O'Donnell said...

Hmmm...interesting question, Jennie. Could you follow your story through the perspective of a different character in order to see it differently??

DLCurran said...

Jennie - great post... and I'm wondering if I can use Shannon's idea of following a different character. Maybe rewrite some pivotal scenes from a couple of characters present and see what they do?

Bethany Mattingly said...

If I'm looking for another perspective on the same piece of work, I try to write it from another person's POV or write it like I'm looking down on the situation, not a part of it, but just observing. I don't know if that will help you or not, but it definitely seems like you had some great times in your art class.