MasterClass – First Impressions

Time for just a quickie today before I head to Denver to visit family.

We started on the MasterClass classes last night. Wow! We went through the trailers for the classes we thought we might like as a way of winnowing down the list. No winnowing happened. We liked them all, and more. The production values, the quality of the instructors, and the serious focus on excellence makes the MasterClasses stand out to us in a first impression.

We chose two to start with: Joyce Carol Oates on Writing the Short Story and James Suckling’s MasterClass on Wine. Both look excellent.

Joyce Carol Oates seems like a good match for the end of 2019, which has been Carolyn’s Year of the Short Story. The Joyce Carol Oates’ MasterClass is wonderfully intense and filled with subtlety and intellectualism. Those who know me, know I love that sort of thing. I can see a lot of Mary Robinette Kowal’s direction in her focus, though Joyce Carol Oates is even more literary and poetic. It is a good change from Dean, whose roots lie partially in pulp writing.

I am starting to set the writers I am learning from into a cognitive structure and see their antecedents. It’s wonderful. It reminds me of the family tree in Zen and how you can see various ideas move through the chain and mutate until there are all these different branches, related but different and each with their own way of getting at the truth.

We have barely touched the wine course, but it looks like it will be a lot of fun. Steve says that we must drink wine while we watch it. No objections here, but it will require more serious set up than the others. We may study the Great Courses Italian Wines course alongside Suckling’s course since they complement each other. Suckling also focuses on Italy.

I’m so excited to be starting with these courses. I’ll let you know more as I go through them. Right now my takeaway is that I got more than I expected from them.

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