I just finished my first MasterClass with Roxane Gay, on Writing for Social Change, and I'd like to share my thoughts about it. First of all, I really like Roxane Gay. Watching her MasterClass feels like sitting right opposite her, listening to her spewing words of wisdom directly at me, and just to me. Yes, it does feel personal, and I think that's what I like about it the most. Roxane has the ability to engage with people in a way that makes you feel comfortable and accepted. She's wise yet approachable, authoritative yet non-judgemental, established yet relatable. Learning from her is an inspiring experience.
Roxane's MasterClass is short - it consists of 20 videos ranging from around 3 minutes to 15 minutes in durations. But it's a comprehensive course. It starts with Roxane sharing her experience of writing as a black feminist, and how she has challenged ideas and minds through her writings. Then she goes on to sharing the technical aspects of writing, i.e. how to get started, the writing process, the writing 'toolbox', how to do research, how to self-edit, how to consume and criticise culture, and how to write about trauma.
It also includes segments called 'The Writer's Workshop,' which feature three aspiring writers reading their work to Roxane, and giving her the chance to comment on them. These workshops are super helpful and are my most favourite part of the whole MasterClass. It helps me see more clearly how the theoretical matters discussed in previous lessons can be put into practice.
The final part of Roxane's MasterClass deals with the 'business sides of writing.' I like the part where Roxane is being honest about how keeping a day job can emancipate a writer from the burdens of having to worry about monthly bills, and as a result provides more spaces and time for creativity and explorations. Something I've been pondering upon and thinking about. Roxane also talks about other practical aspects like how to find an agent, how to get published, and how to become a good literary citizen.
Works of art
As for MasterClass itself, I must say I'm blown away by the quality of the production. The videos are works of art in themselves. On top of that, a downloadable workbook is also included in the class resources segment. I downloaded it expecting to find a PDF containing bullet-point notes or a condensed summary of all the lessons. Instead, I found a beautifully crafted 28-pages e-book with detailed notes and high-quality photos. It's definitely not just a summary of the course; it provides a wealth of additional information not covered in the video lessons. It goes beyond my expectations, and needless to say, I'm very impressed.
Worth the money
The MasterClass costs USD180 per year (which is about MYR700). Annual subscription will give me access to all available lessons on MasterClass for a year, so it sounds like a great investment. I've been contemplating on subscribing to it for a long time, but I keep hesitating. Then my ever proactive friend Yanyi Lee registered first and received a promo of free 7-day membership which she could offer as a gift to anyone she fancies, and of all people she decided to give it to me. I used my 7-day free membership to watch Roxane Gay, and I'm glad I did.
I know it's a bit too early to say, but I'm convinced that I won't regret the money I spent on this.
Now I'm learning The Art of Storytelling from the amazing Neil Gaiman. Will post an update as soon as I'm done.
-ccj, Duvanson, 21 May 2021, 6.02 a.m.