In Praise of Jack Grapes

Jack Grapes

Photo by Lisa Thayer

Today I would like to thank my Method Writing instructor and all-around good guy, Jack Grapes. Jack Grapes has helped thousands of writers find their voice using his brilliant Method Writing techniques. By applying the rules of method acting to writing, Jack teaches his students the mechanics and various styles of writing. His students learn how to create a voice-driven narrative as well as the concepts necessary for a scene (image/moment).

I was working on a story about war that I hoped would become a screenplay. I was stuck on the sixhth page – I was suffering from writer’s block! My cousin suggested I enroll in Jack’s writing class. I remember the first day in the Beginning level class when I had to read my essay in front of the whole group. I was a nervous wreck. My hands were trembling. But with Jack’s guidance and the nurturing environment of his supportive class, I learned to relax. I learned to let go, to dig deep, to massage “the Absence of Field,” to call on the Muses for inspiration and to invoke “the Dreaded Associations.”

At the end of the 8-week session each student created a chapbook of his or her work in class. We were also invited to read our poetry or prose onstage at Beyond Baroque in Venice, California. I enrolled in more sessions and learned the different voices as well as how to write short poems. Method writing was even more fun than screenwriting for me.

Some loyal students have stayed with Jack for over 35 years!  Jack Grapes does not run out of material. Not only do his students learn from his books, they are encouraged to practice and write while channeling famous writers or poets such as Charles Bukowski and Ellen Bass. Other talented students even have channeled the music of the Rolling Stones or Miles Davis in their writing.

There was never a dull moment in class. I looked forward to Wednesday mornings, since I knew I would be inspired by the brilliant group, when they gathered to share their stories. I’ve kept in touch with many of my fellow classmates and members of the Los Angeles Collective of Poets and Writers. We cheer each other on and share our successes and failures.

Thank you Jack for the gift of words and for your inspiration.

For more information about method writing in Los Angeles email Jack Grapes: jgrapes@ca.rr.com

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