If This Gets Out, I Won’t Have a Job

The semester starts in ten days, and I’ll be back in the classroom teaching Writing Fiction and a great-books-style class called Homer to the Renaissance. As always, the project of the creative writing class is a little curious to me, and here’s Katharine Anne Porter, musing on one of the central problems:

“Writing, in any sense that matters, cannot be taught. It can only be learned, and learned by each separate one of us in his own way, by the use of his own powers of imagination and perception, the ability to learn the lessons he has set for himself… The good artist is first a good workman…”

Maybe. I think what can be taught is how to read like a writer. In the end, maybe that’s what the workshop is for.

(quote noticed over at Maud Newton’s blog)

One response to “If This Gets Out, I Won’t Have a Job”

  1. I agree with your strategy. I wanted to take a class with you, I think it was American Lit. I know I would have learned a lot but I also might have made some more enemies too. But it’s a good strategy. But I know that some things can only be learned by actually doing them and discovering them first hand. You need to give your students hard deadlines and challenging prompts. Direct them a little bit. Too much freedom can often result in to much fluff, which is good a sandwich but makes for a terrible read. Actually I never like fluff, even with peanut butter and wonder bread. Give me Smucker’s strawberry jam any day. Actually that doesn’t sound too bad right now. Gotta go.And remember what they said: “Gotchas gonna getcha.” Or something along those lines.


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