June 11, 2009

The Inherence Of Writing

Creative writing programs are pointless? So the thousands of writers who enter them each year are essentially fools who will never see the As a former English major, I found Louis Menand's recent article in The New Yorker intriguing. His article profiles examples of creative writing instruction by several renowned authors including Tobias Wolff and E.L Doctorow. In this end, he touts the experience of being in a creative writing class as valuable but hardly integral to the path that led to his eventual career. Menand's most interesting point is that writing cannot be taught, but encouraged. It follows on one of my earlier posts about the idea of genius being a visitor, occasionally making an appearance. The frequency and timing of the appearance is out of one's control, and may never appear at all. One can only prepare for the visiting genius through practice and discipline. I think creative writing programs afford its students that chance to ready themselves for those moments of genius that hopefully arrive. Being surrounded by one's peers in an incubator that forces you to think about experiences and musings to feed you work is probably one of the best environments to receive your inspiration. However, a narrow margin of creative writing students will be published and find fame. It's a price that these students elect to pay for the chance to encounter their genius and join the elite group of the published set.

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