Writing Papers & Stuff (supposed to be)

Sometimes you have to treat yourself. So I bought a new iPOD for those extended research hours in the library…those long walks to class…getting dressed in the morning. I about burned my little Nano out. I need my music and 4 GB just wasn’t enough any more. With that said, in playing with setting up my iPOD, I have missed out on two days of planned research. I’m supposed to write on how specific authors re-imagine post-imperial Britain in their works.

I would like to say I’m finished with my White Teeth outline, but my professor handed me a book last week that I have to review to make sure I’ve covered everything (he said I don’t have to, which means I should). While reviewing this resource, I found an interesting quote that sums up my feelings about writing. I remember somebody telling me that he didn’t know many award-winning fiction authors with Ph.Ds in literature. I didn’t understand his point. Does that mean it can’t be done? There’s a guy in the program with me who writes poetry and whose literary analysis is always on point. I admire that. Check out what Zadie Smith thinks about the idea:

When asked whether writing can be taught through creative writing classes, her negative response emphasized instead the importance of writers as readers: “The best, the only real training you can get is from reading other people’s books.” This assertion suggest that a literary education plays a crucial, if not always direct, role in her fiction.
(Squires 10)

I believe Mat Johnson said something along similar lines during his writing workshop last summer. I believe that becoming a good writer takes literary knowledge (yes, you have to be a reader) and a few creative writing classes. Can’t hurt, right? Then I think it takes you writing about things that you know, have seriously researched, or things that are close to you. For example, Donald Goines attempted to write westerns, but the only western/cowboy lives that he knew of were shown on a movie screen. But when he wrote about street life, now that’s what he knew. Now, I don’t necessarily believe that you have to taking writing classes to be a good writer, but it definitely takes practice. I guess that’s obvious. Tell me about one person who sat down and said, “I want to publish a book today” who actually did.

I’m attending a creative writing workshop on campus this week. The creative writing class that I took this semester…I’ll say it’s been pretty cool. It allowed me the opportunity to explore my poetic voice, which I don’t really do. I would share some of the poems that I created in class (that I think are worthy), but I’m “sensitive about my shit” especially since poetry just ain’t really my thang.

Research calls. Happy reading ya’ll.

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