Wednesday, February 5, 2014

Writing Backwards, and Better

Having had a couple dozen of my essays published (in the past 20 or so years) so misled me that I decided to publish a collection of my essays. Then, and only then,* did I seek out advice and instruction on writing essays. 

Genius, right? Well, I don't expect a writing conference to be named after me anytime soon.

Anyway, I'll share the good stuff as I find it. The first gem I found on writing essays is a witty discourse by Paul Graham. He pulled me in by stating what I've felt for years yet didn't understand well enough to verbalize:
"...due to a series of historical accidents the teaching of writing has gotten mixed together with the study of literature. And so all over the country students are writing not about how a baseball team with a small budget might compete with the Yankees, or the role of color in fashion, or what constitutes a good dessert, but about symbolism in Dickens.
With the result that writing is made to seem boring and pointless. Who cares about symbolism in Dickens? Dickens himself would be more interested in an essay about color or baseball. ..." 
Happy reading.

*Yes of course I've heard of E.B. White. Unfortunately, his works seem all tangled up in that writing-essays-as-critiques-of-literature period of my life, aka high school and college. I'll get back to them. Hey, every recovery has to start somewhere. 

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