Today, June 6 th. 9:30-11:00: Creative Writing (Me) 12:00-1:30: Literary Studies: (Davin) 1:30-3:00: Composition & Rhetoric (Steve) 3:00-4:00: Afternoon Workshop (Jade) In Creative Writing today… We’ll share and talk about our favorite quotations from Skittish Libations.
9:30-11:00: Creative Writing (Me)
12:00-1:30: Literary Studies: (Davin)
1:30-3:00: Composition & Rhetoric (Steve)
3:00-4:00: Afternoon Workshop (Jade)
In Creative Writing today…
We’ll share and talk about our favorite quotations from Skittish Libations.
We’ll dive into the whole enterprise of Creative Writing with questions and no answers. If you actually think you have answers, I hope to set you straight.
Let’s sort of start by just yapping a bit about the whole creative enterprise.What quotation did you select in Skittish Libations, and why? What, for you, is “art”? What is “creative writing”? What is the process one goes through on the way to creating fabulous poetry and fiction?
Note that some types, such as satire, mock or interrogate reality
The invention of reality
of reality (art as a hammer
An escape from reality; a
sedative or distraction
Defiance of reality; reality as it ought to
Something produced solely for others; a means of pleasing an audience
A mysterious inborn talent
Expression that is shaped and crafted
The honoring of tradition
A pile of crap; a hoax; excuse for not having a REAL job
A learnable skill
Emotional or psychological therapy
The subversion of tradition
Expression that is wide-open and free
Self-expression; solely for self ; exploration of one’s unique vision
So nobody knows how to define it.
Or there’s no final definition.
Then how do we learn it?
How does it get taught? Should I, as a teacher, emphasize process or product? Craft or free exploration? The work of antiquity or the work of the future?
How is it distinguished from any other kind of writing and so what’s it’s place in the schools at any level? In other words…
= the branch of English Studies that involves teaching and learning how to write creatively, right?
Can it really be taught? Isn’t it about talent and a mysterious ability to summon the muse?
What’s it doing in a university? How do you evaluate it?
How does it relate to Rhetoric and Composition, Literary Studies, Linguistics, Technical Writing? Isn’t writing in these fields creative also?
What’s more important: the writing of literature or the study of it?
Isn’t all language creative, really? Why even have a distinct field called Creative Writing? Can’t business reports, department memos, shopping lists, Facebook status updates, even check-writing all be “creative”?
In some of its earliest appearances in higher ed, Creative Writing was offered to help students understand literature better. I.e., it was in the service of literature studies.
The idea was that by writing some fiction, poetry, or drama themselves, students would better understand the masterpieces of literature.
a bunch of teachers who were also writers wanted to get together with other writers and blab about their work—
in a college setting. (Couldn’t hang out in the bistros of Paris or Gertrude Stein’s salon anymore, so had to get together somewhere…)
Not scholarly like other disciplines. The MFA is a studio degree. Very different criteria.
Not really “academic.” Considered to be even a “spiritual” discipline.
A “soft” subject. Workshop approach is considered by some to be whimpy: writers who want to talk with other writers sit in a circle and read/discuss their stuff, while a teacher/published writer chimes in.
It has been influenced by postmodern theory, composition studies, and English education.
The way it is taught is changing here and there…
You can now study “the teaching of Creative Writing” as a subject itself. Or “Creative Writing Studies” which examines:
Creative writing pedagogy
The culture of creative writing/creative writing in the culture
The history of creative writing in the university.
You can get an MA and PhD in “Creative Writing Studies.”
Me? What in the heck do I do as a teacher of the stuff? When I go into the creative writing classroom…
How do you say that someone is drunk?
How many animal metaphors do we use everyday?
Where did most worn-out metaphors come from, and how do we keep the language alive? Look at Lorrie Moore…
1. Her face was a perfect oval, like a circle that had its two sides gently compressed by a Thigh Master.
2. His thoughts tumbled in his head, making and breaking alliances like underpants in a dryer without Cling Free.
3. He spoke with the wisdom that can only come from experience, like a guy who went blind because he looked at a solar eclipse without one of those boxes with a pinhole in it and now goes around the country speaking at high schools about the dangers of looking at a solar eclipse without one of those boxes with a pinhole in it.
4. She grew on him like she was a colony of E. Coli, and he was room-temperature Canadian beef.
5. She had a deep, throaty, genuine laugh, like that sound a dog makes just before it throws up.
6. Her vocabulary was as bad as, like, whatever.
8. The revelation that his marriage of 30 years had disintegrated because of his wife’s infidelity came as a rude shock, like a surcharge at a formerly surcharge-free ATM machine.
9. The little boat gently drifted across the pond exactly the way a bowling ball wouldn’t.
10. McBride fell 12 stories, hitting the pavement like a Hefty bag filled with vegetable soup.
11. From the attic came an unearthly howl. The whole scene had an eerie, surreal quality, like when you’re on vacation in another city and Jeopardy comes on at 7:00 p.m. Instead of 7:30.
12. Her hair glistened in the rain like a nose hair after a sneeze.
14. Long separated by cruel fate, the star-crossed lovers raced across the grassy field toward each other like two freight trains, one having left Cleveland at 6:36 p.m. Traveling at 55 mph, the other from Topeka at 4:19 p.m. At a speed of 35 mph.
15. They lived in a typical suburban neighborhood with picket fences that resembled Nancy Kerrigan’s teeth.
16. John and Mary had never met. They were like two hummingbirds who had also never met.
17. He fell for her like his heart was a mob informant, and she was the East River.
18. Even in his last years, Granddad had a mind like a steel trap, only one that had been left out so long, it had rusted shut.
19. Shots rang out, as shots are want to do.
21. The young fighter had a hungry look, the kind you get from not eating for a while.
22. He was as lame as a duck. Not the metaphorical lame duck, either, but a real duck that was actually lame, maybe from stepping on a land mine or something.
23. The ballerina rose gracefully en Pointe and extended one slender leg behind her, like a dog at a fire hydrant.
24. It was an American tradition, like fathers chasing kids around with power tools.
25. He was deeply in love. When she spoke, he thought he heard bells, as if she were a garbage truck backing up.
Once a student wrote a piece from the point of view of a deer. It described a hunter’s gun as “a branch that barks.”
Focusing on particular traditions:
The Oral Tradition (the Bard)
or slam performance?
Listen to Spoken Word selections,
plus Beat poems with jazz accompaniment
Describe what you see on the table. REALLY LOOK. The thing. The thing itself.
Make the object…
Are you being dull?
Are you being predictable?
Are you thinking too much?
Try a thesaurus…
The Surrealist Manifesto
“I believe in the future resolution of these two states, dream and reality, which are seemingly so contradictory, into a kind of absolute reality, a sur-reality.”
the principles, ideals, or practice of producing fantastic or incongruous imagery or effects in art, literature, film, or theater by means of unnatural juxtapositions and combinations. An attempt, through these random, irrational juxtapositions and combinations, to make make a new reality or a new whole.
I saw the rabbit, as soft as cotton, his eyes bright, munching the grass.
I saw the rabbit, ripe as a hammer, his eyes boiled, baptizing the grass.
(random words from carpentry, religion, cooking)
I saw the rabbit, as Monday as Van Gogh’s ear, eyes in search of Harvard, document the grass.
(random words from stuff on my desk)
The names of Aztec gods were on one page,
serotonin uptake inhibitors on the other.
Here, you said: another baby avocado tree.
You threw your shoe. I broke
the refrigerator and the fossil fish.
I broke my shoulder blade.
I tried to make jambalaya.
To relax the organism, the cookbook said,
pound with a mallet on the head or shell.
I love you. This remarkable statementhas appeared on earth to substantiate the clams.
Here's your fire
welcome to the glacier.
Don't think I wasn't shocked when
you were a traffic signal
and I a woodpecker.
I can't make it any clearer than that
and stay drunk.
“intelligence is often the enemy of poetry, because it limits too much, and it elevates the poet to a sharp-edged throne where he forgets that ants could eat him or that a great arsenic lobster could fall suddenly on his head—”
“The duende...Where is the duende? Through the empty arch comes a wind, a mental wind blowing relentlessly over the heads of the dead, in search of new landscapes and unknown accents, a wind that smells of baby’s spittle, crushed grass, and jellyfish veil, announcing the constant baptism of newly created things.”
Duende is “the melancholy demon of Descartes: a demon who was small as a green almond and who sickened of circles and lines and escaped down the canals to listen to the songs of blurry sailors”
you hear it
Yes! Absolutely! Except…
Creative Writing is any writing that isn’t done for someone else.Creative Writing is for the writer. The same I would say holds true for any kind of art.An artist creates a painting for his/herself, and the folks walking around the gallery are privileged to see it. A musician creates an album about something personal in his life and the listeners are simply “along for the ride”.
Is the audience really that irrelevant? Is this the kind of art you/we typically spend our money on? CDs? Big budget films?
Creative writing is without restrictions, or not many of them. Individuals are free to express themselves and be original. Too many rules and restrictions suppress creativity since individuals are so limited. Creative writing can be described as freedom of writing where emotions are not concealed and the creator is present within each piece of work.
Yep, completely true!
—except, um, what about form? Craft?
And, again, how come this isn’t the art that most of us actively support?
Rhetorical component of any piece of writing
Creative writing is one of the most powerful ways to expel and express feelings, thoughts, and ideas. Writing and all art is meant to affect and influence the minds and emotions of others. The needs of the audience are important and writer should make some compromises, however a writer should never compromise their message.
Or is it something we do for its sake—without any exterior purpose?
Creative writing is something that I want to do because it helps me feel connected. It is a way for me to tap into my subconscious thoughts and desires. It’s a way for me to express those to others.
Ethical purpose of art?
All art should be educative (assuming there’s a way things should be – that there is a right way), for what possible value could art possess if it did not lead us towards what is ultimately good? This leads us to the point that we must first know what is good. I’m not so sure we (as a people/collective consciousness) actually do know what is good (though we often assume we do). Fortunately, creative writing allows for the opportunity for each individual artist to search (however they so choose) for what is true and good through a process of self-expression, and thus, self-realization. I could go off on this for hours, but I hope this gives a general outline of why I write.
P.S. Sorry this is so late, I was at the RNC and then went to a musical this weekend. But I can’t wait to meet you all later
Ok, the REAL truth comes out. Art’s an excuse to be a slacker! Plato was right…
Creative writing is for writing very creatively. It is for fun, enjoyment, and school type people. Art is for those people who enjoy art. It is hard to say if the writer’s or audience’s needs are more important because, when juxtaposing them, only an english teacher could determine whose needs institute more need. It should be determined on an individual basis. All students should take creative writing so they can learn to write better.
Lacey L. Locket (Sam Schanhaar)
The extraction and amplification of ancient DNA (aDNA) is a recent discovery in the history of science. The concept of ancient DNA has eluded scientists …within the Cretaceous epoch, reportedly also yielded authentic DNA (Cano et al. 1993). DNA retrieval was also not limited to y and epidemiology. The field of ancient DNA is constantly growing with the advent of new techniques concerning extraction and amplification in conjunction with individuals such as Savante Pääbo and Russ Higuchi. There have been numerous tissues that have been subjected to aDNA research including Neanderthal remains, King Tut, and Otzi.
Ancient DNA is genetic material that is recovered from historical and pre-historical specimens. Ancient DNA can be obtained from archaeologically or preserved in a museum environment. Ancient DNA can be retrieved from skeletal material, mummified tissues, and hair. Viable samples can be obtained from dry, wet, and frozen specimens. Samples of ancient DNA can be extracted from plants, animals and insects […]
Exploitation of Accident!
the oblivion ha-ha
Forget all these questions—creative writing is the writing of poetry and fiction. Duh. The end.
Creative writing, in my opinion, is poetry, prose, really it’s anything that you don’t need to do extensive research to writeand doesn’t need a bibliography. Creative writing can be something totally new, or something ripped off from one of the greats, just a little different; different enough, at least, to not get sued. It can be a way of expressing yourself,resolving inner conflicts,or just killing time.
therapy (back to the self)
Does/can the work have a mind of its own? Some artists have spoken about it in these terms…
the life & rights of the work itself!
the very broad view
I don’t think I can answer all of these questions in a single paragraph (or a single page) so I’ll focus on one of them. As to the question of whose needs are most important the writer’s or the audience’s, I believe that once a particular piece of writing is set down, that the author in a sense ceases to exist. The writing takes it’s place among all other forms of writing and is organized and categorized based on the work that has come before. Once the writing is set down, it becomes an entity onto itself, an artifact of a specific time and environment. Asking whose needs are more important is like asking who gets the most value from a relic unearthed in an archeological dig, those people who originally used it in their daily lives, or those scientists who use it to gain a glimpse of that daily life hundreds or thousands of years in the future.The artifact meets both groups needs in completely different ways and remains ready to fulfill other needs in whatever situation is brought to bear. As a writer, I try to remain focused on this belief, as I think it helps me distance myself from the work, and allows me to approach it from a vantage point other than one of self interest and vanity.
the cultural and historical dimension
where did eric go?
who was eric…
was there ever an eric…
losing one’s self in the work?