Thursday, February 10, 2011

My Writing Course

For years, I never thought I would enjoy teaching the writing course. From one semester to the next, as I laboured through this course, my spirit seemed to steadily die, like a candle flame in its final minutes. I saw the teaching of writing as a chore.

A few years ago, however, a new awareness dawned on me. I began writing columns for newspapers, and that forced me to see writing in a way I had not done before. I used to write mostly academic papers, but writing short articles for newspapers forced me to pay attention to language in a truly special way, to see and appreciate the uniqueness of every word.

A little over ten years ago, I developed a deep interest in Hemingway as a writer and a theorist of writing. Everything Hemingway wrote about writing has inspired me greatly. In my writing classes, I invoke Hemingway the same way a preacher invokes the sacred texts. Hemingway has taught me to love my writing course.

I want my students to experience the joy I experience in revising something I wrote, progressively making it good, or very good. Above all, I want them to experience the joy of touching other human beings through writing.

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