“All poetry begins as self-expression. But if I only write for myself, who’s going to want to read what I’ve written except me? I tell my students that, at some point, writing stops being self-expression and starts being communication, or it fails. Whether you read me or not, I’m writing for you.”
Source: Kirby’s “Thirteen Things I Hate About Poetry,” in Lit from Within: Contemporary Masters on the Art & Craft of Writing, edited by Kevin Haworth and Dinty W. Moore, a book I finished reading this past weekend.
“Interesting characters, intriguing situations, beautiful sentences. Hauntings.”
–Charles Baxter, responding when asked, “What do you think a good short story collection should deliver?”
Source: The Story Prize blog
“No one should write like me. I am the slowest writer in America. But I write passionately.”
–Dorothy Allison, in response to a question, “What advice do you have on writing?”
Source: “Survivor out of Carolina” (interview with Dorothy Allison), The Writer, August 2011.
During my MFA program, I’d found many of the unspoken rules unsettling, but as a “good girl” I was adept at submerging such feelings without a second thought. I saw what happened to “bad girls,” who questioned the system, who demanded attention. Our teachers derided them when they left the room or at the bar after class. I knew I had a limited amount of time to learn what I could from this system. I had no intention of wasting my time trying to change it. Instead, I bowed my head, re-adjusted my blinders, and got to work.
–Stephanie Vanderslice, Rethinking Creative Writing in Higher Education: Programs and Practices that Work
Stephanie Vanderslice (a.k.a. Wordamour) may indeed have “bowed [her] head” and quieted herself–accomplishments that I, alas, did not manage back when I questioned how things “worked” (or didn’t work) in my own MFA program. But she never forgot her questions, and as a tenured professor she has become an expert in creative-writing pedagogy. I have recently had the privilege of reading her new book, Rethinking Creative Writing in Higher Education, and I am thrilled to announce that Practicing Writing will soon host an interview with Professor Vanderslice about it. Please stay tuned!
“The three things you need [to become an author] are desire, time and tools.”
Source: Cohen’s book, Writer on the Side: How to Write Your Book Around Your 9 to 5 Job. Read my review on Goodreads.