Sunday, August 27, 2006

Prose's Useful New Prose + Letter to SF Giants

Creative Writing Teaching Texts
One of the ongoing challenges I've found in teaching creative writing classes is finding an adequate standard theoretical or technical text to accompany the stories and novels I assign the students. At the university we've tended to use a common reader, featuring stories by established writers and essays written by teachers in the program, but I've also always supplemented it with a broader and more diverse selection of creative essays and work that I think will benefit my students. In the past, I've also utilized some of the better known readers out, with supplements. Unlike some creative writing teachers, I do think you can teach the art, or better, than you can teach the technical aspects of the art, inculcating an appreciation and desire for risk-taking and problem-solving, or in other words, creativity and innovation. I also believe you can foster more attentive, perceptive and critical reading in creative writing students. It's possible to do this without a standard teaching text, but having one definitely helps. According to today's New York Times Book Review, Francine Prose's seductive new book, Reading Like a Writer: A Book for People Who Love Books and Those Who Want to Write Them, might be just the book many creative writers are looking for. I actually saw it last week when I was in the book shop at the New York Public Library's 42nd St. Research Division (one of my favorite places in all of Manhattan), but didn't pick it up. I just might. Have any Jstheater readers reviewed it yet? Thoughts?

Valentine to the SF Giants
Dear San Francisco Giants,

Thank you so much for doing your part these last few days. By taking 3 out of 4 games in your series with Cincinnati, you have done a great service for the St. Louis Cardinals, who still have almost no starting pitching to speak of, but managed to sweep the Chicago Cubs this weekend. Your victories almost make up for the Mets series. Please tell your reviled superstar Barry Bonds (who went 3-3 today) that the Cardinals fans (and not just Albert Pujols) are especially grateful to his improved play.

BTW, The Dodgers are definitely within your reach.



1 comment:

  1. Harpers magazine's "Fiction Issue" had an excerpt from Prose's book, which I thought was pretty good. I'm looking forward to the entire thing.

    And love the Letter to the Giants!