Tuesday, September 27, 2005

Writing to Express Yourself

Here's another snippet from George Bowering:

When I asked my daughter's elementary school teacher why she was doing "creative writing" instead of grammar, the teacher said it was so that the children could express themselves. I immediately went to work on that kid. If she was going to go around expressing herself she would never be anything more than an elementary school poet, I reasoned. I let her express herself, sure enough. Scream as loud as you want, Precious, I said, these walls are soundproofed. She turned out to be a pretty good poet and a better short story writer. Never would have got past elementary school if she'd been satisfied to express herself.

No one is interested in a recitation of your dreams, and other people are not curious about the patterns or deeper meanings of your vomit or other excreta. If you are so intent on getting all your internal external, it is going to be pretty well the same stuff all your life.

(Left Hook: A Sideways Look at Canadian Writing (Raincoast, 2005) at pp. 136-137.)

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