February 25th-The 2009 Protagonists' Diary

Dear Diary,

I am on a journey to discovering so very much about writing.  I’m currently taking a poetry class at college and I have learned more about what writing is and how it is done in a few short weeks than I learned in years of reading and writing on my own.  Hold onto your hats, (be they brimmed, or not,) because this does relate to you.  Each week in my poetry class we read an essay that is about writing and we write responses and we have a class discussion about it.

We are a community of writers, right?  And most of us want to become better writers, right?  So what I’m suggesting is this: let’s every month have an essay, article, or a book about writing that we read together and have someplace on the site where we can talk about it. 

They will become shared resources, and help us develop a shared vocabulary to talk about writing.  So for example, if you saw someone writing a poem or a story that you thought could be improved if they were aware of some technique or some historical precedence that had come up in a previous articles or discussions… then you could point them that direction, and they wouldn’t think you were crazy.  Along with the current reading ‘assignment’, there could be an archive of past essays/books.

We could have a place where people suggested, and maybe even voted on, which essays/books about writing we would read.  I think the focus of the essays could vary… and you could always choose not to read those that didn’t particularly interest you.  For example, if you really couldn’t care less about poetry, and the essay was specifically about poetry, you could choose not to participate.  Otherwise, I think everyone should be encouraged to participate as they can.

For example, I’ll start off with two suggestions.

I think everyone who likes writing or reading poetry should get their hands on a cheep used copy of A Poetry Handbook by Mary Oliver.  It is a thorough introduction to writing poetry, introducing the reader to form, and the functions of different things in informal poetry, while using lots of great poets as examples.

A little harder to get through, but helpfully online (http://www.bartleby.com/200/sw4.html) is the essay “Tradition and the Individual Talent” by T.S. Eliot.  I could see some fascinating discussions arising from this one. 

That’s just two… I’m sure we can find a lot more on a great variety of writing topics.

Well that’s my thought for the day.  I’m on a journey to becoming a better writer, and while practicing may be the best way there, thinking about craft and understanding the ideas behind what we do make a lot of sense.


The End

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