April 29, 2008
Tom Absher, poet and a retired professor from Vermont College, published a monograph: “Writing is Hard Work.” I bought a copy for a dollar or two years ago and still have it to this day. Although I never had Tom as a teacher, I appreciated his work in this mimeographed book. It was a guide to writing annotations for various forms of genre and a very helpful tool for me. I was navigating my uncharted waters of getting a liberal arts education in a non-traditional setting. My experience with the book was back in the “old days’ when Vermont College was part of Norwich University.
The concept, “writing is hard work,” rang true for me then and still does. It’s not that I am a poor writer. It is that I find writing to be “all-consuming.” It can be a creative flow that I can get lost in or it can be an exercise in negative self-editing before I even get the piece written.
One of the reasons that I am writing these blog entries, something that is a huge step for me, is to keep me writing. I expect that my students in AICE (The American Institute for Creative Education) to write reflective papers, reader response/process journals, summative papers, etc. In order for me to have the moral authority to do so, I need to be writing myself.
Writing IS hard work. It is 5 AM. I have already been working for a couple of hours trying to put a new course together. Once again, the thought of writing something new on this blog was on my mind. I acted. I had started with the title of this blog yesterday. Today I decided to put some things down.
For me, this blog is an opportunity for ongoing conversation with my students, who by the way, are really tremendous adults from all over the State of Maine and occasionally from Canada or a neighboring New England state. It is also an opportunity to “practice what I preach: writing–no matter what.”
I think that resistance to writing is not only about hard work, but it is about “risk taking.” Putting one’s thoughts down for others to read requires courage. It is opening oneself up to feedback from others. Jesse Stuart admonished would-be writers to write something that they would like for themselves and not to worry about what other people would think about it. Rainer Maria Rilke said something similar in the book, LETTERS TO A YOUNG POET.
I am curious as to what you, the reader of this blog, do to get yourself writing. Do you write regularly? Do you find writing to be “hard work?”
Well, those are my thoughts this early Tuesday morning. I’ll be looking for your response.