Saturday, September 17, 2011

the last book I ever read

from The Forest for the Trees: An Editor's Advice to Writers by Betsy Lerner:

I know a writing instructor who is beloved among her students because she is deeply supportive of their work no matter what stage they're at. "It's not as if they're building bombs or hurting people," she says in defense of her approach. "They're just trying to do creative work." It's not that she doesn't know whose work actually shows promise and which students are likely never to write an interesting sentence as long as they live. It's just that she never fails to be astonished by at least one person per semester who seems at the beginning of the class as hopeless as they come and end the course with a powerful piece of writing. Then, of course, there's Flannery O'Connor's opinion to consider. When asked whether she thought writing programs in universities actually discouraged young writers, she replied, "Not enough of them."

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