"I am a Minnesotan by birth and a traveler in wild places by vocation and compulsion." -Paul Gruchow

Tuesday, September 13, 2011

Eng. 150: What is Lost, What Can Never Be Lost

Today, we're reading two Gruchow pieces out of Grass Roots ("Visions" and "Bones"--which are two of my favorites) and Elizabeth Dodd's "Underground." The quest of the day is to examine what is lost and what can never be lost. We're transitioning from reading and discussing essays to drafting our own--and they're turning in rough drafts of their first essay on Thursday. I'm pretty excited to see what they come up with.

We'll talk about how to handle writing about loss, that it's easy to write about loss, but harder to make people care about yours. That there's a difference between writing as therapy and writing as literature. We'll talk about Sue William Silverman's "Voice of Experience" and "Voice of Innocence," online at Brevity, in a longer form in her recently published book on memoir.

Writing Exercises:
  1. Write about a place that seriously challenged your view of the world. Start with physical detail. What is this place? Stay on that level for now.
  2. Who were you before--and who were you after?
  3. Write about a place that should have challenged you, but didn't. Think of Jon Krakauer in the first pages of Into Thin Air. For him, not caring was a process. Other reactions may be more immediate--and that's also worthy of exploration.
  4. How did this make you feel, physically? (Gretchen Legler's Exercise #4)

No comments:

Post a Comment