Friday, January 11, 2013

Some comments on the three samples:

Here are three samples. They are not just undifferentiated heaps of adjectives and "feelings" and descriptions of scenes as perfect as the scene on a postcard. Postcards are nice, but not exactly part of the real world. These three samples are real world pieces.

As promised, all three samples give us nature but also give us the writer. The mind of the author weaves through all these descriptions; each of them is about both things in the natural world and things in the writer's world. Unless one is a gifted poet (and remember this class is all about nonfiction prose) and can sing songs as pretty but as non-individual as a bird, I don't quite see how one can write about nature without including the writer's world. If you do see a way that works for you and for me too, I will be the first to break out the champagne and confetti and celebrate, but, for what it's worth, my best guess is that you've got to put yourself into the material as you read in the samples.

Notice also how discursive all three pieces are. They get their power from being willing to explore and go off in different directions and then eventually looping back. That's demanding of the writer but pays off pretty quickly as it helps the writer develop the writing and find out what he really wants to write about; it's an approach that to me makes much more sense that keeping to a strict outline or worrying about "thinking" ahead of time. How can you know what you think until you start to write!?!

For example, when I started the #2 piece, I thought it was going to be all about tearing down one stone wall and using the stones to build another. I got there eventually but the piece wound up going in different directions first.

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