Oct 23 2013

Self-Study Journal Entry (1)

Published by under Reading Responses

If I was placed in a writing workshop hosted by Lamott or Goldberg, I’m not sure how I would respond. From reading their books, I imagine that they have no grading system, and no “classroom” type setting. Both instructors encourage the writer to be more real – to be raw and let writing itself shape the writer. As an English major who is comfortable in the structure of a classroom, I have a difficult time scheduling time to write for myself (besides the occasional blog post). I suppose this brings me to the question of what my personal writing actually is – it seems to generally take on the form of creative nonfiction, in the style of “Waking Up“. The creative nonfiction style sometimes verges on confessional writing, similar to the kind that Deena Metzger discusses in “Writing for Your Life”. In Lamott or Goldberg’s class, I would have the faux crutch of the classroom and deadlines taken away from me, and would have to work on setting my own writing goals. Both authors refer to this as setting aside time to write, and putting aside distractions and to-do lists. I would also have to explore my personal writing style even more, instead of writing for class assignments. In EN301, I have been able to explore my personal writing style a bit, because of the loose structure of the assignments. In Lamott or Goldberg’s class, I would have to explore it even more.

As we’ve discussed in class, Lamott and Goldberg have very different styles – Lamott approaches writing from a down-to-earth perspective (including swearing). Her approach to raw and real involves the ugly, even more so than Goldberg. Goldberg, on the other hand, examines writing from a peaceful, zen-like approach, and her focus on the real involves much more self-examination. It also looks at the world for significance and meaning, whereas Lamott’s approach to the world is something in the vein of ‘yes, the world is ugly, life can be awful – write about it anyways’. In practice, I am more like Lamott, but I respond more to Goldberg because her enlightened approach forces me out of my own head and challenges me to engage in writing as a spiritual practice (when I’ve tried it, it’s been effective. During high school I practiced by blogging something every day for about three months).

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