In the last post, I reflected a bit on what I might do differently with this course. Adding David Wojnarowicz is one possibility; adding excerpts from his journal, Cobain’s journals, might be another possibility. To add those elements would start to shift the balance of the course from academically informed personal writing to personal writing. That would probably be more fun, but not sure it is what students need.
I’ve also been thinking that the course lacks a clear framework. I’ve tried to provide that with references to “Writing Next,” but that seems a little weak. I wonder if a short history of the essay would provide a more logical framework? From the essai (or “attempts”) of Montaigne, a genre that emerges at the dawn of modern individuals consciousness, to The Spectator of Addison and Steele, to the creative nonfiction and memoir craze of the late 20th, early 21st century (lots of gaps to fill). I could put more emphasis on venues for getting published, so the students in the class who really want to write and get published, have clearer outlets. I could also put creative nonfiction as a genre in the context of high school and college curricula. The New York Times ran an article about schools trying to engage deeper thinking in English via (although they don’t say it) students reading and writing essays like “Is Google Making Us Stupid?”
These are just a few ideas; I hope my students (and other visitors) can take the time to comment on this post. What should “Advance Writing Workshop” cover and do?