Does A Writing Class Necessarily Need to Make You a Good Writer?


A point to ponder.

I am now reading a collection of short stories by Ernest Hemingway that Gunny sent me because he is a fan of Hemingway’s writing.

It has occurred to me that maybe what I will get out of this Fiction Writing class isn’t an ability to be a writer myself, but the ability to appreciate good writing in others.

I don’t ever remember reading a Hemingway book.  So, maybe I have finally “grown up” so that I can appreciate his writing. 

A very interesting, unexpected turn of events that I would never have predicted when I signed up for a writing class.

9 Responses to Does A Writing Class Necessarily Need to Make You a Good Writer?

  1. Yes, that is a benefit and joy of writing, isn’t it? You can see the beauty in what others have created, and appreciate that it didn’t come without a lot of effort. I also now look at movies with that same eye, and music, photography, dance, paintings, etc. I wonder how they pieced it all together, how they worked, when they worked, where they worked, what inspired them, what idea got them started on the piece, etc.

    Reading someone like Hemingway makes me say, “Ah, that’s how it’s done!” Nothing is a better teacher than a master, and reading is the best way to learn to write, in my opinion. Read, read, read, but don’t forget to write, write, write, too.

    If you are enjoying your short-stort readings, you might like the NPR program called “Selected Shorts.” It’s a weekly radio program that features actors reading short stories on stage at Symphony Space in NYC. I think you would like it. There is also “This American Life” on NPR. That is a show with non-fiction stories read by the authors…and it’s really wonderful, too, in teaching how to tell a story, hook the audience, set the pace and tone, get to the essence, etc. Check your local NPR station for listings, or google the programs and listen online…which I do when I work on crafts or cook in the kitchen or relax on the couch. Perhaps you already listen and I’m preaching to the choir.

  2. Sandra says:

    SBW — I had to laugh when I opened this. The length of your comment demonstrates your passion for the subject! I will look for the NPR programs. Thanks for the tip.

  3. tz says:

    NPR rocks…
    ok, maybe it’s too cerebral to ‘rock’ or be ‘cool’ but I very much enjoy NPR too.

    Have you read the book The Red Tent? That was the book for me that said “oh, this is how it’s done” Not only was the story beautiful, the way she strung the words together were poetic and beautiful..

    And…for what it’s worth, I enjoy your writing very much.

  4. Yes, Sandra, I guess I did go on and on! It is a subject I care about. And guess what, Isaiah Sheffer said hi to me today! Of course, he has no idea who I am and that I’m a fan of Selected Shorts, but it was a little thrill for me. I’m such a book geek, truly, and hearing Isaiah Sheffer’s voice say, “hi,” makes me giddy. Next time I see him, I’m going to push him to say, “How are you?” I’ll probably faint.

  5. Sandra says:

    tz — thank you, friend. Being “pen Pals” with articulate, well-read people like you and SBW is the biggest plus I have found to joining the blog world. You stretch my mind (and I’m finding out it’s more “elastic” that I thought!)

    SBW — You KNOW I have NO problem with comments that are more than one sentence. In fact, have left many like that myself, especially on YOUR blog! So, please, always tell me what you’re thinking no matter how many words it takes. I am always interested.

    I am not familiar with Isaiah Sheffer, but I met Ann Ruhl once (whoever Isaiah is, I’m guessing you are laughing at Ann being compared to him), and I think it was probably the same feeling — “I can’t believe he/she’s acknowledging ME!”
    With Ann, I couldn’t stop thinking, “She talked to TED BUNDY just like she’s talking to me!”

  6. Sandra says:

    Okay, SBW. I just went back and re-read your first comment. Now I get it. Sheffer must be the host of Selected Shorts? Took me a while to get the connection. Mental-pause.

  7. I just wanted to let you know, I truly like the posts on your site. However I’m using my Google Chrome Browser and the presentation doesn’t seem to be right. Not a big deal as I’m still able to see and read the postings but just thought I would let you know about that. Please keep up the good work. Ciao.

  8. Sandra says:

    Thank you for that info, PT. I’m going to copy your comment and forward it to WordPress to see if it tells them anything that needs to be fixed on my site. Also, I happen to have the Geek Squad coming today to see if they can “cure” a virus I have. I’ll show it to them too! Very timely! Thank you. 🙂

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