” . . . the more true we are to our own creative gifts the less there is any outer reassurance or help at the beginning. The more we are on the path, the deeper the silence in the first stages of the process. Following our path is in effect a kind of going off the path, through open country. There is a certain early stage when we are left to camp out in the wilderness, alone, with few supporting voices. Out there in the silence we must build a hearth. gather the twigs, and strike flint for the fire ourselves.”

David Whyte, The Heart Aroused: Poetry and the Preservation of the Soul in Corporate America (87).

Writers on Writing (1)

Several Short Sentences“In your head, you’ll probably find two models for writing.

One is the familiar model taught in high school and college–a matter of outlines and drafts and transitions and topic sentences and argument.

The other model is its antitheses–the way poets and novelists are often thought to write. Words used to describe this second model include ‘genius,’ ‘inspiration,’ ‘flow,’ and ‘natural,’ sometimes even ‘organic.’

Both models are useless. I should qualify that sentence. Both models are completely useless.” (7-8)

Making Meaning: The Power You Bring

“All human beings share and apply the competence to make meaning through symbolic representation, including language. It isn’t a competence that ‘bright’ people have but not ‘slow’ ones; or that the educated possess but not the uneducated; of that ‘older, more experienced’ people have but not younger ones. It isn’t a gift that teachers bestow on students. Rather, it is a power that students bring with them to the classrooms, hoping they might learn to use it more effectively for their own purposes.”

~~ C. H. Knoblauch and Lil Brannon, Rhetorical Traditions and the Teaching of Writing, 1985