It Matters How We Say It

“I wrote the same, but in different words.”

I don’t know if this is a “true” story, or based on one, but the point about how we use our words, and how our words convey our thoughts and ideas is the truth.

How we convey our ideas, our message, is as important as the ideas themselves.

As writers, we have many choices. For me as a writer, I struggle and I revel in those choices. As a writing teaching, sharing those choices is both a challenge and a joy.

I’m not trying to change my students writing, change what they have to say, but to show them that there are other ways to express their ideas that will be more moving, more transformative for their audience…and for themselves.

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Jayne Cortez, 1934-2012: “Find Your Own Voice & Use It”

“Find your own voice & use it, use your own voice, and find it

The sounds of drizzle on dry leaves are not like sounds of insults between pedestrians

Those women laughing in the window do not sound like air conditioners on the brink”

Born and raised in Los Angeles, performance poet Jayne Cortez died at the close of 2012 in NYC, having found her own voice and using it throughout her long life, writing, publishing, and performing poetry that addressed racial and sexual oppression. The 2010 video above features her performing with Denardo Coleman, her son with Ornette Coleman.

Sue Shapiro’s Genious “Humiliation Essay” Assignment

In the article “Make Me Worry You’re Not OK,” author Sue Shapiro explains how her assignment, the humiliation essay, “encourages students to shed vanity and pretension” and discover that “through the art of writing, [students] can transform their worst experience into the most beautiful.”

Read the whole article here:

http://opinionator.blogs.nytimes.com/2012/12/31/make-me-worry-youre-not-o-k/?smid=pl-share

I’m gearing up for the new term which starts Monday Jan 14. I’m teaching two sections of writing at Ventura College, one “fundamentals” class (English 2) and one transfer level class (English 1A). E2 meets Tues/Thurs from noon-2:15pm and E1A meets from 430-645pm.

Do you think I should model my first assignment this spring after her humiliation essay? Do you think students would get into it? Hmmn…certainly would make for some a great writing practice prompt–and some great blog posts!

Oh, and happy new year!