I hardly knew Chuck when he came to the bar where I worked and gave me a copy of Ivan Illich’s book, Deschooling Society. I read it and dropped out of college. Illich, in case you don’t know, argues that education isn’t really about learning but about maintaining class structure. He argues against experts mediating and defining our experience.
I learned what I know about writing by the act of writing itself and by reading. I used to joke that people shouldn’t go to school for MFAs, they should go instead to The Waffle House and listen to people talk. That’s kind of a smart ass thing to say, as my friend Sara Backer, a writer and English teacher, pointed out, and I’ve stopped saying it, although the point it still valid–one of the most important things for a writer to understand is how to pay attention, how to observe, how to listen to people talk.