Alison Clement

observations from a novelist who sometimes wants to say something small and see it published immediately

Man Ray and teaching

man ray.jpeg


I don’t tell my students about my doubts. I don’t say I think school is inferior to what we can learn through following our own curiosity, cultivating our own interests and developing our own course of study. I don’t say I’m convinced that the best way to learn to write isn’t found in the classroom. Read and pay attention. That’s how to learn. Listen to people talk. Find out about the world. Never stop reading. Get a job as a waitress and go home at night and write about what you saw and heard. Fuck your life up for a while. Or not. Have kids and learn how to use ten minutes of privacy. Fall in love. Live and observe and write about it. That’s my writing advice. Be willing to write shit for a long time. Protect your voice. Don’t ask me if writing is good or bad. Man Ray, or maybe it was another Dadaist, once said if you don’t like something, turn away. If you don’t like it, go look at something else. Of course, this is not practical advice for a teacher.


Categories: belief, school, schools, teaching, teaching writing, work, writing, writing practice

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