Another interesting post on Reginald Shepherd’s blog, entitled A Few Issues in the Creative Writing Classroom. The post bears all the usual Shepherd hallmarks of clarity and thoughtfulness and everything he says about new wannabe writers is totally true. However, the most interesting thing to me is how I know that what he writes is bang on the mark, since I’ve never been in or near a creative writing classroom in my life.
The answer is from online workshops, of course.
Now would that be the internet imitating real life, or being real life?
Because students look at their own poems and see not the words they have written but the thoughts, emotions, and experiences the word point to, they tend to write poems as captions to pictures that aren’t there, providing the meaning of something that isn’t present. The meaning is presented without giving the reader the object or situation that would actually be doing the meaning. If they do include images and concrete particulars, they will often not trust those to convey the meaning or “message” without such commentary or explanation.