Sunday, May 17, 2009

Through their eyes . . .

We've finished the personal essay section of the creative writing course I am teaching and have plunged into plot and character and story, but I keep thinking I need to rewind. I need to tell my students to think about posting some of their shorter personal essays to their blogs--their essays being more carefully thought out and layered than blog entries usually have the luxury of being. Wouldn't it be great if some blog-hopper found a kernel of philosophical truth, related through specific details and story, and structured so that somewhere in the essay's ending the blog-hopper had a true aha! moment.

(This blog isn't going to be such a read. Sorry.)

In Shadowlands, one of C.S. Lewis's students tells his teacher that his father used to say, "We read to know that we are not alone." I think that's true. We read for connection and validation. But we also read because we want to be taken through the landscape of a different mind, we want to experience connections that we never would have made on our own, and we want moments of epiphany or utter delight that help us better understand the world we live in, the people we associate with (and maybe those we don't associate with), and even aspects of the universe.

I guess that's the real reason I want my students to post their essays to their blogs. I want others to see what they see, understand what they understand, feel, if only for a moment, what they have felt. We all have something to contribute to someone else's understanding of the universe. My students have each contributed to mine.