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.

8 comments:

Oriana said...

I love the thought of experiencing the landscape of another's mind. We rarely take the time to do that anymore in the real world. We are too busy to really connect with people. I love when a good book provides that aha! and sometimes life changing moment. Those are the books I treasure.

Olive Kite said...

Me too. Me too.

Betty Edit said...

Wow, that third paragraph pretty much explains why I'm your friend. Well, that's not the ONLY reason, obviously. :o)

You should post one of your essays. Yes, I mean one of the ones YOU wrote.

literaqueen said...

I agree! Post a personal essay! I actually think blogging is a terrific medium for personal essays; my favorite blogs are essentially personal essays with a photo or two thrown in occasionally.

Have you read Louise Rosenblatt's Literature & Exploration? It goes right along with the reasons for reading that you write about here.

Get out here so we can have a writing retreat! Wanna help with a new teacher institute at the end of June?

whirligigdaisy said...

I try to post a personal essay now and then on my blog. They are usually my favorite entries. I do love a great person essay. It is an overlooked art, I think.

Olive Kite said...

whirligigdaisy, your essays are amazing . . .

Olive Kite said...

literaqueen (Dr!)--just read your blog . . . you've been up to so much. i'm amazed at how many places you visit and fun things you do (like mushroom hunting). in my next life, i'll live like that.

seems like this year might work for a visit . . . will let you know.

literaqueen said...

Yay, let me know! Meanwhile, my visit to Utah for birthday celebrations is shifting a bit-- looks like the end of July, around Pioneer Day. Must consult Christl on celebration details . . .