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Advanced Writing - Week 1


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Advanced Writing - Week 1

  1. 1. Advanced Writing II Spring 2010 Tuesdays, 3:30-5:20pm
  2. 2. What is writing?
  3. 3. a physical act.
  4. 4. set in stone
  5. 5. set in stone The Abu Salbikh Tablet Circa 2500 BCE A Sumerian “wisdom” text in cuneiform. The oldest known copy of “Instructions of Shuruppak.” Found in southern Iraq, at the site of an small Sumerian city. Stored in the Iraq Museum, Baghdad. Stolen during the Second Iraq War by looters.
  6. 6. The Rosetta Stone
  7. 7. Found in August, 1799 by Bouchard, near Rosetta, on the western mouth of the Nile River. Black basalt Deciphered by Jean-Francois Champollion in 1822 Greek, Demotic, and Heiroglyphics A gift to Ptolemy V, the Greek ruler of Egypt in the 2 nd century BCE, for favors he had given to Egyptian priests.
  8. 10. Papyrus
  9. 11. Papyrus A material prepared in ancient Egypt from the pithy stem of a water plant, used in sheets throughout the ancient Mediterranean world for writing or painting on and also for making rope, sandals, and Boats.
  10. 12. Homer
  11. 13. Herodotus
  12. 14. Thucydides
  13. 15. parchment
  14. 16. parchment = animal skin
  15. 17. 1041 CE Movable Clay Type
  16. 18. Geoffrey Chaucer 1342-1400
  18. 20. Johannes Gutenberg 1400-1468 CE c. 1455, produced 200 copies of the Gutenberg Bible
  19. 21. Johannes Gutenberg a revolution in authority
  20. 22. putting pen to paper
  21. 24. “ The Battler” — Ernest Hemingway
  22. 26. — Naguib Mahfouz
  23. 28. “ Wild Sheep Chase” — Haruki Murakami
  24. 30. “ Dharma” — Billy Collins
  25. 32. “ The Brothers Rico” — Georges Simenon
  26. 34. “ Whose War” — John Edgar Wideman
  27. 36. “ Frank Sinatra Has a Cold” — Gay Talese
  28. 37. <ul><li>THE </li></ul><ul><li>TYMPANIC </li></ul><ul><li>PAGE </li></ul>
  29. 38. <ul><li>“ The story ends. It was written for several reasons. Nine of them are secrets. The tenth is that one should never cease considering human love, which remains as grisly and golden as ever, no matter what is tattooed upon the warm tympanic page.” </li></ul><ul><li>— Donald Barthelme, “Rebecca” </li></ul>
  30. 39. The Typewriter William Faulkner’s Portable Typewriter
  31. 40. <ul><li>How do you write? </li></ul><ul><li>Longhand at first. Then I use the typewriter. </li></ul><ul><li>You never write directly onto the computer? </li></ul><ul><li>Oh no, I couldn’t do that. I want to be forced to work </li></ul><ul><li>slowly because I don’t want to get too much on </li></ul><ul><li>paper... I take a long time... I type and retype. </li></ul>
  32. 41. Jack Kerouac “ Scribbled secret notebooks, and wild typewritten pages, for yr own joy.”
  33. 42. Jack Kerouac “ Write excitedly, swiftly, with writing- or-typing-cramps, in accordance… with the laws of orgasm.”
  35. 45. — T.C. Boyle
  36. 47. — Hunter S. Thompson
  37. 48. What else is writing?
  38. 49. communication
  39. 50. <ul><li>“ One (problem) which will probably haunt me more than any other is the problem of communication. I mean communication between two people. The fact that we are I don’t know how many millions of people, yet communication, complete communication, is completely impossible between two of those people, is to me one of the biggest tragic themes in the world. When I was a young boy I was afraid of it. I would almost scream because of it. It gave me such a sensation of solitude, of loneliness. That is a theme I have taken I don’t know how many times.” </li></ul>Georges Simenon
  40. 51. When & how does writing happen?
  41. 52. <ul><li>“ Who knows sometimes where stories come from? They are perhaps more attached to the author’s emotional life and come more out of inspiration than slogging. You shouldn’t write without inspiration—at least not very often... A novel is a job. Story writers working on a novel are typically in pain through the entire thing. But a story can be like a mad, lovely visitor, with whom you spend a rather exciting weekend.” </li></ul>Lorrie Moore INSPIRATION
  42. 53. <ul><li>“You can write any time people will leave you alone and not interrupt you. Or rather you can if you will be ruthless enough about it. But the best writing is certainly when you are in love.” </li></ul>Ernest Hemingway LOVE
  43. 54. <ul><li>“I think that at a certain age, say fifteen or sixteen, poetry is like masturbation. But later in life good poets burn their early poetry, and bad poets publish it. Thankfully I gave up rather quickly.” </li></ul>Umberto Eco YOUTH
  44. 55. <ul><li>“ You end up with a keen sense of what you still have as a writer, and also of what you don’t have any longer. As you grow older, there’s no reason why you can’t be wiser as a novelist than you ever were before. You should know more about human nature every year of your life. Do you write about it quite as well or as brilliantly as you once did? No, not quite.” </li></ul>Norman Mailer EXPERIENCE
  45. 56. <ul><li>“ There is no mechanical way to get the writing done, no shortcut. The young writer would be a fool to follow a theory. Teach yourself by your own mistakes; people learn only by error. The good artist believes that nobody is good enough to give him advice. He has supreme vanity. No matter how much he admires the old writer, he wants to beat him.” </li></ul>William Faulkner OBSTINACY
  46. 57. <ul><li>“ There’s a lot of waiting around until something happens... For me it’s a very sporadic activity. Until recently, I thought ‘occasional poetry’ meant that you wrote only occasionally. So there’s a lot of waiting, and there’s a kind of vigilance involved.” </li></ul>Billy Collins WAITING
  47. 58. <ul><li>Everything is fine— </li></ul><ul><li>the first bits of sun are on </li></ul><ul><li>the yellow flowers behind the low wall, </li></ul>Billy Collins Returning the Pencil to Its Tray
  48. 59. <ul><li>people in cars are on their way to work, </li></ul><ul><li>and I will never have to write again. </li></ul>Billy Collins Returning the Pencil to Its Tray
  49. 60. <ul><li>Just looking around </li></ul><ul><li>will suffice from here on in. </li></ul>Billy Collins Returning the Pencil to Its Tray
  50. 61. <ul><li>Who said I had to always play </li></ul><ul><li>the secretary of the interior? </li></ul>Billy Collins Returning the Pencil to Its Tray
  51. 62. <ul><li>And I am getting good at being blank, </li></ul><ul><li>staring at all the zeroes in the air. </li></ul>Billy Collins Returning the Pencil to Its Tray
  52. 63. <ul><li>It must have been all the time spent </li></ul><ul><li>in the kayak this summer </li></ul><ul><li>that brought this out, </li></ul>Billy Collins Returning the Pencil to Its Tray
  53. 64. <ul><li>the yellow one that went </li></ul><ul><li>nicely with the pale blue life jacket— </li></ul>Billy Collins Returning the Pencil to Its Tray
  54. 65. <ul><li>the sudden, tippy </li></ul><ul><li>buoyancy of the launch, </li></ul><ul><li>then the exertion, striking </li></ul><ul><li>into the wind against the short waves, </li></ul>Billy Collins Returning the Pencil to Its Tray
  55. 66. <ul><li>but the best was drifting back, </li></ul><ul><li>the paddle resting athwart the craft, </li></ul><ul><li>and me mindless in the middle of time. </li></ul>Billy Collins Returning the Pencil to Its Tray
  56. 67. <ul><li>Not even that dark cormorant </li></ul><ul><li>perched on the NO WAKE sign, </li></ul><ul><li>his narrow head raised </li></ul><ul><li>as if he were looking over something, </li></ul>Billy Collins Returning the Pencil to Its Tray
  57. 68. <ul><li>not even that inquisitive little fellow </li></ul><ul><li>could bring me to write another word. </li></ul>Billy Collins Returning the Pencil to Its Tray
  58. 69. Writing is entwined with society.
  59. 70. <ul><li>“ To me, it’s a novel that pulls you inside the central nervous system of the characters . . . and makes you feel in your bones their motivations as affected by the society of which they are a part. It is folly to believe that you can bring the psychology of an individual successfully to life without putting him very firmly in a social setting.” </li></ul>Tom Wolfe A SOCIAL SETTING
  60. 71. <ul><li>“ I think of art, at its most significant, as… a Distant Early Warning system that can always be relied on to tell the old culture what is beginning to happen to it.” </li></ul>Marshall McLuhan EARLY WARNING
  61. 72. by Dai Sijie Balzac and the Little Chinese Seamstress
  62. 73. <ul><li>“ The Chinese language has a lot of political jargon. You can talk at length without saying much, because these pieces of jargon become like formulas for public speech. And those expressions become a part of people’s consciousness. Very often people don’t question the meaning of what they’re saying… </li></ul><ul><li>“ English has more flexibility. It’s a very plastic, very shapeable, very expressive language. In that sense it feels quite natural. The Chinese language is less natural. Written Chinese is not supposed to represent natural speech, and there are many different spoken dialects that correspond to the single written language. The written word will be the same in all dialects, but in speech it is a hundred different words.” </li></ul>Ha Jin WHY ENGLISH? Author of “ WAITING” and several other books
  64. 75. Strunk & White The Elements of Style
  65. 76. 1. Place yourself in the background
  66. 77. 2. Write in a way that comes naturally
  67. 78. 3. Work from a suitable design
  68. 79. 4. Write with nouns and verbs
  69. 80. 5. Revise and rewrite
  70. 81. 6. Do not overwrite
  71. 82. 7. Do not overstate
  72. 83. 8. Avoid the use of qualifiers
  73. 84. 9. Do not affect a breezy manner
  74. 85. 10. Use orthodox spelling
  75. 86. 11. Do not explain too much
  76. 87. 12. Do not construct awkward adverbs
  77. 88. 13. Make sure the reader knows who is speaking
  78. 89. 14. Avoid fancy words
  79. 90. 15. Do not use dialect unless your ear is good
  80. 91. 16. Be clear
  81. 92. 17. Do not inject opinion
  82. 93. 18. Use figures of speech sparingly
  83. 94. 19. Do not take shortcuts at the cost of clarity
  84. 95. 20. Avoid foreign languages
  85. 96. 21. Prefer the standard to the offbeat
  86. 97. E.B. WHITE 1899-1985