Saturday, April 02, 2011

Those Books On Writing

I don't believe I've ever read an actual article by Jessa Crispin, just her posts at Blog of a Bookslut. But her piece, A Sea of Words, at The Smart Set was interesting. For her regular column at that publication she read five books on writing in one week and then mused about them.

I have to say that I think books about writing have improved over the last couple of decades. They used to be incredibly deadly, and recently I've stumbled upon some that I found much less so. Nonetheless, five in one week seems a little risky.

Crispin did come up with some good musings as a result of the experience, though. She writes quite a bit of the oceans of writers being churned out of MFA programs. "I’m not alone in thinking of the MFA industry as predatory," she says. I only know what I've read about the schools, and maybe they're predatory, making bundles off from young people who, even if they publish, will never be able to truly support themselves with their work or maybe they're just their own culture. They sound like a strange world, perhaps a narrow one, which I think is how Crispin finds the writing life as described in the books she read.

For many years after I finished college, I considered going to graduate school. I've written of it here a number of times. Nowadays, I long for a retreat at a writing monastary where I could train with writing monks, work out by myself for an hour each day in an empty room overlooking a mountain meadow, and eat a good meal with a glass of wine next to a fire each evening. No workshops. No public readings. No networking.

Crispin's column just reinforced that fantasy.

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