Sunday, November 25, 2007

Why I Write

Read the essay "Why I Write," which is available through a link on the lower right hand corner of this page. Respond to it with comments on why you write. Is it for the same reasons Orwell cites? Didion? Kessler? Your comments are due before the start of our last class, Wednesday, Dec. 5.

Sunday, October 14, 2007


Look over the quotes on writing and writers in the far right column. Pick the one that resonates the most with you. Comment why. Be prepared to discuss your choice in class this Wednesday.

Monday, October 1, 2007


"I am not commenting, merely pointing to a fact," George Orwell writes toward the end of "Marrakech." Do you believe him? Why or why not?

Monday, September 10, 2007

The Center Cannot Hold

In "Los Angeles Notebook," Joan Didion uses not only an unconventional story structure, but also unconventional sources. Identify five such sources in the story, sources that mainstream journalists would be unlikely to consult or cite. You can make a simple list, but be prepared to discuss in detail the consequences of her redefining who or what constitutes a credible source.

Wednesday, September 5, 2007

How to Write a Story

Go to the link below titled "How to Write a Story" for some literary advice in the form a poem. Also check out the anti-war poems in New Verse News, another kind of journalism timed to be published with the troop surge in Iraq.

Monday, September 3, 2007

The Procedural

Morris Markey's literary journalism piece, "Drift," belongs to a genre referred to as "the procedural." To your mind, what characteristics of the piece make it an example of the genre?

Or, if you prefer, you may respond to this question: "Drift" contains elements of noir. Identify and briefly explain one.

Remember, we're practicing good writing here, not just literary analysis. Your comments should be crisp and clear. Avoid generalizations, tortured syntax, and muddy language.

Wednesday, August 29, 2007

The Assassin

In "An Experiment in Misery," why does Crane refer to the tramp as "the assassin"? Is the name deserved? Is it meant ironically? Does it reflect as much on the one who bestows it as on the one on which it's bestowed?

Sunday, August 26, 2007

In 75 Words or Less

Is Stephen Crane's "Man Falls, a Crowd Gathers" news? Why or why not? (Feel free to respond to each other's comments, not just the question. Also note that I've been adding my reactions to your comments throughout.)

Saturday, August 25, 2007

Question of the Day

According to a new survey, one in four Americans read not a single book this past year (for the full and even more depressing version, see So, like, why are we writing?