Sunday, November 23, 2008

Just Doing It

Anne Enright is another established writer adding weight to the argument (a good one, in my opinion) that writing can't be taught in any crude sense, that you learn how to do it by, well, doing it.
Writing is learned from the inside out; it is not a subject like geography, that can be doled out in parcels of information. Writing is a discipline and, as with any discipline, whether spiritual or physical, the doing is everything. No one can do it for you.
Nevertheless, she still refers to her 'teachers' (Angela Carter and Malcolm Bradbury), and suggests that the role they played (at UEA) was a nurturing one:
The job of the teacher in these hazy, dangerous circumstances, is to feed the student and to keep her safe. Angela Carter did the first, with a scattering of photocopies, musings and anecdotes (she never mentioned my work, I think) and Malcolm Bradbury did the second, by smiling a lot, and liking books, and keeping quiet (I don't think he ever mentioned my work either. I might be wrong). The other students did mention my work; they had various opinions about it, but that was fine, because Malcolm was there to like us all, and keep us safe.
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