Monday, December 13, 2010

my kind of drama

I was supposed to send off my first application of the season this morning. It's due on Wednesday. There's just one problem--I still don't have a statement of purpose.

I wrote one. It was pretty good, or at least good enough that my friend who reads essays for a living gave it the thumbs up to send to professors writing my letters. I knew it needed revision, but one professor wrote back. My statement was (is) too long, too wordy, and doesn't say enough about what I can offer--specifically. He actually said part of it was very strong--so I'll hang on to that paragraph and a few sentences.

You need a hook for these things, right? So I began with April, with sitting around a table or in my front room talking about poetry. The secret is that as much I liked April, that wasn't the switch that made me jump ship and call myself a writer.

I still don't call myself a writer. Who does that?

There was Gideon telling me in London that I had to decide what I wanted to do: creative writing or literature. And there was Susan introducing me as the poetry student trying to make up her mind between creative writing and literature. And there was me saying I could do both, but not really wanting to do both.

That's where I want this essay to go: that I said I could do both, and I have done both, and I've realized that there are ways to put creative writing and literature in conversation with each other. (That's the paragraph that I get to keep.) But how do I lead the readers to this conclusion?

Did I just answer my own question?


oh! resolution said...

Two things. Writing and literature ARE in conversation with each other already. The first creates the second, and the study of the second can in turn inform that creation.

Also. People will tell you that you have to make a choice. That you can't do both. But. That. Is. Bull.

You can do whatever the hell you want. People tell me you can't write and edit. But I'm doing it, and others have done it before me, and others will do it after.

The same goes for writing and lit, I'd say. The distinction largely depends on what you aim to teach, I suppose, and how you define yourself academically. But all profs that write are necessarily in the business of literature. If, for the sake of the academic game, you need to choose one, then choose what you feel most comfortable with. But don't let the game tell you how to play it. You make the rules.

For more heated arguments (both sound and unsound), send me an email.

editorgirl said...

oh!r: Thank you for pointing out the difficulty in making this argument: it's not that writing and lit are not in conversation with each other, but that they're not put in conversation in academia very often. I want to be able to talk about what a text says and how it says it in the same conversation--it tends to catch lit profs off guard, and cw profs want to talk craft over argument. (Awful generalization, and there are profs who taught me it doesn't have to be that way.)

Lekili said...

Wahoo! Its all done--right? The big question is, is the world ready for your brilliance? I would love being in your class.

I don't know who oh!resolution is, but I think I like this person.

Renaissance Girl said...

You KNOW I don't see the distinction. And it's worked out pretty well for me.


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