Social Class Reproduction

Four Rules for Teaching Writing:
Image result for image: joy of writing
Always give writing assignments that

1. you will enjoy reading;
2. students will enjoy writing;
3. students will enjoy reading what others in the class have written
4. you will enjoy writing.

If any one of these conditions were not true, then it probably wasn't a very good assignment.

Advice I give to my students: When your words surprise you, you know you are writing.

Monday, May 4, 2015

Writing and Song

I have several themes I would like to write about tonight, but I think I might be able to focus on the relationship between writing and song--and something about the function of expressive writing.

I haven't really been able to explain my experience--to myself or anyone else, although I have tried. I wrote a book about dealing with my wife's death and my first bumbling experiences with late-life dating. I read it a few times and put it away.

One month ago, my dog died. He was a beautiful dog. He was our dog. I wrote a song about him and put together slides linked to the song. I haven't really been able to get the song just right, but I can't work with it anymore.  Not now. Here's a link to the song/slide show: I Know It Isn't Easy   (It might take some time to download)

I have listened to that production many times. Every time I cry. But there's something cathartic here--It's kind of like I need an object out there to just "be" out there, in some way allowing me to move outside of myself into the song and pictures of the dog I loved so much.

Some of my friends have responded to this production of abject pathos. I think by putting some of my emotional pain "out there" others can link their pains to mine. In an odd way, sine waves harmonize.
Living isn't always easy. It has been easy for most of my life, but I have lately experienced two very serious bumps in my road. I feel silly saying this, knowing what others have to endure. But somehow when we hit the bumps, the bumps become our world.

Writing has always been my way of coping. And so has singing. I will willingly listen to anyone who can connect the two.  I think it's important to get the "in here" "out there" and have it play back again.  I would like to know why.

8 comments:

  1. Innately, I think, we know that the suffering is so dense inside our hearts and minds that we have to move it around a bit with words/music. Moving the pain body around lightens it and we feel a bit better. Each time we put it out there it becomes less dense, because sharing the weight of anything makes it easier to carry. Writing and singing is therapeutic art (dancing, painting, conversing, etc) give our pain body a new form outside of ourselves. The suffering is shared; the writer gives some of it away, and the reader accepts it as an opening into his/her own experience. Experiencing that connection and seeing yourself in another, is what real love is, the purest form of love. Innately, we want to be loved and to love others. Keep on lightening the load for all of us, Irv; it just simply feels better.

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  2. I hope a lot of readers are lying down next to you after hearing your great song and guitar work but more important, I think your blog is a true heart space for compositionists like me who have learned that teaching writers is a personal privilege. WRITE ON!

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  3. I wanted to thank you, Diana and Will, for your comments here--I wrote a response to others on the WPA list that might in some way be a response to both of you. I think that giving this gift of writing as way of being with others, as both of you have said--well, that's not half bad. You and I, Will and Diana, both know what's supremely important about writing--the way in which we can use words to open up to each other and to say what Diana says about love, seeing ourselves in the other and opening ourselves up so that they can see themselves in us. Both of you heard my song--I was able to do that with Ali, my dog that died. I know that we saw ourselves in each other (and that was very clear with my wife). Right now, I'm struggling to do this with a new dog I've rescued. He's not Ali. And yes--Will--it's such a privilege to use writing to get our students to exchange with each other their worlds (and with us). Writing like this is so much more important that memorizing the fallacies and arguing about XXXX.

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