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.

Personal Writing--Bibliography


David Bleich's and Deb Holdstein's volume Personal Effects takes up many of these concerns.  Candace Spiegelman's Personally Speaking also addresses experience as evidence in academic discourse.

Harriet Malinowitz, “Business, Pleasure, and the Personal Essay,” published in College English, v65 n3 p305-22 Jan 2003.  Malinowitz says, “The first thing I'd like to say about the personal essay is that I absolutely believe it doesn't have to be-certainly should not be-self-indulgent or derivative of an Oprah-- show confession, as some reflexively presume. Nor is it even necessarily about oneself. Its essence is subjectivity, not autobiography. 

 I  recommend Lester Faigley's article "Judging Writing, Judging Selves," in CCC 40 (1989): 395-412 and also the chapter in his and Selzer's Good Reasons on Narrative Arguments.
For another useful resource on the issue of personal writing, I highly recommend Candace Spigelman’s Personally Speaking:  Experience as Evidence in Academic Discourse for thinking through—and beyond—the personal/academic binary. 

I don't think I've seen it referenced yet, so I'll mention Beth Daniell's
_A Communion of Friendship: Literacy, Spirituality, and Women in Recovery_
as a text in Writing Studies that might be useful. She talks about
Pennebaker's research as well as other writing/healing connection studies.
Daniell's book attends the literacy practices of women involved with Al-Ano=

This is the text that I incorporated in my Advanced Comp class; students read extracts and loved:

Also: Carra’s review.
Wanted to pass on another classic trauma text by an extremely well-known and respected thinker on the topic.

Trauma and Recovery, by Judith Herman
You can look at parts of the text by clicking "Preview this book." The intro lays out the landscape.

Here's an interview with Herman; she talks about her childhood and parents, all the background that helped to chart her course to trauma studies.
[from Carra]

I'm not sure if anyone has mentioned these resources yet, but I found Rita Charon's "Narrative Medicine: The Healing Power of Stories" and Arthur Frank's "The Wounded Storyteller" immensely helpful in my development of a literature course in narrative medicine. Columbia University's Narrative Medicine website is a treasure trove as well. (

Allison S. Walker

Subject: Re: Writing as therapy - what makes it an effective coping strategy?

Hi Navi, try searching for John Evans and the Writing and Wellness Connections newsletter. If you look at the writers featured there you'll find groups who may be willing participants in your research. John Evans initiated The Writing and Wellness Conference in 2007 that may be obsolete today; however there was a brief day-long workshop organized by Evans that featured Pennebaker at the Duke Center for Integrative Studies as recently as spring 2012. My dissertation focused on Writing and Wellness, so I found these groups 4-6 years ago. I assume you accessed the Writing and Healing anthology edited by Charles Anderson and Marian MacCurdy. There you'll find readings and research by Pennebaker, MacCurdy, Bump, Guy Allen, and many others. You can also peek at my works cited page by searching "Writing and Wellness, Emotion and Women." I hope this is helpful.


Cantice Greene, PhD

Assistant Professor of English

Clayton State University

Arts and Sciences G-110 G


Check out the film my advanced multimedia writing students did last =
spring about PTSD.  Logan Stark, a veteran of Afghanistan (Marine), is =
one of the undergraduate movie makers from my class, and he also appears =
in the documentary.  This 48-min-long movie, "For the 25," is posted in =
several locations on YouTube, and collectively has been viewed more than =
80,000 times since they submitted it for class credit in May.  Logan has =
been interviewed many times since then, including features in USA Today =
len-marines-/2359849/) and the New York Times =

You can watch For the 25 here:


Bump Halbritter
Director, MSU Documentary Lab
Associate Professor=20
Dept of Writing, Rhetoric, & American Cultures
Michigan State University
Bessey Hall, 434 Farm Lane
Michigan State University

Navi, welcome to your journey. You should look up Shane Borrowman's book, Trauma and the Teaching of Writing, 2005. --Ed White


I teach a course called Writing & Wellness, and we start with James Pennebaker's groundbreaking research.  If you email me off-list, I will send you a copy of the syllabus, if you would like.  When I teach the healing effects of writing through trauma, one of the best books to use as an example is Darin Strauss's memoir Half a Life.  I also use Agnes Smedley's Daughter of Earth in counterpoint.  She was prompted to write that narrative by her psychoanalyst, a student of Freud.

Good luck with your project.

Noreen Lape

Hi Navi,

I am working with a conference call Survive and Thrive. I think you can
find some pretty useful resources from there:

I encourage you to attend the conference as you be able to meet with
medical humanists and health practitioners who may point you to the right

My best,

Jason Tham
Department of English
St. Cloud State University

I don't know if this is your type of book or not (I'm thinking possibly, because you seem sort of open to spiritual approaches).  I just thought I'd mention "Your Sacred Self" by Wayne Dyer.  I've always liked this author, ever since reading one of his first books as a teenager "Pulling Your Own Strings."  He resonates with me and has surely influenced my perception of the way things work (that people have the power to create improved realities for themselves and for others with our thoughts).  On the corner of my street is a little lending library (a cabinet on someone's lawn that I think I've mentioned to you).  I saw this book and started it on Saturday.  As I get more into it this morning, I'm loving it, so thought I'd mention it to you.  If you do pick this up, just disregard the things that seem preposterous (choosing to be invisible, for instance).  I don't let these odd ideas discredit all of the other sensible and wise advice/practice.  At one time I would have.  But not now.  I simply take what's useful.  I think you'd find a lot of useful approaches in this book (useful for obtaining more peace, fulfillment (the things we'd each like more of).  Don't feel obliged to seek it out however.  It's just a thought that I didn't want to keep to myself this morning.    elissa

Here's an NPR review of 6 memoirs (see link belwo).  I simply began with the first listed, but plan to work my way through the list.  Thank you for checking in tonight.  I'm glad your niece is coming to stay for a while.  I imagine that it will be nice having her there.  And also the visit from Emmy this week.  

Then, I
she wrote a book about her sister's disappearance and murder (which she feared would not help her academic career or be accepted as a viable academic work) and eventually taught a basic writing course that moved students from personal writing to researched inquiry on a controversial issue attached to their personal writing.

To Tell the Truth 7 final draft March 7 2010-1 copy

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