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Tuesday, September 14, 2010

From the Head, from the Heart?

Do you write from the head, or write from the heart?  Rouseau claimed "thinking never proved anything."

I write from the heart, although of course what I write must pass through and use the head. Yet the impetus comes from the heart.  I write from emotion.

That influences how I teach creative writing. I am a bit of an anti-intellectual intellectual. I've worked a lot of blue collar jobs. I've studied Zen and know its distrust of words.

This semester, however, I have an award winning Latin American novelist from the Hispanic Studies department in my creative writing class. Judging from what I've seen of his work so far, he writes more out of the head, with some heart. I see a Borges' influence. I also have a philosopher in the class, and he approaches creative writing to a large degree up in the head.

I am excited to have these students in an advanced class. This semester I may learn as much from these students as I give them, or more. Two students in the class already have published books, and a couple more have published in journals.  One student has an MFA.

This class is a bit intimidating, but I enjoy the fear. 

What a mix of people! Many have never taken any creative writing.  Only the MFA student could explain to the class what the term, "the arc of the story," meant. It's possible for a graduate student to enroll in this class with no previous creative writing experiences or class.  I hope the beginners don't get too intimidated and enjoy the ride.

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