Dream of: 21 September 1996 "Studying Writing"

Out of the blue I had an interesting thought: I could return to college and study writing. This idea was fascinating because it reflected a definite change in my attitude. Up until now, I had disdained the notion of studying writing. It had seemed to me that writing was something that a good writer simply did without having to study it. But now I felt that I may have been in error. The subject of writing was so vast, there was so much to learn – why couldn't I benefit from some concentrated study?

Another reason I had disdained the thought of studying writing had to do with my attitude toward professors. I had felt that any professor who was teaching writing had to be a pedantic failure. Professors of writing had studied writing simply so they could teach it. The idea of being a professor teaching writing was anathema to me. I didn't want to teach – I wanted to write.

But now I also saw the weakness of that reasoning. Just because I studied writing in a college didn't mean I would end up teaching writing. Even if I worked for a masters or a doctorate degrees (if, I thought, such degrees were even given for writing), I didn't need to place great significance on the degrees themselves. The important thing would be that I would be able to be with other writers, that I could have them critique my writing, and that I could in turn critique their writing. How could I help but benefit? I might even be able to go to Harvard and study with some of the brightest writers around.

This new thought was quite enticing. In the past I had thought about studying many different subjects; but the fact was, writing was what I wanted to do more than anything. Yet my own writing still seem undeveloped to me. Why not now concentrate intently on learning the thing I most wanted to do?

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