Re: freewriting

Becky Rickly (becky.rickly@UMICH.EDU)
Thu, 25 Jul 1996 14:52:23 -0400

Mike (and Claudine and Dave), I think that I'm just wary of labelling
things descriptive and prescriptive when I see so often that, in practice,
these labels are often flexible enough morph into each other...what we see
as descriptive can easily become rigid, unexamined, and, as a result,
PREscriptive, and when re-examined, what was prescriptive can be used to
describe a process....

Along those lines, I love what Mike has written below:

>what i find so interesting in this model is the devotion individual
>musicians have for the repetitious skill-based practice of scale playing and
>transcription of performances. seems to be skills and drills involved in
>jazz too. and i wonder if this model works as well after careful
>consideration for writing -- seems more like a creative writing model, where
>genius is studies, deconstructed, then reconstructed in order to produce
>more genius.
>i'm concerned we take too easily an image of improvisation without
>understanding the layers of process and hard work that are built into what
>an audience only sees as a "great improvisation." there are years of work
>behind that performance; do we mystify the process if we don't share the
>story of the long term struggle?

Amen! And I think of what I've read about Adrienne Rich, a poet and writer
I love to read and how SHE learned to write: her early poems were wrought
with imitatio, as she was told to follow sonnet structures and imitate
those who were "successful"....and as those structures became ingrained and
part of her intellectual scaffolding, they influenced her subsequent free
verse and essay writing, making it complex and wonderful.

Finally, kudos to Albert Rouzie for bringing in FUN and play as a vital
part of what we do and what we should study. I wonder if the seeming
dichotomies between work (ala imitation, drill, practice, etc.) and fun
(ala imrpovising among like-minded colleagues) are, in fact opposite ends
of the spectrum, or necessary counterparts of the same process? Which
brings me back to the seeming dichotomy of prescriptive and descriptive