Re: The Main Problem

Bradley Bleck (
Sun, 22 Oct 1995 21:53:44 -0500

I have to agree with much of what has been said here about the
promulgating of rules by the unpracticing writers. Typically I see the
rules I've been exposed to more as guidelines, somewhat like George
Orwell's rules in "Politics and the English Language." Rule six is
"Ignore these rules rather than write anything outright barborous."
(That's the best I can do from memory.)

The thing is, as someone who writes (and should be working on a late
article) I am often telling my students "that depends" when they ask for
adivce or help with an essay. And then we talk about the best way they
might go about remedying their troubles. They hate that answer: "It
depends." Some have even asked for "The Secrets." I wish I knew.

I write for many of the resons mentioned. I don't write for professional
journals. I write for not-so-mass publication and consumption. That's
not to knock the writers of the academic journals I read. It's becuase I
want to write fiction and get paid, but all I can get paid to write is
news and opinion stuff. I also write because I don't know all the rules
and I can't recite them chapter and verse. If I didn't write, I would be
a lousy writing teacher who didn't know how to help student writers.
Besides, I can't imaging having a singing teacher who doesn't sing, a
painting teacher who does'nt paint, and so on. But being the relativist
that my wife says I am, that's for me and my teaching.

There are probably better teachers of writing out there than me who don't
write. I just know that I would be much less of a teacher of writing if I
didin't write. And, like Orwell, I would be outraging my true nature--or
some such thing. Growing up, I wanted to be a writer and I came to be a
teacher of writing as well. I figure that's only one ring from my
bullseye of life. Now, if someone will by that damned novel . . .

Bradley Bleck
Spokane Falls CC
contributing editor
_the adjunct advocate_