Suspend Your Disbelief

Posts Tagged ‘Teaching Writing’

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Under the Influence… of Robert Olen Butler

Three years into the doctoral program at Florida State University, my wife and I had tired of living like graduate students—the hard studying, hard partying, and hard poverty of it all. I thought I’d found a way out when I was offered a job and a place to live at a boarding school in western North Carolina. I called my dissertation director, Robert Olen Butler, to share my plans. “Is it money?” Bob asked. “Do you need money?” “You think it’s a bad idea? I’ll have time to write in the afternoons.” “If you fart on the squash court,” he […]


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The Eras of Teaching Creative Writing

  In his 1994 book Peddling Prosperity, the economist Paul Krugman offered an analogy that I have never been able to forget. He suggests that modern economics, which he fondly calls a “primitive science,” has reached about the same level of development that medicine reached in 1900. Medical researchers had, by that time [1900], accumulated a great deal of information about the human body and its workings, and were capable of giving some critically usefully advice about how to avoid disease. They could not, however, cure very much. Indeed, the doctor / essayist Lewis Thomas tells us that the most […]




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