I'm curious what others think, but I'm certain it can't.
That's one of the reasons I'm not a fan of MFA writing programs that suggest it can. Sure there are benefits to such programs, but I doubt anyone who wasn't a writer when he started came out one two years later.

It seems to me that creativewriting is like all the arts- mysterious and unavailable to all but a select few who for whatever the reason have been favored by the gods.
I base my conclusion on many years of teaching as well as my own experiences as a jazz pianist. While many enjoy my playing and think I'm a talented player, I know better. Try as I may. I'll never approach the level of those musicians who have been born with the gift. Many of them were picking out tunes at at the age of three or four, and what to the rest of us was gained only in small increments or not at all, was to those lucky few second nature.

In both cases it's a matter of hearing things beyond the range of mere mortals; whether notes or words or the rhythm that accompanies great writing and great music alike.Most can listen to Coltrane or Parker (or Faulkner or Carver)and come away uninspired or confused and without the slightest idea how to utilize the genius of those who have preceded them in forming their own unique voice.

It's nice to believe everything is possible if one is willing to put in time and effort. It's also untruthful or worse.

What do you think?
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Published on April 26, 2010 21:32 • 179 views • Tags: writing-genius-creativity
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message 1: by Hollis (new)

Hollis I don't personally think that writing can be taught. Genuinely, it amazes me how popular university courses in creative writing and 'creative writing workshops' are, since I think they are a little bit useless, aside from inspirational value. If you want to write and you want to get better at writing, then sit down and write. I don't think there's anything more to it than that.


message 2: by Joseph (last edited Apr 27, 2010 03:42PM) (new)

Joseph I'm afraid MFA Programs in Creative Writing have become a bit of a cottage industry.I guess it's good to the extent it provides jobs and gives students a place to go. I've spoken to a number of students and professor's, and the general consensus is that it doesn't do too much harm.I imagine it makes students write a lot, although any writer worth his salt does that anyway. . . can't not do it to be truthful.Also it allows one to form friendships and contacts in the field, although there's another side to that. Oftentimes young MFA's are first readers at a magazine and have a lot of power they really don't yet deserve. I've heard there's an awful lot of favortism for friends.Whether it's intentional or simply because they like the type of writing they've become used to, the results are the same; monotonous and mediocre writing. I remember when I was fresh out of grad school and thought I knew all there was to know.In truth I didn't and my interests like those of most young people were largely provincial and sophomoric.Fortunately, back then the only ones we could harm were friends who had to listen to us. Today's young people have a lot more opportunities to do damage. Many do.

BTW, in spite of the above if I could be twenty again, I think I'd jump at the chance. . . if only because of the co-eds!


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