TLC #4: Writing as a Way of Being

Hello!

This is a message about The Long Conversation, a live show dedicated to the crafts of writing, reading, and editing, hosted by me, Rachel Jepsen, who’s alive.

Do you ever feel terrified of writing? You have nothing to say? No thoughts worth putting down? No way to express yourself even if you wanted to?

Let’s talk about that.

In our next gathering—Friday, November 6, at 5:30 PM EST—we’re going to talk about why writing is hard, how it can help us figure out what we think, and how to orient ourselves toward the writing process as a process of writing ourselves.

To prepare for the show, we’re reading a chapter from a book that is very dear to me, by pedagogist Robert P. Yagelski, called Writing As a Way Of Being: Writing Instruction, Nonduality, and the Crisis of Sustainability. Our chapter is entitled: “Toward an Ontological Theory of Writing.” You can buy the book here, and access the PDF of the reading here (those are the furious underlinings of a grad student 🙇🏻‍♀️).

What to think about—and a little assignment

How are we taught to write and how might that contribute to a trauma around self-expression? What is this anxiety we feel when it comes to that blank page? What is the role of the body in writing through our digital omnipresence?

If you’d like, you can also join in on a little assignment the panelists are doing: After you’ve read the pages, sit down with a pen or pencil and sheet of paper and write about what you’re feeling, sitting there, writing. What can you feel in your body? Your boot on the hardwood, the glide of the pen across the paper, your heart rate, anything you can detect. Now what are you feeling inside? Go for ten minutes and don’t stop. If you can’t think of anything to write, just write “I can’t think of anything to write” until something else comes to mind.

See you on Friday. Stay safe, stay sane.

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