Welcome to the motherblog!

Hi everyone,

Welcome to the blog! If your first day in Barbara’s class was anything like mine, you’re probably wondering right about now, “What, exactly, have I gotten myself into?” I was that girl two years ago — the one who believed full-heartedly that creative writing just wasn’t my bag. When Barbara cast her eyes around Coltrane Lounge, rooting out the feeble hearted, I wanted to raise my hand, sheepishly admit that I’d made a mistake, and scuttle off to a sensible, predictable seminar. History, I thought. Ecology, maybe.

But something (dumb luck? a little providence?) kept me firmly tucked in my shabby, overstuffed seat. Under the watchful eyes of John Coltrane and Company, and with the heater rattling and clanking in the corner, I resigned myself to what I was sure would be a horrifically uncomfortable semester. In the end, though, the decision to take this class was possibly the best decision I’ve made in my time at the College. Thinking back on my semester in 170, I can’t help but be incredibly excited for all of you embarking on this journey. You’re in for quite the ride.

If you’re wondering what, exactly, you’ve gotten yourself into — that’s entirely up to you, as I’m sure Barbara’s told you by now. Your personalities as writers will determine the shape of the semester. I can only encourage you to make the most of your time together. Dive into blogging — it takes a little getting used to, but it’s one of the most dynamic and exciting elements of this writing community. Throw yourselves into those in-class writing exercises. Take risks. And take advantage of each other, Barbara, and us tutors. A community of people who love writing, who collect and cherish words, is a dear thing.

I am excited and grateful to be sharing this semester with you. I’m looking forward to joining in your writing endeavors (I’ll be blogging right alongside the best of you!) and helping in any way that I can to make this semester a meaningful one. Don’t hesitate to fire off an e-mail if you’re looking for coffee, advice, commiseration about writers’ block (or ENAM 170-phobias!), anything at all. My kettle is on and my door is always open, and I can’t wait to get to know all of you.

Hold on to that shabby, overstuffed chair in Coltrane Lounge for all it’s worth. I promise you won’t regret the decision.


(A little addendum, since Maddie and Alex both talked a bit about themselves as writers. I’m an ES/Nonfiction major, which means — I like science, and I love words. I’m writing a senior thesis right now about western explorers, the Olympic peninsula and whaling — go figure — that, in spite of my best efforts to direct it otherwise, is insisting on morphing into a manuscript of poems. [Yikes.] I’m also the editor of the newspaper, so when I’m not immersed in my own creative writing I tend to be tucked away in Hepburn basement agonizing over computer failures, missed deadlines, story ledes and editorials. I was at the Bread Loaf Writers’ Conference last summer writing nonfiction, which only further confirmed my belief that a community of writers is the most fulfilling sort of community you can stumble upon. I live in town these days, over Taste of India, and my adorable, ramshackle living room is always open to wayward writers looking to amble off campus and chat for a spell. Come visit.)

Opening the Course


…to the Spring 2008 Intro to Creative Writing Blog (bg’s section)! This marks the sixth year I’ve used blogs in this course; every year they change a bit, as do the unit plans, the readings, the exercises, but with the exception of the first blog (which vanished into the netherworld when platforms were switched), the blogs from previous years, although separate from one another, are richly linked, back and forth to provide examples and inspiration. You have the privilege of standing on the shoulders of all the other writers who have passed through these blog-doors.

Take a swing around the blogs from 2003- 2006, if you like, to get acquainted with the rhythms of this course. And above all, take a look at the writing of the students:

2003.jpg 2004.jpg 2005.jpgpicture-1.jpg

Spring 2003 Spring 2004 Spring 2005 Spring 2006

Enjoy, too, the course blog from this past J-term: The Far Reaches of Contemporary Creative Nonfiction. We’re still posting to that blog, and are going to pull together an online ‘zine soon. Stay tuned.

This course is all about tapping into our deepest creative selves, learning to read as writers, taking risks with our writing that will lead to growth in our work and in ourselves. It is a course about exploration, about experimenting, about stretching our writing selves to their utmost. I will only ever post the assignments for the specific unit we’re in as it’s essential to grow the course in response to your needs as a writing community. What I can tell you is that we will spend three weeks in each of the following areas: multimedia experiments, creative nonfiction, fiction and poetry. The course title is “Introduction to Creative Writing,” and that means opening a lot of doors, peering inside, and trying out the tools lying about the place.  You’ll more about the course here, in the Course Overview.

Welcome aboard!