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Thursday, May 17, 2012

PBW: note one

Why do I find it easier to write on some subjects than others? To some people than others? Using certain platforms than others? I'm not sure, but I know that I write with ease and confidence when I'm authentically responding to an issue. Better yet, to a problem.

Tell me Kobe Bryant (who I loooooooooooooooooove, BTW) is better than Michael Jordan, and I'll write you a ten-page single-spaced essay on why you're out of your frickin' mind. Tell me you don't "get" The Strokes' Room on Fire album, and I can write for six hours straight on why it's an overlooked masterpiece. Simply put, I enjoy writing when I'm addressing some sort of problem. Not the "I lost my car keys" type of problem, but rather an issue (big or small) to which I want to add my voice.

All this is to say, as a writing teacher, I want to create more problem-based assignments in my curriculum. Importantly, I'm not suggesting my class suddenly bludgeon ourselves to death in service of the "Five-Paragraph Argumentative Essay." Instead, I'm just tinkering with the idea that perhaps one way to help my students produce quality prose is to help them thoughtfully engage with ideas that contain problems worth discussing. I mean, not only is that my favorite type of thing to write, but it's also my favorite stuff to read.

Coda: way more on this subject to come . . . just wanted to get some thoughts down on paper.

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