"Writing itself becomes the subject of the writing course..."

 — Michael Carter       


Revision as Not Just the Same Old Song: Another Parallel to Music

September 17th, 2014 by

This might seem like a shameless plug for my Pretexts book. But it has occurred to me over the last week of talking with my first-year students about the parallels the book draws between the composing processes of Mozart, Beethoven, and most writing processes, that there is more to be made of music and writing. My book draws on the American poet Stephen Spender and classic work with Composition scholar Janet Emig to suggest that the composing styles that most people are taught in school are not adequate to the complex writing tasks they must face. For the last week, my students and I have been discussing and writing about this.

But there is more to the music. (I often like to draw comparisons with other fields when talking about problems with writing.) It also occurred to me over the summer as I labored to finish another revision of a novel I’ve been re-writing over the last few years that my struggles could be represented best by another reference to music.

I’ve noticed that when I’ve shared a song with a friend or family member, as I listen to the song with them, I hear new things in it. I almost hear it in new ways. I’ve noticed this with songs I’ve heard too much. Sharing the song, being aware that another is hearing it, causes me to hear new things.

In going over my novel many times this summer, it started to feel old, like a song I’d heard too often. I started to feel dull, and I saw my writing as dull and old. But I also noticed that when I read some of those passages to a friend or shared them in a writing group, I started to see new possibilities in them. Something, some spark of life lit up, and I began to feel a new sense of purpose in it.

For me, this parallel to the same old song has helped me to revive my sense that writing is indeed generative. One sentence, one paragraph, one draft, contains the seeds and potential of newer and further investigation. And if the writing is getting old, it might be a sign to put it away for a while. But another trick might be to have other people hear it.

Posted in Uncategorized| 20 Comments


Replies:

Comment by Emily Griesinger on September 17, 2014 at 1:40 pm

This is true of reading and teaching the same literary text as well. It’s better to read with a group of students who may be meeting the author for the first time. Some “spark” in the old text “lights up” . . . again . . . and again.

Comment by Tom on September 17, 2014 at 2:07 pm

Absolutely. This has happened to me every time I’ve read a literary text with others. It’s very powerful. We need to have reading groups as part of our pedagogy!

Comment by Katie Manning on September 18, 2014 at 8:30 pm

Yes! I also experience this with my writing (and other texts and music and movies and…). Thanks for articulating this insight so well.

Comment by Kurt on September 28, 2014 at 8:28 am

Its not myy first time to visit this web page,
i am visiting this website dailly andd take good information from here every day.

Comment by kościół on October 6, 2014 at 8:48 am

Hey There. I discovered your blog the use of msn.
That is a really well written article. I will be sure to bookmark
it and come back to read more of your helpful information. Thank you for the post.

I will certainly comeback.

Comment by christophe on October 6, 2014 at 1:32 pm

Wow, that’s what I was seeking for, what a material!
present here at this blog, thanks admin of this site.

Comment by Czfurka on October 7, 2014 at 12:55 am

Good article. I’m dealing with some of these issues as well..

Comment by Turbo Lizzie on October 7, 2014 at 2:22 am

At this time it looks like Movable Type is the best blogging platform out there right
now. (from what I’ve read) Is that what you’re using on your blog?

Comment by Cycles on October 7, 2014 at 4:52 am

great publish, very informative. I ponder why the other experts of this sector don’t notice this.
You must proceed your writing. I am confident, you’ve a huge readers’ base already!

Comment by michael kors handbags gilmore on October 7, 2014 at 8:22 am

It’s going to be ending of mine day, however before finish I
am reading this great post to increase my know-how.

Comment by gioco 2048 on October 7, 2014 at 8:35 am

Having read this I believed it was really enlightening. I appreciate you
spending some time and energy to put this information together.
I once again find myself spending a lot of time both reading and
posting comments. But so what, it was still worthwhile!

Comment by neighbors on October 7, 2014 at 9:01 am

I think the admin of this web page is genuinely working hard in favor of his website, because here every material is quality based material.

Comment by citw on October 7, 2014 at 9:09 am

I do not even understand how I finished up here, however I believed this
submit was once good. I don’t know who you’re but certainly you are going to a well-known blogger when you aren’t already.
Cheers!

Comment by guardians galaxy on October 7, 2014 at 10:50 am

Hi there, I enjoy reading all of your post. I like to write a little comment
to support you.

Comment by dan penyakit batang tenggorokan on October 7, 2014 at 3:25 pm

Everything is very open with a clear description of the challenges.
It was truly informative. Your website is very useful.
Thank you for sharing!

Comment by host europe group on October 7, 2014 at 3:28 pm

I’m impressed, I must say. Rarely do I come across a blog that’s equally educative and engaging, and without a doubt, you have hit the nail on the head.
The problem is something too few people are speaking intelligently about.
I’m very happy I came across this during my hunt for something concerning this.

Comment by sense humor on October 7, 2014 at 4:00 pm

It’s wonderful that you are getting thoughts from this piece of
writing as well as from our dialogue made at this place.

Comment by Ruch Narodowy- o Polsce on October 8, 2014 at 6:18 am

I visit day-to-day some websites and blogs to read articles or reviews,
except this blog presents feature based writing.

Comment by baby sleep on October 8, 2014 at 7:48 am

Your style is unique compared to other folks I have read stuff
from. Thank you for posting when you have the opportunity, Guess I
will just bookmark this site.

Comment by Johnie Maccarini on October 16, 2014 at 9:24 pm

This site really has all the info I needed about this subject and didn’t know who to ask.

Reply to Post

Comments