Class SUSPENDED INDEFINITELY

I apologize, this class never really got off the ground, due to my moving across country and starting school full time. If anyone passing through is interested, they may contact me. For further information, please see Peter Elbow's books, especially, Writing Without Teachers. Feel free to have a look around. -Matthew 7/30/97


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During this first run, anyone may join or drop the class at any time simply by sending me e-mail so indicating. I ask that current members try to submit one piece of writing each week, by say, midnight PST, just because midnight has a real deadline feel. Submissions should be in the form of e-mail messages sent to me(mweberle@usa.net) with "Sub:" as well as the date of submission and the name by which you would like to be known to the rest of the class i.e.
"Sub: 8/01/97 Matt Eberle" would work just fine for the subject of a weekly submission of mine submitted on the 1st. In addition, I ask that we all try to submit a critique of each member's weekly submission, as soon as possible after it has been received. During the trial run we may have more people than we could possibly respond to, and I understand that. Just bear in mind that my eventual goal is a core group of around seven members who have committed one submission a week and a critique for each of the other member's submissions. For now though, simply try things out, see how it feels.

The subject line for a critique should be "Crit:" followed by the date and name of the piece being critiqued. So, "Crit:8/01/97 Matt Eberle," would be a critique of the piece indicated in the previous example. Long and scholarly is not necessary; short and personal is usually preferable. Some thoughts on critiquing will be added to this page within the next few days. I will forward all class messages to the list of current class members as soon as I receive them. Any messages to the whole list which are not submissions or critiques should be headed with "Note:," this is the header I'll use for messages I want to send to all of my classmates at once.

This may seem like a lot of extra work in addition to all those other worldly responsibilities. I disagree. First, with regard to submissions, they do not have to be extra work. Anything which is writing which you have done during the current week is acceptable be it a business memo, cover letter, essay, letter to the editor, or any of a whole host of other possibilities. We are here primarily to support each other's writing habit. If you didn't already have such a habit or desire to acquire one, you wouldn't still be reading this. So don't worry about polishing your writing before submitting - you might actually learn more from responses to what you consider a rough draft. If the deadline nears and you still have not submitted anything, freewrite; put writing utensil to flat surface or fingers to keys and just start writing and don't stop until 10 minutes are up. Set yourself an alarm. When you're finished - send it in. I have some suggestions for this which I can add to the site if there is interest.

Second, with regard to critiques - quality is much more important than quantity. I envision the sort of response that only the particular person that you are has to the particular piece of writing in question. A sort of mind dump or stream-of-consciousness or "movie of the mind" (Peter Elbow) giving whatever runs through your unique brain as you read a particular set of words. Don't worry if it seems unrelated or unhelpful. Don't worry about critiquing grammar although you may; this a good editor could do. Give what only you can give, give as true a picture of your personal reaction as possible. I'll be adding some hints and tricks for doing this probably sometime this weekend. In the meantime - remember this is one of the few places where truly dashing something off the top of your head is exactly what we have in mind.

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This page last updated:7/30/97