UPDATE: I’ve added a link on this blog to all my recent LitDrift.com posts — look to the right where it says “Tanya’s Posts at LitDrift.com” for the links. Woohoo technology! Thanks to JK Evanczuk for making that happen.
As a side note, I wanted to mention that I also blog regularly over at LitDrift.com, a wonderful new-ish literary blog. It was started by the talented young fiction writer JK Evanczuk, and I joined about six months ago. My most recent post takes on the institution of literary “classics” :
I’m about to start teaching creative writing and composition once a week to a group of 11th and 12th graders in Harlem. Many of them will struggle with basic reading and writing comprehension, but my goal is to get them excited about telling their own stories, but also to respect the craft: to understand that editing is an important part of any artistic process, that attention to details helps the final product, and that constant practice (via writing and reading regularly) can only make their own creative and academic writing better.
So what kind of stuff do I want to encourage them to read in order to get excited about books and about writing their own stories? My mind automatically goes to “the classics,” a list of books many of which I haven’t even read myself (cue the guilt). But are these the best works to get them excited?