WRITTEN EXPRESSION

Written Expression is a more welcoming title for this course than Freshman Composition.

At the most basic level, writing is a form of expression. When we write we communicate, like when we speak to each other, or gesture to each other, or even embrace each other. When we write, we try to say something to someone else. We try to impart knowledge about something, a feeling we have, a mood we are in, a perspective or point-of-view we occupy about someone or something. There are endless possibilities for what we write and how.

In this class, we will work together on writing intelligent, critical and creative essays in response to literature and the world around us. I believe that writing an essay is both an objective and subjective process. It is objective because we write an essay about something that we want to communicate to someone. It is subjective because you and only you write your essay. Your words come from your thought, feeling, interpretation, vision, point-of-view . . . So I always approach teaching writing an essay as a balance between a personal and impersonal action.

In each semester that I teach, I am always open to different ways to approach writing. I am very flexible with each of you individually, and all of you as a class when it concerns how the course will progress. Below are the things I emphasize in Written Expression.

  • Helping you find your own critical, intellectual and creative voice.
  • Helping you to write clear, active, specific and detailed sentences to help you to support and to communicate what you have to say.
  • Helping you structure and organize your essay around well developed paragraphs.
  • Helping you to become more specific, detailed, clear and supportive in your essays.
  • Helping you to learn different ways in which to interpret literature and the world around you.
  • Helping you to build your vocabulary for writing in a way that doesn’t suck.
  • Helping you to work on your grammar from within your essay in a way that doesn’t suck.
  • Helping you to get really excited about writing and to feel really smart when you do.
  • Helping you to discover different “rhetorical” strategies in your writing that help you to communicate the best
  • Helping you to discover all of the different types of writing that you can do–not just book reports!
  • Helping you to learn some handy tricks-of-the-trade that could take hours otherwise to learn.
  • Helping you to feel more confident about writing in other courses.
  • Helping you to discover that writing can be fun and exciting! (Impossible as this may seem.)

We will read selections of stories, poetry, music and essays that we will respond to in our writing. We will also utilize the two biggest resources you and any other writer have for writing: yourself and the world around you.

Excuse me for being even more nerdy here at the moment, but consider the original definition of essay, which means to journey, to try, to taste, to discover. To this end, use this class as a journey in which you are trying to discover something about yourself and the world around you that you want to communicate in your essays.

I try to work with each of you individually on your writing at least a couple of times a semester. But if you want to meet with me, do not hesitate to e-mail me and / or stop in at my office any afternoon of the week.

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