6 Ideas About Writing I Want to Live Forever (005)

Writer detail from "Kitchen Mural" by  Roy Chambers  (2008).

Writer detail from "Kitchen Mural" by Roy Chambers (2008).

A quick trip through some ideas about writing that I want to live forever—a companion to last month’s crowdsourced theme “The Idea about Writing You Most Want to Die” that I discussed with that brilliant panel of educators at Bread Loaf (004). Afterwards, several people asked if I would be willing to highlight some ideas I have found most useful as a teacher of writing for two decades who continues to work with writing instructors as part of my consulting work in schools, so here are six of my favorites.  

Thanks as always to Shayfer James for our intro and outro. Buy his music here. Thanks to Roy Chambers and John Opera for suggestions for this episode's format and content. Thanks to you for listening, sharing, and offering feedback! 

episode structure

Some Ideas About Writing I Want to Live Forever:

  1. Ask students what they think. #stuvoice (01:46)
  2. Develop assignments based on your own favorites. (03:41)
  3. The Artist and the Editor (05:04)
  4. Alternatives to the 5-Paragraph Essay (08:09)
  5. Some questions I ask when designing assignments (10:36)
  6. Some thoughts on grading. (12:23)
What writing sometimes looks like to me these days! Here's my podcast desk when I was making episode 004. 

What writing sometimes looks like to me these days! Here's my podcast desk when I was making episode 004. 

Not a bad way to picture the Artist and the Editor ready to roll to a literary costume ball some July Saturday night in Vermont. Exploiting a less effective method to try to keep certain ideas about writing alive, Roy Chambers (who painted this episode's cover) appeared as Hunter S. Thompson. I went as F. Scott Fitzgerald--whose work, you may recall, would not have been so memorable but for his partnership with editor Maxwell Perkins.  

Not a bad way to picture the Artist and the Editor ready to roll to a literary costume ball some July Saturday night in Vermont. Exploiting a less effective method to try to keep certain ideas about writing alive, Roy Chambers (who painted this episode's cover) appeared as Hunter S. Thompson. I went as F. Scott Fitzgerald--whose work, you may recall, would not have been so memorable but for his partnership with editor Maxwell Perkins.  

Supplementary Materials

No. 3, The Artist and the Editor segment, refers to Anne Lamott’s book Bird by Bird: Some Instructions on Writing and Life (Anchor, 1994). Click for Goodreads review, etc.

No. 6, Some thoughts on grading, cites Linda Christensen and her book Teaching for Joy and Justice: Re-Imagining the Language Arts Classroom (Rethinking Schools, 2009). The last chapter is called "Grading: Moving Beyond Judgment," which includes the eminently re-readable essay “My Dirty Little Secret: I Don’t Grade Student Papers.”  

Toward the end of the show, I rail on standardized testing. Click button for some more thoughts about that ...

Peter Horn