I’m responding in this post to a conversation on WPA-l concerning my advocating the pleasure principle: the writing (and learning) should be fun, the consequence of which is a life-long habit of writing and learning (fun includes being challenged–this for my hard-work readers).

Here’s a link to the long post (writing as fun).

In the post, I said I would let students speak–so the rest of this post will simply be some quick blurbs from students and links to their longer discussions or essays.

Here’s the beginning of Shelby’s (see post below) recount of how she wrote about the Midsummer Night’s Dream essay:

“I put off writing this paper until the last night possible. I told myself I wouldn’t, and I really didn’t mean to, but it was like a big black rain cloud looming above my head for weeks . . .”

Link to her full statement.

Here’s the beginning of Shelby’s (again, see post below) reflection on “In the Middle.”

“One of my favorite pieces I wrote this semester is my personal essay, written when given the opportunity to write about anything. That’s right…anything. When Professor Peckham gave us the assignment, I was really rather annoyed.”

Her full statement.

Leanne was one of my serious challenges. I generally start my courses off by saying that one of my primary goals here is to get you to like writing. Leanne, said, NO F****ing way. Here’s what she said about herself as a writer (in her portfolio):

Coming into English 2000, I hated writing, and by hate I mean completely despise. Writing has been a struggle for me ever since I had to write my first “essay” in elementary school, and it is something I still struggle with today, though not to the same extent.


I’m just going to link here to some comments and two essays by Rachel, one of my current students. Like Leanne, she came into the class fully turned off from writing (I recognized that I am really irritated by writing teachers who create these kinds of negative attitudes toward writing–about 50% of our students come into our Drexel classes with pointedly negative attitudes toward writing–Rachel was one of them).  In spite of thinking of herself as a bad writer (a consequence of teachers’ responses to her argument essays), she shows herself here (IMHO) as a wonderful writer. This disconnect simply shocks me. [I realize that readers who think I’m nuts will be looking for ways to discount Rachel’s essays].

Link to Rachel

I have hundreds of wonderful essays I have collected in the past five years (this is when I moved away from the academic discourse logic). I have so many favorites–I think anyone reading these could see why I don’t put off reading student writing. I don’t grade them; I simply enjoy them. And I write back to them.  As Gus said, (you have to read my post to WPA-l), the good Lord put me into the classroom to enjoy myself.

Here’s Hannah. I loved her style. I just loved reading whatever she wrote.

I was sitting on my favorite yellow circle on the Reading Rug. The yellow circle was in the middle of the second row from the back. As an anxious child I thought this was a particularly strategic spot- not too close to the Saggy Skinned Lady in front, yet not close enough to the edge to risk burning in the lava disguised as tile. Saggy Skinned Lady sat in her rocking chair and I knew it was time to be quiet and let her teach the other kids how to read (I thought I already knew how). More . . .


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