I received my B.A. from U. of Southern California, where I took a class in poetry writing and happened to be pretty good. My writing led me to the University of Arkansas and a new understanding of the world: I now say grocery store instead of market, grill instead of barbeque, and tag instead of license plate. At the U. of Arkansas, I earned M.F.A. and M.P.A. degrees.
I read whenever I can and don’t have cable, though I did watch all four seasons of Friday Night Lights on nbc.com. in close to one sitting. I really like teaching writing and helping students understand how much power they can gain by learning how to write well.
Essays worth reading don’t always say something new; they do, however, say something in a new way. Finding that new way, that new angle or new perspective, is the writer’s job. Most college instructors want to read informative and interesting essays.
Imagine reading sixty-five essays on one short story. That’s what instructors do; they read a lot of essays about the same topic. Your job is to make your essay different from the other sixty-five. Try to make every assignment important to you in some way. If you can get yourself to want to write about the topic, the essay will convey that enthusiasm to your audience. Then, that enthusiasm and interest will convey itself in the words you choose, the sentences you create, and the point you make.
Good writing recognizes the importance of the writer’s perspective.