Every time I go back through Writing without Teachers (I’m doing so now, creating reading/discussion questions for when my undergrads go through it in Theories of Composition this fall) I find weirder and weirder directives and descriptions, including such gems as:
- “Keep writing as though you are drugged or drunk,”
- use “symbols and pieces of paper not as a crutch but as a wheel chair,”
- “do all your cooking out on the table,”
- “cooking drives the engine that makes growing happen,”
- try to “get the feeling of a shape in the dimension of time…”
- “be a big spender. Not tightass.”
Elbow has some good stuff in WWT, yes, absolutely. It’s not exactly a useful method for producing academic, scientific, or technical texts, and is problematic in other ways, but there’s still some gold in notions such as “start writing and keep writing” or when he relates (again and again) the importance of doing reflective writing alongside productive writing.
But… drugs, much?