Saturday, July 25, 2009

Frank McCourt

Frank McCourt, Author of Angela's Ashes, Tis, dies at 78, Baltimore Sun

Frank McCourt, Author of Angela's Ashes, Dies, Time Magazine

Memoirs and McCourt, New York Times

Now here's a guy I find worthy of studying, though I've never read any of his books. The most interesting thing to me is his idea of drawing the inner voice out of students; this is something I've been working on for years. "Flat" and "dull" are descriptions of writing by students who are essentially cautious, not themselves flat and dull; almost everyone has the ability to really say things that are interesting. His assignments are interesting too. One is to describe last night's dinner- not your favorite, not the typical, but last night's; down to the detail, with color, and including where everything came from. Another one I read somewhere was an exploration of the art of writing excuses.

I got stuck on his discovery that the simple present tense allowed him to apply a kind of child's detachment and accuracy to his teaching (maybe I should read this book?)...this apparently contributing to the overwhelming success of his book. I have never been a big fan of the simple present tense. I am, however, a fan of children, and of detachment.

It was also pointed out that his portrayal of Catholic priests came at just the right time...nevertheless, a study of his life shows that he at least earned the right to jab them and be a little disdainful. I'd like to study his life more. As a writing teacher myself, who goes home to try to find my "voice" on rare holidays, I could do worse.


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