March 24, 2004

grad level unschooling

My mother's entry today has some resonance for me. I never went to grad school, never got that MFA that writing folk seem to consider so important. It's late in the game to do it now and anyway, that's besides the point. I don't want to. I would hate it. I hated college. I hate being told what to learn and how to write.

So the question really becomes: can you learn on your own? When it comes to writing and maybe art too, I think the answer is yes and no. You can but only if you know how to go about it and that you need to teach yourself the craft, that you can't just toss paint on the canvas or words on the page and consider yourself a professional.

I learned in the trenches, so to speak. I learned by showing script after script to agents and producers and other writers, by getting feedback and rewriting and getting more feedback and rewriting yet again. I also read a lot and saw a lot of movies and analyzed everything all the time. But most of all, I learned from two gentlemen who turned out to be cads but who taught me how to write cleanly and from the gut. A master class in writing from two highly paid writers who were trying the role of producer on for size, to my benefit and detriment both.

So yes, I absolutely believe that you can have a solid background and education without ever stepping foot in a classroom. Who came up with the idea that we have to all learn the same way, anyhow?

(And Mom, I bet you made that kid think for days after that. Shook his world.)

Posted by Tamar at March 24, 2004 11:15 PM

There's some history on education here:

Posted by: Z at July 30, 2004 12:46 PM