Is how we write more important than what we write?

Tom Louis, Developmental Psychology

So here I am reading an article titled, “Why Teach English?” and the gist of the post is this: English seems to be the major book lovers go into but finding the perfect job involving literature and writing will limit most to teaching or a job outside of the degree.

Does this mean English major is obsolete or should we focus on the major at all and just be glad we’ve learned?

I remember in high school and in college, teachers will tell us to, “Think deeper. Think about the notes on this character and this plot, and this symbol” and from there we craft a BS essay that earns A’s or F’s. But none of them required our own thought.

What if the poet really was not talking about sex, but just milk instead? What if the whole story is not about about political divide but just someone honoring God’s creation of trees and flowers? Does it have to be “deep” all the time?

Just like grammar.

My husband and I had a conversation today with another couple and we’ve all concluded that as African Americans or Blacks, whatever we are called- we are accustomed to using language that belongs to someone else’s forefathers- not ours.

Okay, okay- I am not sure what my own ancestors’ language was, but I will say this: From now on why can’t we just write a good story? Or better yet, tell a good story.

For instance, I hear reviewers(and I could have been one of them) say, “Well, the writing was bad but the story was good”


Was the book good or not? Does it depend on language or imagination of the writer…which is more dominant?

I will play Devil’s Advocate here: I love to read. I love clear sentences and when poets can play around with punctuation and grammar to make a snappy point. This is when it is good to know a little about the mechanics of writing.

But still, I make it my business to tell a great story. Besides, in ancient times many stories were audible, not text.

People download my books, not because of the writing(which I do still try to edit and clean up anyway), but for the their love of the characters and their motives.

What do you think? Is how we write more important than what we write? 


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