For my first project at CWCAB, I’d like to solicit and share the creative writing of writing center tutors and administrators here on the blog. I’d love to read poetry and short non-fiction/fiction pieces about writing center work, but I’m just as interested in creative work that’s more abstractly inspired by the practice and pedagogy of tutoring writing. Maybe you have a poem inspired by an interaction with a student in the writing center. Maybe you wrote a reflective profile of yourself as a tutor. Maybe (fingers crossed!) you composed the first writing center rock opera. Whatever it is, however you got there from writing center studies, we want to read it.
Editor’s note: Dillon Tripp, of Jackson State Community College in Tennessee, recently started a Facebook group for writing center directors. Sharing snapshots of our careers, several of us noticed that there were a fair amount of directors with MFAs. I invited them to share more about their experience transitioning into the field after finishing their degree, the advantages their MFA has brought to their careers, and the challenges they face today. Some excerpts are below:
The main connection that ties my former experimental poet days to my WCD days is simple: despair. But the good kind, the kind that propels. Writing forced me into places I never actually found my way out of–I’d draft a poem for two years before it started to mean something unified to me. I wanted the medium to do so much more than I could make it do, and I felt drawn to find out what lies “north of the future,” in Paul Celan’s language.
It is the labor and the discouragement that immediately bonds me to the students who come to the writing centers I’ve directed. I find myself tuned into gradations of readiness–are you ready to just abandon this draft and come at it from a more promising vantage point? Are you ready to gut this paragraph? The next one too? Those writers I feel the deepest kinship with, just as I did with my fellow agonizers in the MFA program. They despair, but they despair productively.