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You are not an angel (a letter to my students)

Moran, J You are not an angel (a letter to my students). New Writing The International Journal for the Practice and Theory of Creative Writing. ISSN 1479-0726 (Accepted)

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Abstract

This critical/creative essay takes the form of an imagined letter to my students. It suggests that in the online age we have come to see writing as angelic communion: intuitive, instantaneous, unmediated. Words hang briefly in the air as a discardable conveyance for shifting thought from one brain to another. Reading is a matter of swiping, skimming and scrolling, on touchscreens tailor-made for the smooth ingestion of content, which is what words have become in the age of big data. I urge my students to think instead of writing as embodied – something inseparable from that granular, glitch-ridden singularity, a human being. Because we are not angels, who are already word perfect, the right words only come to us at the end of long, unexciting work. Words fail us, or we fail them, but the failure is salutary and, in the end, a blessing. It teaches us to accept the otherness and unreadability of others. The letter form, a relic of the analogue age, concedes this inevitable distance between writer and reader, and the failure of writing to entirely bridge it. The letter writer must communicate imperfectly like a human being, not perfectly like an angel.

Item Type: Article
Uncontrolled Keywords: 1302 Curriculum and Pedagogy; 1904 Performing Arts and Creative Writing; 2005 Literary Studies
Subjects: H Social Sciences > H Social Sciences (General)
P Language and Literature > PN Literature (General)
T Technology > T Technology (General)
Divisions: Humanities & Social Science
Publisher: Taylor and Francis Group
SWORD Depositor: A Symplectic
Date Deposited: 05 Mar 2024 14:52
Last Modified: 05 Mar 2024 15:00
URI: https://researchonline.ljmu.ac.uk/id/eprint/22740
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