Class, Tues, 8/30

About E110 and This Section


  • Tell a story about a good experience you’ve had with writing in school—a moment when you learned something useful or felt successful or had some fun. Don’t simply offer the lesson or moral of your tale. Show what happened. Set the scene, describe the people involved, show how events unfolded. Try to tell your story in a way that lets your readers understand your point without needing you to explain it to them. I will ask you to read this piece aloud to introduce yourself to several of your classmates.


  • Form a circle of 10 or 11 students. Have each person read their story to the group. But don’t talk about them right away. Instead listen quietly and take notes. See if you can identify some patterns or themes, some recurring experiences, in what the group has to say about learning how to write.

Class Work

  • Drawing on your notes, create a list of at least four or five conditions that you all agree lead to good experiences with writing in school. Make the items on your list as interesting and un-obvious as you can. Phrase the items on your list a complete sentences. Appoint a secretary to type it up and email it to me. Make sure that the name of everyone in the group is on it. We’ll talk about these lists next class.

Practical Matters

  • Class work and attendance
  • Food and drink
  • Laptops
  • Phones and social media
  • Punctuality and deadlines

Writing Geek

  • Periods, or full stops
    • Use one space after a period. See Farhad Manjoo, “Space Invaders” (Slate 2011).

To Do

  1. Thurs, 9/01, class: Read Chapter 1 of Elizabeth Spelman’s Repair. Be ready to pass a simple reading quiz.
  2. Thurs, 9/01, class: Read the materials for this course that I’ve posted to this site. Jot down two or three questions, keyed to specific pages on this site, that you’d like to ask me.
  3. Thurs, 9/01 class: Bookmark or follow this site. Create a WordPress account and remember the email you used to do so.
  4. Tues, 9/06, class: Read Chapter 2 of Repair. Be ready to pass a simple reading quiz.

Moment of Zen

Gene Wilder, 1933–2016, Puttin‘ on the Ritz