Uncreative Writing?

In my last post, I commented on the mash-up of what appears to be constituting our current literary tradition. And to make matters more interesting, I just got a new book in the mail…so this morning I jumped into Kenneth Goldsmith’s Uncreative Writing — a text on the reinvention of writing in the digital age. It’s FASCINATING. Forgive my Friday brain (for I got so little sleep last night) if I oversimplify things (and fear not, I’ll return to this book again, I’m sure) but the text proposes that patchwriting, “a way of weaving together various shards of other people’s words into a tonally cohesive whole,” is the new creative writing.

He argues that plagiarism is now an acceptable option for writers. He encourages undergrads in his class at Penn to utilize techniques such as collage, plagiarism, sampling, repurposing papers, etc. to create projects that turn out to be original works, wrought with self expression.

Goldsmith says, “The act of choosing and reframing tells us just as much about ourselves as our story about our mother’s cancer operation.”

I’ve only gotten through the introduction so far, but my mind is blown. Stay tuned for more on this, for I think Goldsmith has some valid (although controversial) points and isn’t a voice I can (or want to) ignore…

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