Fiction bankers-chair

Published on October 21st, 2014

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Scrapping Technique for a Chair: Bret Lott on Students and Stories

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In this interview with Steven Wingate, Bret Lott talks about the role of writing teacher, something he takes very seriously and approaches in a simple, yet profound manner. He seems to shun the notion of technique, at least as it is often understood by Creative Writing students.

“I think,” he tells Wingate, “when people begin to ask about technique what they’re really asking is, Can you give me a map to that tunnel through the mountain so I don’t have to spend so much energy climbing this stupid mountain?”

Lott’s advice to his Mount Holyoke College students is, “Don’t leave you to go find your point of view and your story. You are all you have been given. There is going to be no out-of-chair experience coming your way.” This focus on the individual and his/her experiences supports Lott’s views on story and form.

Bret Lott has had his own ups and downs as a writer. He believes the journey should be hard. The process, the work itself, is the payoff.

“I delight in seeing in a student’s work that moment when he or she understands deeply the world the writer is authoring,” he says. “Truths that hold water, and that matter…. That’s pure joy, being a part of that.”

Read more of Bret Lott’s interview with Fiction Writer’s Review here.

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