Jan. 1st, 2010

Writing life: Plato, dialectic, story discussions, and fan fiction (Great Books discussion)

Doug and I went to a Friday night lecture tonight (December 4) at my alma mater, St. John's College in Annapolis, that was entitled "Why Plato Wrote." Friday night is the only time of the week when lectures are held at St. John's; all of the classes are discussion classes, in which the students and tutors (i.e. instructors) talk about the Great Books that everyone has read. So of course, immediately after the lecture, the lecturers are forced to undergo a Q&A session with the students and tutors.

In the Q&A, the lecturer mentioned Plato's Phaedrus, in which Socrates talks about whether writing can be helpful. Socrates has, you will see, a generally poor opinion of writing.

What Socrates and Robin Hobb have in common )

The reason I spend so much time encouraging story discussions and fan fiction about my stories - I realized tonight - is precisely because I graduated from a college that honors discussion as playing a central role in keeping books alive. When a reader posts a piece of Eternal Dungeon fan fiction, or when readers at my blog discuss my stories amongst each other (with me keeping out of the way as much as possible, because "any of the bystanders could have explained those poems better than their actual authors") . . . that is when my stories become, in Phaedrus's words, "living speech."

Any thoughts, folks?

July 2017

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