Wall Street Journal columnist Peggy Noonan is leading a study group at Harvard, just like Joel McHale does in the new NBC show Community. Her offering, a part of the Fall 2009 study groups at Harvard's Institute of Politics, is titled "Creativity In Journalism, In Politics And In Life: A Writer's Perspective," and she has offered a syllabus for your perusal.
Obviously, it is MAGICAL... the dream of a crystalline dust mote in the eyelash of a woodland faerie! Noonan says, "It is often said that writing is a solitary act, and that is true - it's you and your brain, your soul and your response to something that's happening either in the world or in your head." Sometimes, the "world" is full of crazies, and your "brain" is spiked with Adderall and your "soul" is being crushed to death by cynicism over the fact that no one is hiring you or purchasing your writing, but I'm sure Noonan is going to cover all these vagaries. At least I hope so! Her sentence-fragment-strewn syllabus reads like this:
"What It Is to Write A book?"
To write a book is to swing for the fences. Books last. The great CBS News anchor Charles Kuralt once said in my presence, gesturing toward the television, "That doesn't last, but this" - he gestured toward a book case - "does." (Actually if Google has its way maybe this will change; maybe they'll delete us.) But until they do, books are forever. I've written eight. All nonfiction. Let's talk about them, about the writing of them, and let us have as a guest a great book writer. I have someone very specific in mind, and he's said yes.
And that's the incredibly true story of how Charles Kuralt advised on the purchase of a bookcase, adding, "None of that cardboard Ikea crap, either."
Noonan hopes that various sessions will include various guests like "a great book writer" and "a great columnist," which adds a lot of dramatic suspense to this whole affair. But you will have to wait for that!
What you can enjoy now is the audio of Chris Lehmann giving Noonan's syllabus a dramatic reading, with a "few improvements." This will allow you to feel like YOU ARE THERE, learning to laugh and love and write again, with Peggy Noonan, only much much better.
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