Essay Page 30
experience the world, think!"

My point is that a university is a place to explore, a place to learn as much as you can without too much worry about survival. The idea of teaching "creative writing" at a university is simply absurd to me. You need to get out into the world, read a lot, experience a lot, live life, get on with it. Universities are a bit like hospitals: very good at looking at the world dispassionately but not a place for creativity. There is a reason we think of them as ivory towers: they allow you to examine things in comfort without a concern for the "real" world.

The pursuit of "creative writing" is something you do after you have something original and significant to say. I know that some young people think they do~and a very small minority may well have!~but the vast majority has not. Put simply, I think the whole idea of teaching "creative

writing" at a university is a joke. It is surely one huge wank for those who teach and a waste of time for those who study.


Clearly the email debaters could have gone on and on: none of them is likely to consider the statements made in this exchange to be their last word on any of these issues, or will feel they have responded sufficiently to points raised by others (I was very tempted to "pull rank" as editor and respond to any number of, to my prejudiced mind, dubious assertions and risible assumptions by the two other most active respondents~but I stayed, more or less, my itching hand.) However, this is not meant to be a comprehensive statement either of the issues or of the participants' positions: consider it a taster, a