What persists are damaging stereotypes about writing and creativity that continue to reinforce troubling dichotomies about the nature of creativity.
Brandt notes that in her hundreds of interviews with families, people rarely remembered writing around parents.
For many families, being a writer is not seen as a valuable trade -- it’s the stuff of fiction.
In fact, both Dewey and Mearns were highly critical of the notion of “culture,” which seemed to be a means of discriminating against the masses for abilities that people held due to various privileges and advantages (such as speaking “proper” English).
Myers demonstrates how the rise of creative writing paralleled the rise of post-World War II college enrollments due to the GI Bill, as well as the rise of federal student aid.
This practice, of course, has a long history -- reading was not a solitary or silent activity until relatively recently.
(Scholars debate exact dates, but some point to silent reading as a late-19th-century or even 20th-century phenomenon.) Writing, in contrast, has often been associated with privacy, secrecy and solitude, as Brandt asserts.Indeed, if creative writing is about world creation, as many people contend it is (although that, too, is debatable), what is closer to this than the creation of a new experience? Myers traces the origins of this term, the genre and the workshop that has become the standard in English departments across America.How did the field of creative writing, and the public’s idea about this type of writing, emerge? Myers presents ample evidence that the institutionalized field of creative writing barely resembles the ideals and movement that produced it in the 1920s, when it exploded in popularity largely due to the writings of educator William Hughes Mearns.Writing is also associated not with workplace forms but with poetry and fiction.A question that comes to mind is that if a persistent narrative around writing is that the only creative writing is fiction and poetry, and if families do not see themselves as skilled in this way, how can they encourage writing in all of its forms as a family value?Mearns proposed the practice of writing literary texts for self-expression, so that kids would enjoy literature, and for promoting an understanding of literature by writing it.His description of his creative workshop spread quickly and was rapidly adopted across the United States, largely because he traveled throughout the country presenting the model to teachers and schools and then published student work in various texts that were also publicly devoured.To many people, if not most, the phrase “creative writing” marks a genre.A man writes in a garret, his pages lit by the faint glow of a lamp. And he is writing a story -- perhaps about a road trip.(See, for example, , we even see the symbolic gesture of a teacher tearing up the syllabus, perhaps imagined to be the dullest of literary genres.But as a material representation of a 16-week experience, it is, I would argue, one of the most creative and rewarding of writing forms.