Broccoli

Lamott starts this section with a reference to an old Mel Brooks joke, “Listen to your broccoli and your broccoli will tell you how to eat it.” To Lamott, the broccoli is the writer’s intuition. This harkens back to her themes on writing being a reflection of life, and the gut feeling is just as much a part of life as morality is. She encourages writers to connect with their intuition, especially if they were told to ignore it in childhood. Listen to the little voice that gives writing hints, no matter what form it takes.

This part of the book is extremely interesting. It follows heavily expressionist ideals, which are described in Richard Fulkerson’s essay. In a classroom, expressionists use techniques such as journaling to teach students about writing craft. They believe that students should write on subjects which ring true for the writers themselves. Another theorist who is widely recognized for his expressive techniques in the classroom is Peter Elbow. In his work, “A Method for Teaching Writing” he suggests that the class choose the topic they write about. Elbow writes, “But ‘better’ is misleading: the right assignments are simply those that the members of the class can take seriously.” Therefore, Lamott’s idea follows that a writer’s topic must be interesting and true for him or her. Trusting one’s intuition is the best way to stay this course.

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