I am now in my second semester of being a college student – again. This semester I am taking another writing class – ENG COMP II. Our text for this class is a handy little primer entitled They Say / I Say: The Moves that Matter in Academic Writing.
The authors of this text present writing as a conversational act. No one writes in a vacuum; we write in response to others. We agree, or disagree, or both. We modify what others have said, correct them, and elaborate their message. And others, in turn, write in response to us and the conversation continues.
The book provides a number of “templates” or formulas – a sort of literary training wheel for the novice writer – to help the beginner enter into the conversation and to understand how the form of the writing can shape the content of the writing.
I like the concept. I appreciate the templates, but it all feels rather remedial to me. Maybe it’s because I’ve grown up reading the gospels, and hearing the gospels read, - reading and hearing Jesus say:
“You have heard that it was said… but I say…”