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Editor’s note: Marlin “Bart” Barton delivered these remarks at the 2012 Alabama High School Literary Arts Awards ceremony.

I teach creative writing every week to my students at Mt. Meigs juvenile facility and to my students at Converse College, who I work with face to face twice a year and then long distance during the semester that follows. Some days I feel like I know what I’m doing; other days, when I struggle with my own writing, I wonder if I know what I’m doing at all. (This isn’t hyperbole.) But I think it’s good for me as a teacher to have these struggles and doubts because it helps me remember what my students are going through. Read More

I’m not a doctor, but I am constantly surprised at the number of people who suffer from metrophobia. I’m talking about educated, literate professionals in many writing related fields of endeavor, who–if asked–involuntarily gasp and stammer, “Oh no, I can’t…. I don’t…. I could never do that!” Read More

Perhaps the most frequently given advice beginning writers receive is “write what you know.” On the face of it, that seems to be exactly the right philosophy to espouse, but I realized some time ago that it fell short of being as complete and piquant as one might think.

For example, one might ask, what exactly does a beginning writer, especially a very young beginning writer, know? Read More

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