Lately, I've been finding ways to fit Narrative Prose, short stories especially, back into my life. It has largely been absent since I stopped pursuing writing fiction myself, my recent academic work has been theory-based and left little room for reading stories to read. It was only when I started listening to the podcast of NPR's "Selected Shorts" program - in which actors and other performers read short stories to a studio audience. That I even remembered what I was missing.
Today, Salon.com published a series of excerpts from Red, an upcoming collection of short prose by teenage girls. I really like it. These girls have written some powerful, insightful, and original stuff. I don't know how much stock to put in the editor's assertion that social networking sites and other internet-facilitated communications are creating "a generation of writers." I'd like to believe it though, and certainly these examples suggest that for whatever reason, there are some talented young writers out there. Check it out.
I think if the editor's assertion is true, and we are looking at a whole generation learning to write online, the ramifications for those of us who are educators in the humanities will be very significant. A groundswell of unruly expression alarms some of us, I think, but we should see it as an opportunity. A potential mass movement of students interested in self-expression. The problem for us will be how to offer these students tools they need and want to use, challenge them to grow and explore, and avoid trying too hard to mold them into a "proper" format - without falling into the fallacy that they already have everything they might need to express themselves and any input on our part is somehow oppression.