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December 18, 2008

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Obama As Writer (Well, Co-Writer)

I’m fascinated by Barack Obama’s conception of himself as a writer, and doubly fascinated by his partnership with younger-than-me speechwriter Jon Favreau. This Washington Post article by Eli Saslow (“Helping to Write History”) indulges both fascinations to the hilt. Enjoy.

Posted December 18, 2008 at 6:30 | Comments (2) | Permasnark
File under: Books, Writing & Such, Briefly Noted, Snarkpolitik


I'm with you, Tim. That article stirs up a host of emotions, mainly excitement and a bit of longing. It's not the thrill of writing for such a massive audience---though that is attractive---but rather the give-and-take of collaborative writing that strikes a chord in me. My favorite writing experiences---the ones I come back to over and over---all involve crafting with a partner something better than I could have ever written on my own.

I know many academics who advise against collaborative work: it takes longer, and institutional incentive structures (in my discipline) don't deal well with multi-authored papers. But I think co-writing (with a good partner) is worth every extra minute and every ounce of lost recognition, just for the sheer enjoyment of it.

Yeah, collaborative writing is terrific, and it's one of those things that academic humanities pays lip service to but never really gets around to actively promoting or rewarding. It's good for undergrads, but maybe especially good for graduate students, to get to see that modeled and have that experience.

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