Do you ever feel like you can see directly through people when you read a few pieces of their writing? I imagine you must. It's always their inner voice speaking somewhere beneath the adverbs and the plots.
The excerpt below really made me think about the role teachers play in the lives of their students. Not just writing teachers but all teachers ...
A Virginia Tech professor told NBC News that Cho’s creative writing was so disturbing that she referred him to the school’s counseling service, but he would not go. The professor, Lucinda Roy, the English Department’s director of creative writing, would not comment at length on Cho’s writings, saying only that in general they “seemed very angry.”It's easy to be wise after the act, but weren't the clues to his later behaviour all in place?
“I kept saying, ‘Please go to counseling; I will take you to counseling,’ because he was so depressed,” Roy said. But “I was told [by counselors] that you can’t force anybody to go over ... so their hands were tied, too.” Fellow students in a playwriting class with Cho also noticed the dark and disturbing nature of his compositions.
“His writing, the plays, were really morbid and grotesque,” Stephanie Derry, a senior English major, told the campus newspaper, The Collegiate Times “I remember one of them very well. It was about a son who hated his stepfather. In the play, the boy threw a chainsaw around and hammers at him. But the play ended with the boy violently suffocating the father with a Rice Krispy treat,” Derry said.
Should I be worried when my own creative writing students harbour dark thoughts of murder?
(And to Terri, does your writing show a way into your soul? Oh yes, all writing does!)
Thanks Chet for pointing the way to other links which discuss Cho's writing. This article from CNN tells how renown poet and author, Nikki Giovanni, immediately suspected Cho when she got word of the shootings. She said that she had found Cho's poetry was intimidating, and his behavior so menacing that she had had him removed from her class.
And AOL News has acquired two of his plays from a Virginia Tech student.
Required reading at this point in time - of course, DBC Pierre's Vernon God Little which will remain just as relevant as long as history is allowed to repeat itself by courtesy of US gun laws.
Blake Morrison on the Guardian blog writes:
... in truth, the plays are no more violent than Shakespeare's. In fact, despite their banality, Shakespeare is arguably a key influence ... many theatres have staged bloodier dramas. And if creative writing programmes excluded students with personality disorders, they would all have to close down.
Cho's literary experiments neither caused his psychosis nor purged him of it. Psychoanalysing them for clues to his behaviour is a pointless distraction from the underlying cause of the massacre: American gun law.