I hadn’t thought about it in some time. But my little book, Self-Development and College Writing, came out in 2004. Hard to believe it’s been that long. Perhaps two years after it came out, I was sort of pissed. I mean it sold, I guess, but not very well. It got two reviews–one negative, suggesting it was part of the end of composition studies, and the other very positive. At this juncture, I think it has sold around 500 copies, not like the good old days when you sold at least a 1000 just to libraries, but now libraries are investing in databases.
I was pissed–to repeat myself–because I put a good deal of work into that thing. Lots and lots of writing and rewriting over a four year period. The editor always backed it, but the editorial board had to change nearly completely before it was approved. But it was, and I am glad I wrote it. But still for all the effort I put into it not much seemed to come back. Admittedly, it’s an odd little book. I understand now really, really “old school,”not so much about something called composition studies as about the potential role of writing instruction for the purposes of a liberal education. So it didn’t really fill a niche, least of all a fashionable one, though it did serve the purpose of explicating a relationship between writing and psychoanalysis. Mark Bracher sited it a great deal in his book, “Radical Pedagogy: Identity, Generativity, and Social Transformation.” A good book, also very, very much in the psychoanalytic vein.
As I said I had not thought about it in some time, so imagine my surprise when I tumbled to the fact that it is now on Google Books. Aw, the digital river. Way, way back in 2004 Google Books didn’t exist. But now behold.
Now anybody can punch in and read parts of the book. It’s not all there. It’s a kind of teaser, like those snippets of Mp3 you can hear to see if you want to buy the whole thing.
I recommend it without reservation, though of course I am biased.