"This book was written first and foremost for other writers..." begins Janet Carey Eldred's extraordinary work of blended genres. For Eldred, teachers of writing need to experience the art and craft of composing creative nonfiction and essays firsthand, exploring multiple perspectives, genres, styles, modes, structures, and subjects. They will be at their best, she argues, if they enact what they profess.
Sentimental Attachments opens and closes with important and passionate arguments about why teachers of composition must also be writers of what Eldred calls "lived experience." At its center, however, the book offers a series of lyrical, evocative, exploratory essays that address a range of essential and complex questions:
- How do we compose our personal and professional identities?
- How do we represent our different selves without compromising other parts of our lives-and, perhaps even more important, the lives of others?
- How do we maintain a strong voice in the world without losing sight of other people, places, histories, and ideas?
Like others who defy the conventional view that we must hold the personal separate from the political—or the professional—Janet Carey Eldred believes that teachers of writing must compose themselves as they help others to compose. "We are living drafts in progress," she writes, and in Sentimental Attachments, she models the kinds of composition and revision that make life—and the life of writing and teaching—meaningful.