Online Great Books seminar leader and former advertising executive Malachy Walsh joins the podcast again to discuss everyone's least favorite school subject -- composition. Many people dread writing, either because of grammar, a tenuous grasp of dialect, or simply because they are not sure what they have to say. Malachy has developed a writing course for OGB to help people write fluently and confidently, and, most importantly, with a purpose.
Malachy's writing education began in Catholic primary school, but was really informed by his experience in advertising. Early in his career he trained as one of the first "account planners" in North America, and faced the challenge of writing coherently about his clients goals and objectives.
In Malachy's course, students don't spend much time on writing per se. Instead they spend time learning to better formulate their thoughts using the Socratic method of asking questions. To Malachy, effective writing involves planting a question in the reader's mind which begs to be answered. Without the question, writing has no purpose. Indeed, Malachy's method assigns a job to the piece of writing. There are three basic types of "jobs" for writing: