help a textbook taught me something relevant and amusing once
December 20, 2012 9:57 PM   Subscribe

I'm looking for an essay I read in a textbook. This would've been in the late 90s and it was a middle school Literature textbook. The essay was about writing. I remember that it included a bit about how you can't ask writers about writing for the same reason you can't ask the sea about itself (it will just gurgle at you). It also had a bit about breaking the rules when writing, talking about how writing guides tell you never to open a story with dialogue but then gave an example of a classic novel that opened with dialogue in French.

I believe that the textbook was pretty recent when I read it, but I could be wrong.
posted by NoraReed to Writing & Language (2 answers total) 6 users marked this as a favorite
"If you want to know all about the sea... and ask the sea itself, what does it say? Grumble grumble swish swish. It is too busy being itself to know anything about itself." -- Ursula K. Le Guin, in "Talking About Writing" in her book The Language of the Night.

I can find no more than this quotation online. The textbook you saw it in is likely Prentice-Hall Literature Silver Edition.
posted by dhartung at 10:11 PM on December 20, 2012 [6 favorites]

That's enough to help me track it down-- thank you!
posted by NoraReed at 10:18 PM on December 20, 2012 [1 favorite]

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