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Circe Saint Louis

Circe describes his own writing process and emphasizes the importance of both receiving and responding to feedback on one’s writing.

Featuring
Circe Saint Louis

Interviewers
Katie Levin
Zack Pierson

Editors
Johanna Mueller
Zack Pierson

Advisors
Farha Ahmed
Daniel Balm
Linda Clemens
Debra Hartley
Huy Hoang
Kirsten Jamsen
Katie Levin
Mitch Ogden
Kim Strain

© 2010, Center for Writing
writing.umn.edu/sws/voices
Please do not quote without permission.

In Haiti--how can I say that--our teacher always insists on the outline. The outline’s like--how can I say--the plan of an engineer for building a house or something like that. So, without the outline, you can be lost, so I always start with my outline. When I have my first outline, I can... go for the sources, okay, and, by my sources, I will have a second outline. And, by my second outline, I can start prewriting, and to tell you the truth... I can... For example, for now, I’m on my second draft, and for Monday, normally, for Monday we have the first draft due, but the one for Monday will be my third draft! Exactly, yeah!

When you write, you write about... you write for an audience, okay? You write for an audience; you don’t write only for yourself. And you can have a point of view, but to know... to have the opinion of an audience... of a member of this audience, it’s good for it because it help you to improve your paper, things like that. So, for example, you can be my classmate, and if I write something, I can... you will... I can can tell you, “Take a look on that paper for me,” and I can do that with two or three students. But we just have to do it because, to tell you the truth, let’s be serious, I’m not like Shakespeare! Exactly! I’m not Shakespeare, so it’s good to have the opinion of other people.

My instructors gave me a lot of feedback, and she [one of his recent instructors] helped me a lot as well, but, to tell you the truth, I used to argue with her a lot as well! I used to argue with her a lot as well, but the thing is that I think... that’s my philosophy. That’s my philosophy: with dialogue you can--how can I say that--resolve everything. But, the thing is, it’s how you will approach this dialogue. Okay, imagine that you are my professor, and you give... I don’t agree with you on a certain point in my paper. If I came, “Yo Zack! You know what? You should give me this, this, this!”, okay, for sure, that wouldn’t work. But if I come to you and I... “Excuse me, Zack, yeah, why did you mention this? Because in French they... they allow me to do this, they allow me to do this...”, and I am pretty sure that it will be a pleasure for you to tell me... yeah. But when I’m talking about arguing, I’m not talking about fighting!

The first thing that I always say is... it’s not to be afraid to communicate. When I’m talking about communication, I’m talking about everything involving communication: writing, speaking, even signs, if it is necessary. Okay, because I remember, when I first came here, I could communicate in English, but I wasn’t that fluent as I am now. But, to tell you the truth, I wasn’t afraid to communicate, even in that class [one of his recent classes] as well. I wasn’t afraid to write in my French style. But that’s how I learn. So, don’t be afraid to communicate. For international students in general, I will say, if you are coming here, make sure that you have a way to stay warm! That’s the first thing! That’s the first thing!

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