By Emily Temple, August 29, 2017
Students all over the country are beginning to head back to school, and some, I imagine, aren’t too happy about it. If that’s you, you’re in good company: lots of famous writers hated school, too.
Writers are usually assumed to be highly-educated types, and many are, of course. But they’re not always educated in the way you might think—some of the English language’s most famous authors were less-than-great in the classroom, but had the creative skills (and perhaps some out-of-the-box ways of thinking) to make up for it.
So, to ease the pain—or temper the joy, if you’re one of those—of starting school, I tracked down what a few great writers had to say on their own experiences with formal education (or lack thereof), and in some cases, on the dangers of relying too much on the classroom to figure out how to live in the world.
The overwhelming message I get from the below is this: school is all very well and good, but it’s not going to teach you what you really need to know, because actually, only you can figure out what that is. Probably, though, you’ll get there faster if you spend some time in the library.
Take it from Ray Bradbury, to start with: “Libraries raised me. I don’t believe in colleges and universities. I believe in libraries because most students don’t have any money. When I graduated from high school, it was during the Depression and we had no money. I couldn’t go to college, so I went to the library three days a week for 10 years.”
–Ray Bradbuy, to The New York Times