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Good writing is not, at least in the usual sense, a skill; this is, something that can be taught directly. The basis of good writing is fluency, not correctness. Fluency can only be acquired through play: it is too complex a functioning to be programmed. We learn to speak through play and we should learn to write in a similar fashion. Conversation is the fundamental form of verbal play: it is dialogical rather than didactic, exploratory rather than definitive, the expression of a desire for self-representation rather than of submission to external control. A new, non-prescriptive pedagogy of writing, based on this concept of writing as conversation, is called for. An addendum describes an experimental writing course, Writing from Life, based on a design borrowed from the traditional life-drawing class.