She chose the step not taken.
(Pedagogy) Philosophy and Nonsense
Thoughts about writing, education, and experience Presented by Forrest D. Poston
The first goal of teaching is to strengthen, deepen and refine our intrinsic love of learning. All other goals and all methods must stem from that idea. Any that do not support that goal must at least be questioned and adjusted, if not eliminated. Otherwise, we are not teaching but training.
that has made all the differenc.
Four Meanings of Life
Getting a Clue
Godot and the Great Pumpkin
A Major is More Minor Than
The Poetry Process (A look at 4 versions of a poem.)
Thoughts About Picking a Major
Quick Points About Education
Quick Points About Writing
Reading Poetry and Cloud Watching
Using an Audience
What Makes a Story True?
What's the Subject of This Class? (Being revised.)
Writing and Einstein (The Difference Between Information and Meaning)
Writing and the Goldilocks Dilemma
Links to Other Sites
(One of the items on the
site written by one of my former students.)
Ms. Write Meets Her Match in Jr.
Ms. Write Now
There I was - There I was - There I was - IN my parents' living room. Home from college. Sprawled out like Aster's Duck. (Don't ask. It's a lifelongMom-ism.) Trying to explain the Essence Of Writing to my sweet baby sis.
Then I remembered. My S.B.S. was in the very throes of inescapable angst that most of us recall, with reluctance and a visible cringe, as simply sixteen. I would need to roll up my sleeves for this mission. Because, in the name of all that's virginal and Walt Whitman, how could I adequately voice that, in the realm of the written word, I was Anne Lamott's humor, Lydia Lunch's shocking vision and SARK's free spirit all smeared into one bulging package? Only that -- (details, details) -- no one yet knows my name? There it was: Panic. I was at a loss. How to get this tidbit across? Especially when she drew several thousand times more than she ever read?
And then it hit me. Twice. First in the lulling voice of my therapist: "Hey Hei, this is NOT about you." And second in the voiceless voice of my Spirit. Closest translation: Divine inspiration comes in two word packages. While attempting to stall and simultaneously shake off that sneak attack of blatant co-dependency, I communicated to my sister a few points central to my philosophy of great writing. I studiously stressed the importance of truth telling as a common and reliable jumping off place. That, when done well, it speaks to us all who are sitting in this precariously balanced boat called life.
I went on to brilliantly detail the essence of distraction as it finds us today. In the television. In every teenager's telephone. In the very vices of our culture. In short: in the mindless, brain-candy activity that is technology in modern America.
I even preached to the invaluable
tool that is solemn, heartfelt meditation, with the
And she all but promptly fell asleep. God love her.
So I rewound, deflated the ego, and
went back to small words and a simple concept. Rusted
Violets. This was high school junior English after all,
and she couldn't POSSIBLY have had the likes of the
tyrant whom - hello! - I had had that year. So how hard
could it be? I mean, really. So I dabbled in the basics
and let my beliefs give way to example. The truth was
this to me: when all else gives way to naught, one digs
deep inside and excavates the contradictions common to
"Rusted violets," I told her. "It's as easy as that."
After a small row and a hair tousle, courtesy of the queer look she afforded me, I explained further. I told her that all she needed was a good diving off place. In its simplest form, a two word tidbit that harbored within it a contradiction while, at the same time, drawing an intriguing picture in her mind's eye.
That did it. Being that she is an accomplished young sketch artist (something I will NEVER be accused of, mind you), this hit the nerve I'd been seeking on the living room rug, grasping at for the last half hour.
The twinkle was back and I shared then this. "Speak of your image, where it blooms, why it rusts, how it survives and who it wants to become."
So she shyly gave way to the birth of her image, why it was and where it was pointed. And the rest, she said, was cake.
I sit back on my own rug these days, a handful of years later, and take note of my own advice when I find that I've hit that proverbial, wordless wall. I say to myself, as gently as I can muster, "Start small, Hei, then tell the truth. The beauty will draw itself."
Trust that, I've learned, and you can write anything. Provided, of course, you ever did survive junior English.
(Heide Perry, Ohio University, was that 1994 or 93?)
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Other Essays and Poetry
Something Somewhat Vaguely Like a Resume
Being Like Children
Beyond the Genes (Dad)
The Blessing and the Blues
Bookin' Down Brown Street
The Cat With a Bucket List
David and the Revelation
The Dawn, the Dark, and the Horse I Didn't Ride In On (an odd, meandering, semi-romantic story)
Getting a Clue
Ghost Dancer in the Twilight Zone
The Hair Connection and the Nature of Choices
The Mug, the Magic, and the Mistake
Sadie on the Bridge
Trumpet Player, USDA Approved
The Poetry Process
Writing by Current or Former Students
Ms. Write Meets Her Match in Jr. Ms. Write Now
by Heide Perry
I'll Just Have Cats
by Cara Hummel
Toys to Toys
by Allyson Bowlds
Scribbles and Bits
Links to Other Sites