Friday, June 10, 2016
We're Gonna Go Back...Way Back...
Sometimes I need to revisit a few past teachers, especially as regards my writing. There were a few along my random writing path who stand out. My sixth grade teacher, Mr. Hardy, complimented me on a paper I wrote for class--I paper I still have. There was the teacher in high school who taught a creative writing class. I no longer remember her name, but she allowed us to flex our writing muscles.
And then there was "Bart", who taught first semester English Composition. When he walked into class that first day in long hair and a beard, blue jeans, packing a worn-out copy of "Sirens of Titan" by Vonnegut, I had a feeling he'd help open a door or two to the writing process. He'd play The Beatles in class as we wrote. That was cool.
From Bart I learned that it was okay, even necessary, to break grammar rules, in order to get your message to the reader. That was a radical concept to me. After years of having the rules pounded into me, the idea of busting them was revolutionary, transforming. That meant I could <gasp!> play with words, bend them, warp them. They were no longer hard-edged chunks that, if I didn't treat them well, would get the grammar police after me.
That was the beginning of the fire they, and others along the way, lit. I shall spend the rest of my life learning the Tai Chi of words, and it is a privilege to do so. Thanks to all those teachers who showed me the path.
Keep writing, friends.