giving back and paying forward

Ferris-teacherWriting and reading have been good for me in so many ways. I almost couldn’t quantify it. Therefore, I feel a sense of obligation to pass along the joy and confidence that comes with strengthened communication skills. To teach others the things I’ve been able to learn from other writers. To impart ability and the thirst for knowledge. To foster original thought in the age of sameness.

I remember the day I was told by a few fellow college students and our professor, that I should pursue my writing and see where it goes. I was blown away, never having thought of myself as an author. I remember that class like it was yesterday. Including a sweet, dark haired young woman a few desks over, who always drew my glances. I digress.

I realized then, that the previous year I spent reading over 50 novels had somehow been germane to my new ability to use the language. Reading was key. Of that I was certain. But how do I teach those who haven’t read nearly as much as me, or perhaps don’t read very much at all?

The answer may lie in a set of workshops and some smart curriculum. I’ve been developing a system which is designed to cut though the concept many have of what it takes to be a good writer. Scrapping that idea that between the student and good skills, lies an insurmountable mountain of punctuation, set rules on paragraph construction, endless tediums of proper this and pronoun that, sentence diagramming, all surrounded by a sea of obnoxious red ink. We need a new system of… just the basics. The basics…work.

I myself can’t diagram a sentence and to this day don’t know what a “determiner” is as far as grammar goes. I suspect however, that I use them regularly, whatever they are. And so it goes.


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