Writing well requires a writer to write with courage, confidence and honesty. Your journal is your place to live fully within yourself as a real and committed writer who practices these ideals. Journal writing is simply a way to give form and substance to your inner thoughts. It is simply a way for you to be completely you—not an expectation driven by academic expectations directed and choreographed by me.
“Who wants to become a writer? And why? Because it’s the answer to everything. … It’s the streaming reason for living. To note, to pin down, to build up, to create, to be astonished at nothing, to cherish the oddities, to let nothing go down the drain, to make something, to make a great flower out of life, even if it’s a cactus.”
This is the time—the dog days of summer—when writing can become more of a chore than a pleasure. The hot days and humid nights don't always lend themselves to creative and articulate thought; plus, the day is always full of enticing and entrancing possibilities. Because writing is part and parcel of my daily life, I need to create a time and a place to write that works for me no matter where I am or what I am otherwise doing.
“You can always edit a bad page. You can't edit a blank page.”
― Jodi Picoult
Where does the classroom end? If it ends in school, it dies. All we learn and practice and work to do in school fades into some blurry memory of possibilities lost in the irretrievable cloud of unknowing, We have abnegated hope and make little of our lives. We need to live out a new paradigm of learning—to extend the classroom and make our lives universes of learning, to actually, deeply and truly expand above and beyond murky and distant horizons, and to grow when and where we grow best, and that, I can say with confidence, is rarely accomplished in the confines of the classroom.
The important thing is not to stop questioning. Curiosity has its own reason for existence. One cannot help but be in awe when he contemplates the mysteries of eternity, of life, of the marvelous structure of reality. It is enough if one tries merely to comprehend a little of this mystery each day.
Old Man's Advice to Youth ―Albert Einstein
Doing something which is “different” does not come easily to most of us. The wrestling team I coach will look at me sideways if I ask them to practice cartwheels. I’ve even heard that some professional football teams bring in dance instructors to teach their behemoth linemen the art of ballet and foxtrot. My point is that practicing “any” athletic sport develops your skill in another seemingly unrelated sport. The same is true in writing.
Mrs. Roeber never seemed to let Jimmy go outside, which, to my thinking as an 11-year-old, was why he was so smart. Most days after school, I’d rush two houses down the street and get Danny Gannon to come out and play. Then the two of us would go to Jimmy’s house next door. If Mrs Roeber answered, she would always be polite and say something like, “Jimmy needs to catch up on some science work. Perhaps he can play later.” If Jimmy answered, he’d usually be out of breath from running upstairs from his basement “office” and plead with us not to give up on him—or at the very least go out back and talk to him through the basement window.
Why am I the poor smuck saddled with a teacher who insists on finding meaning and metaphor in everything we read? Like The Odyssey: I mean, the book is full of random everythings; Like just when Odysseus starts to figure something out (and I have a half a clue what is going on) he breaks of into some wild story with a hundred new characters. "Oh," says my teacher, "that is a literary technique to build the scope and sweep of the poem. It is the hallmark of an "epic" literary work." If that is the case, then I have a crazy old uncle—a guy who never knows when to stop talking—who is probably a direct descendant of Homer. Yeah, from now on I'll call him "Uncle Epic." The only reason I half like the book is because I actually believe that I'm supposed to like it—or at least appreciate it. I can't imagine that every English teacher for the last 1500 years or so is wrong. Maybe they've all been hypnotized by the Siren's song of conformity. I liked that part of the book: Odysseus getting his crew to lash him to the mast so he could hear the Siren's song, but still not do something stupid like get lured away by Siren herself. "Stairway to Heaven" probably had that effect in the 70's when it first came out. Jees, I'm as bad as Homer; Listen to me getting off track. And I shouldn't get off track because this foolish essay is only one of six assignments over the weekend.
There is nothing to writing. All you do is sit down at a typewriter and bleed. ~Ernest Hemingway
There is no better way to learn to write well than to practice writing well.Every time you put pen to paper or words to a screen is an opportunity to become a better writer. Nobody is born the writer they wish to be. You--the inimitable you--must be the force that powers your evolution as a writer. As the old saying goes, “You can lead a horse to water, but you can't make them drink.” It is up to you then to go to the well and drink deeply.
“We often miss opportunity because it's dressed in overalls and looks like work”
― Thomas A. Edison
My son EJ has been restoring that old blue bus you might have seen up at Windsor Mountain. He has been at it for a couple of years. We laugh now, because when he started right after high school, he figured six month's work, tops--and a couple of thousand dollars.
Here he is now, more than a year later, and there is still work left to do--and probaby double the two grand he planned to spend. Still, he has never asked for a penny; he does all the work on his own, and he learns to fix things, make things and repair things through learning, figuring out and asking. There is no luck involved. There is no hired help. His parents (cruel things) are not banking him in this adventure. EJ is literally on his own. Just the way he wanted it and just the way it is going to be. He has never called it a "gap year" because there is no gap in it; it is simply time well-spent, and I am sure he has learned more than most college freshman.