Friday, November 03, 2006

What I've Learned

My class at good ole Faulkner has been nothing short of great. I love teaching and I'm happy to be paid for it but, the students are the greatest aspect of the class.

They aren't the best writers in the world. But, they have an ability to express themselves that intrigues and even impresses me. There's an importance to what they have to say. As a writer, I have never appreciated that as much as I do now. When you write, you're consumed with your own characters, craft, and creativity. No one else's art seems to matter as much as yours. After all, you're making up a whole world and following in the great steps of the literary fathers.

But, none of that matters as much as the heart and soul of the person who tells you about her losses or the end of his life as he knows it. So, in some ways, writing is a great equalizer. It reaches into the parts of us that we didn't look for before. Some will tell THE story and some won't. But, we'll all find something good and maybe even great.

I think what makes this writing different and wonderful to me is the fact that these people are not writers. They don't care to be writers. But, they yearn to be understood; to express in some way who they are. The result is a colorful mixture of words and phrases that delve into a world rarely witnessed by the uber-literate. The words say something true and unmuddled. They speak in kind, warm declarations. And somehow, in flattening themselves, these people make themselves rounder. I'm privileged and blessed to have seen the contents of humanity, clearly printed on the page. It's something I'll never forget.


Jamison said...

At the risk of embarassing anyone, i think it may be neat if you posted one or two of the writings... omitting names of course.

bigsip said...

I'll see what I can do. But, pretty much everything I've received is hard copy. I don't know if I'll have time to transcribe any of it.

Maybe I'll get some soft-copy stuff to post soon.

mullinz8 said...

Perspective is one of the most amazing gifts we can ever receive.

I don’t think it would be too cliché to talk about the salt of the earth perspective. I’ve known a lot of exceptionally intelligent people growing up, some of which I didn’t even like talking to because they were too smart for their own good. I suppose building particle accelerators, developing mobile missile launch systems and neurological research is cool but these folks are something else.

Still if I ever wanted to find and connect to something “real” it was always with people who have more humility than education. The “poor” kids from Oliver Springs were always the nicest and always willing to give you the shirt, no matter how many holes it had, off their backs.

I’ve also found that the people with the most amazing stories are the ones who you’d never think to ask.

I’m glad that you’re helping these people form a style in which to house their stories. In the end comma splices and sentence structure will amount to very little against the confidence they can find in learning how to express themselves accurately.

Good luck.

bigsip said...

They just have the ability to strip away all the pretense and say what they mean.

Sometimes, intellect is almost a hinderance. It's vitally important in order to be a professional writer, but can lead to a lack of sympathy and empathy about the world around you.

It's a pleasure to see this different angle.