metablogging, ruminations

Some Days

Some days I have nothing planned for this site and start to worry about it far too much. In worrying about it far too much, almost every idea I have feels forced. The ideas feels forced because (1) they are a little forced, and (2) this pointless stress tends to make me hyper-aware of any possible imperfection that can seep into what I’m doing. It’s not until a deadline finally appears to really be approaching quickly that I begin to accept anything that seems the least bit feasible.

Some days, yes today is one of those some days, I like to try odd devices that I wouldn’t usually use. Repetition is a favorite. I start consecutive paragraphs with the same word or sentence. In school, I learned that authors sometimes use this to emphasize a point. I just use it because it makes it easier to start the next paragraph.

Some days starting that next paragraph is the only thought in my head. Though the hardest “next paragraph” is usually the first one, it’s sometimes the third. You see, with the faintest spark of an idea the first paragraph is probably already written before one begins writing. There’s usually at least enough extra from the spark that launched the first paragraph to fill up a second. But by the third paragraph, if that idea really was just a faint spark, it’s likely that the idea’s dead.

Some days I push through that difficult third paragraph. If I can manage to make a third paragraph that feels alright, there’s a good chance that the next paragraphs will all come out all right and I’ll be able to sew the thing up into a nice enough package that I’m satisfied.

But some days that third paragraph doesn’t come. Some days the idea I had really was only a two-paragraph idea. In my time writing I’ve at least learned that a two-paragraph idea doesn’t get better if you try to make it look like an eight-paragraph idea. When teachers gave you back papers with a C or below, there’s a good chance it was because you tried to write your whole paper with a few-paragraph idea. Teachers have a keen eye for ideas stretched too far.

Some days I wonder what a teacher would give me for this. This short essay whose sole excuse for over-stretching an idea is that that idea is what the whole thing is built on. From the title down through every paragraph you clearly see an idea being stretched and stretched and stretched. I think that some teachers would think it’s clever, this stretched-out idea. Others would probably give it a D and a curt note about trying harder next time.

Some day I’ll win those teachers over. Perhaps with a device like I just used there. I broke the repetition. Maybe now that teacher who gave me a D would say, “Oh, he knows he’s stretched this idea very thin. A+.”

Then again, maybe not.


From the Past: To My Teachers, Thank You

I wrote this thank you letter soon after I graduated from high school is 2004. It’s interesting to me again as I’ve been thinking back over my now finished education. I’m not too happy that I never to sent the letter to all my teachers; I had a list drawn up but I never got to it. My only hope is that one day find the energy to send them all, or that one day they find this page.

An open letter to all who have been a part of my education:

I know I was never the most attentive student, or the most open, but have no doubt that in looking back, I am extremely grateful. Further, I know that I wasn’t always the most able pupil, though some of you were kind enough to think otherwise. For this too, I am thankful.

I’ve learned a lot from you. And I hope to continue to learn, for the rest of my life. I hope you will all take pride in any of my successes. As for my failures, don’t hesitate to blame them on my (many) personal flaws. I hope, more than anything, that you realize the supreme positive impact that you have had on me, and all other students whose lives you have touched.

Once again, thank you all for tolerating my foolish little games. Thank you for your patience in dealing with a sometimes uninterested and disruptive student. Thank you for deciding to dedicate your life to educating young people. For this, the world is forever in your debt.

With Admiration,

David Hayes