The Vault Part 1: Wot Danny Did
Teaching is luverly. That’s what I’m feeling today. I was in the presence of students who laughed and listened and learned. I do feel good when the light comes on in student eyes. It’s gorgeous. And to help them to be better writers is such a fabulous feeling. There is also that part of me that likes to show off...teaching is performance. But it’s not just the polishing of my ego. Sometimes you can be witness to something special.
I have a student; lets call him Danny. Danny is an over-writer. In that his tendency is to create over-blown, overwrought, sticky language, so replete with cliches, melodrama, wordiness and excess that there have been times I’ve wanted to shake him. My frustration not helped by the fact that Danny is an utter sweetheart: intelligent, thoughtful, determined, always smiling, makes great contributions in class. Oh, etcetera. And I didn’t think he had it in him. But, Danny, man. You did it. Today Dan the man brought me prose-and-a-half, boy! What!! Clear, concise, unsentimental (which of course means the sentiment can actually get through). Wise, sweet, detailed, empathetic. I think I cried. OK, I did. I LOVE seeing the craft in action. I love seeing students clear away the cliches, overwrought verbiage, the excess adverbs, the ridiculous formality, and just...express. Trust their writer’s eye. And Danny been trying, man. Rome definitely wasn’t made in a day. But he worked like a loon, and I am proud to be in his presence. Men like Danny, they can conquer the damn world.
This blog was first written some time in 2011