Friday, September 21, 2007

Margaret and Angela

Blog Prompt:
the best writing teacher I ever had

I have had many good writing teachers; I want to resist the superlatives. I think though I must give credit to two teachers: Margaret Young and Angela Ball. Margaret maddened me at first because being around her made me feel that my theses weren't as good as I thought they were. This was, of course, for the good--a writing class that rewards students for doing what they already do well without inviting them to improve is not a learning situation.

Angela Ball taught me how to teach others to write. Angela was the soft-spoken one who used parentheses rather than cross-off lines. She would only work on a poem at the word and line level if the poem was going to fly. She gave the most wonderful advice: try the opposite--ah, how that quickens, for sometimes we pull up words that fit, but they are the blank side of the puzzle and must be turned right.

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