By the mid-point of the first quarter of a new school year, presumably all of the principal characters in the production called ‘high school’ know their lines, “their exits and entrances,”; the tryouts now completed, all have gotten used to “play[ing their] many parts.” ( I keep telling my students, and anyone else who forgets themselves and listens to me for even a moment, that Shakespeare really does speak into every circumstance. Yay for me! And for us! And, really, for Shakespeare too. RIP.)
Mind, I don’t really go in for all of that RIP stuff. The thing is, ‘you can sleep when you’re dead’ merely demonstrates a rather erroneous theology. But I digress.
Digression, as Holden Caufield complained, is often frowned upon in Oral Expression, and it doesn’t actually work out very well in the written form either. But, like Holden, I rather like the helter-skelter path when attending to my own writing affairs — thinking through one bit that leads to another bit and already two great literary texts alluded to and I haven’t even made it to my main point, which I presumably have.
Here it is: By now, the students who enter into my classroom each day know that they’re going to be invited to write. They amble in, shuffle about, pretend not to remember that the first item on the agenda will invariably be a writing prompt. Then, with the not-so-gentle reminder (‘c’mon people, it’s what we do here…’) the writer’s notebooks start appearing on table tops, and pages are flipped until a blank one appears. Then, just like that, they’re writing. Writing. Sure, their thoughts are a little helter-skelter. Of course their idea development needs work, and their word choices? Don’t get me started. But they’re writing, you guys. And it’s only the mid-point of the first quarter of the new school year.
Just think what they’ll accomplish before it’s over.