What Writing Education?

There are always blogs to be found on writing here and once again I’ve just been reading some and am reminded that I’ve never been taught to write. That I recall. I was taught spelling in school, about nouns and verbs and such–punctuation but I don’t recall ever being taught to write. Which is odd because I like to write and I want to and I guess I’ll need to teach myself. Which I’m willing to do.
I grew up in a small mid-western town of about 750. There were 43 of us in my high school graduating class and it was a very poor school. Half of the young women were pregnant or had children, the Viet Nam war was still going and only a handful of us would go on to college or leave the area. A surprising number of us are deceased. If anyone wanted to be a writer, they were keeping it a big, big secret. Good idea.
My family lived way out in the country. I spent an unusual amount of time being isolated there. My mother had an eighth grade education and English was her second language. Often in school, I would be reprimanded by teachers or ridiculed by the other kids for pronouncing words incorrectly or just talking weird. Everyone had a kind of hillbilly accent which I wouldn’t learn until I left the area.
I read a lot of books, as many as I could get my hands on. There were very few books in our home and I made good use of the library. I recall a big deal about being allowed to check out Michener’s Hawaii because of a sex scene in it.
Having remarkably few conversations, my thinking voice and also some verbal exchanges became a mixture of the language in books, my mother’s style of speaking and what I picked up around me.
When I was working in the blue collar jobs I had, it didn’t go over well when I used big words. But often they were the only words that would come to mind when I was trying to express myself. Wanting to please, I would often attempt to tailor my speech and expression to whomever I was speaking to.
But it was often awkward and expressing myself still is. There’s often a feeling of not being clear or understood. And I don’t care as much but I am intending to learn some basic writing skills because I know things that I don’t have words for.
It’s almost a duty that people share what they know because we all need to teach and inspire each other.
More and more I realize how important it is for everyone to take responsibility for their own education. I made better than average grades because I wanted to be a good girl and I was a good memorizer. (What ever happened to that?) I didn’t really understand much though.

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4 Comments

  1. March 9, 2011 at 1:02 pm

    I agree with you completely about the lack of writing classes in school…spelling and reading and grammar yes…but not much writing. Then the teachers would be surprised at the lack of quality in our reports/research papers. I was lucky enough to have taken a semester of Creative Writing and a semester of Journalism in High School but it was far from enough.

    We can teach ourselves though…and working out our thoughts into hopefully readable posts is one great tool.

    • silvercannon said,

      March 9, 2011 at 9:21 pm

      Today I read a great writing blog (Kristin Lamb) about how people can make their blogs really attractive to readers. But I guess that I’d rather learn to write better and just enjoy my blog as it is. I’m sure my local library has writing books.
      I’d hope that schools today have changed.
      You write really well and right to the point and what you learned has stayed with you.

  2. March 10, 2011 at 7:34 am

    Sometimes it’s all about the journey…and I sense that you like me…write more for yourself than others. It would be a disservice to yourself to simply write to “attract readers”

    • silvercannon said,

      March 10, 2011 at 1:18 pm

      That’s the way I feel about it although it does sometimes give me pause when I choose to go against what someone says is the “correct” way to do something.


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