i normally don’t do this…
but here’s some very personal information about yours truly that i want to share:
- i hold a bachelor of arts in english degree, with a creative writing emphasis.
- i was the editor of my undergraduate institution’s literary magazine my senior year, which won awards & was sold in area bookstores for the first time in its history.
- i also wrote an essay for a contest sponsored by time magazine called “the power of the written word” in 1995, the intent of which was to highlight the singular importance of literacy. i was selected as one of 10 runner-ups & received a smith-corona electronic typewriter, which i gave to my little sister. unlike the standard essay form used by the winning entry, i intentionally & deliberately chose to structure my entry by using single sentences as paragraphs, carefully selecting language that would create vivid images in the reader’s mind. my intent to was try to flip the old saying a picture is worth a thousand words to something akin to words are worth a thousand pictures. i was trying to describe that literacy gives people access to understanding words…which in turn open many different doors that were previously. but most importantly of all, words spark human imagination, which I believe is the master key to unlocking any door that you ever find blocking your way. my sister, btw, used that typewriter all throughout her college career to graduate & become a phenomenal special-needs teacher. i believe she still has it to this day. will call her tonight & check.
- i was accepted by every creative writing program i applied to, which were george mason, eastern michigan, colorado, north carolina & alabama. my only regret is that i never applied to the top dog, the iowa writer’s workshop. i was offered teaching assistantships at 2 of those schools.
- i earned a master of fine arts in creative writing degree. i wrote a book of short stories which i submitted as my thesis, and which is part of the permanent collection of the university from which i graduated.
- the climactic story in my thesis is a single sentence that runs 20 pages, which was done with full purpose & intent & for what i considered a valid artistic purpose. i thought i had been the first to try that, which i was proud of. then i found that william faulkner had done a similar thing in one of his novels. not bad company tho, when you get right down to it.
as far as why grade-school teachers enforce grammar rules so strictly?
because before you can intelligently bend the rules artistically…
you first have to know those rules backwards & forwards.
until you do, little mister, you have to toe the line!