Tuesday, June 19, 2012

Words is hard.

There have been a few key ideas that I have wanted to coax out of my brain cave for a while, only getting to tinker with them on sunday mornings. So, I have committed to spend my downtime at this conference to writing some of it out. To a large degree, just a couple days in, I have been successful.

But, at times, it has also been brutal.

I love writing stories. Stories have a flow to them and take you from world to world. The narrating voice gets to tell you things you wouldn't otherwise know, while the characters pipe in here and there for us to get to relate to them and know them more and more. It's a journey, and I love playing tour guide.
Yet I'm a teacher. I like to explain things, to take things apart and hand the elements to those standing around and uncover, to whatever extent I'm able, what was shrouded in ignorance.

I was careful to say "yet I'm a teacher," because I didn't want to say "but" as though being a storyteller and a teacher are at odds. Much the opposite- teachers and storytellers share a common goal of opening minds (their own mind opened in the bargain, too).
However, the storyteller and the teacher sit in different chairs in my head. The teacher sits in a wooden chair that makes that attention grabbing moan on the classroom floor when it moves. It has ninety degree angles and isn't interested in providing comfort. It's the place for truth telling to occur. But the storyteller sits in one of those beanbag chairs thats wadded atop a support pole, with wheels on each of the five feet and a Zune dock mounted on the head rest. It's covered in stickers from bands no one has ever heard of and smells like patchouli. And, it's motorized, running exclusively on bear urine. Never heard of one of those? That's because the storyteller just made that up. But the teacher helped him spell patchouli.

It's hard to strike a meaningful balance between instruction and inspiration. It's like being responsible for both playing a game on the field while also providing broadcast commentary. One without the other is some pretty boring television. They're complimentary, working when they're balanced. Perhaps I should admit to myself I'm just not very balanced.

So if I'm ever published, it will be because I figured out how to sit in both chairs. If I'm not, it'll probably be because in the middle of the difficulty, rather than focusing, I blogged about motorized chairs that run on bear waste.

1 comment:

Britt said...

I think you sit in both chairs more often than you think. I remember when I was interning, I would sit in your office and listen to you tell me a story that would inevitably teach me something and guide me through the scenario I was struggling with. Just a word of encouragement while you try to focus on things other than bear excretion. ;D

P.S. I love reading your blog!