Monday, July 02, 2007

Book Review

I just finished reading Donald Murray's "Crafting a Life" and it motivated me to write and think about my future as a teacher. What can I bring to the table? Can I consider myself a scholar, a writer, a person capable of motivating, inspiring or controlling a room full of adolescents?
The anxieties and concerns remind me of an open mic night at Kraftbrau a few years back. I sat on a stool with a warm beer in my hand and a live microphone in front of me. The spot light shined bright in my eyes and I could only see silhouettes of bodies and a red brick wall at the back of the pub. I recited my 20 lines of what I thought to be a finely crafted, revised mastery of the poetic form. I walked off the stage into a silent crowd and ordered another beer. I sat at the bar wondering if I made a difference, made anyone think or impressed any girls.
One after another, young college kids stepped to the mic, offered their interpretation of art, Shakespeare imitation and rhyming lines of therapeutic venting. I knew mine was different. I was a poet. I saved that piece of paper until I graduated, tasted what life was like and read more poets than what was assigned in classes. Would I find potential for revision? My best work yet? Did that poem change any one's way of thinking? Create an image in some one's mind? That magical piece of artistic invention turned out to be nothing more than crap.
What did I learn from that experience? Second guess, revise, revise again and never accept anything as perfect or complete. I will bring that knowledge to the table.

1 comment:

John Philip Roberts said...

Hi Dan,
Just read your book review, and if anything, Murray is spot on, as you know, with revision. When creative-writing undergrads are first put through the workshop meat-grinder, discovering that one's loved-and-worried-over piece of writing falls flat or worse with one's colleagues can be a shock.
I liked your piece. Astute revision is the hardest but most valuable lesson.