Writing Responsibly

Though I’m a full eight months’ distance from stepping into a classroom, every now and again a new way to restate the obvious (to me) suggests itself. So, in the Lessing tradition of The Golden Notebook, I share today’s draft of my Day 1 Apology (lecture) intended for Pre-Composition students enrolled in ENG098.

God did not make me nice. He made me good. Fortunately, He gave us one another to make up the difference. So, your mission, should you choose to accept it, is to encourage one another (and yourself if possible) so that by the time your writing gets to me, it is strong enough to withstand close scrutiny. You will not be there to defend it. Your words must speak for themselves. You have been entrusted with an idea that relies on you for life, identity, clarity, brevity, humanity, humanity, and voice. You are the only air it breathes. Clean that air so it does not go into the world toxic. There is both joy and reward in such high purpose. You did not volunteer. You were drafted. Writing is war. However, everyone can win. Once drafted, the best practice is to sign up. Then, show up until the fight is over and the dust has settled, and the weapons have been forged into tools you wield with competence and confidence for an uncommon good.

“Whatever you’re meant to do, do it now. The conditions are always impossible.” – Doris Lessing


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