|Davies Hall - where most of my classes take place.|
I talked with my sister, Colleen, on the phone today – a luxury that I’ve been missing ever since I started school.
“So, are you as smart as you thought you were?” she asked me, teasing me a little. I have long considered myself a genius.
“Not at all,” I laughed. “One of my literature professors used one of my sentences as an example of 'poor word choice' to the class. Thank God she did it anonymously...”
“What?” Colleen was aghast. After all, we both expected that I’d struggle in math and science; English is my strongly-held territory.
“Well,” I explained the less-brutal version. In an attempt to inspire students to choose their qualifiers more carefully, my professor used several sentences from our first essays turned in to her. We were supposed to judge why a sentence would “work” or fail. She used one of mine where I wrote: "...the voice of the American Revolution whispered of change". My instructor said the Revolution “Shouted, exploded...” Get it right, people.
I can laugh about it now.
That night I came home incensed. I saw my wording as correct, possibly the definitive way to speak about the beginning of the Revolution - it began as a whisper (as all revolutions do). The more I thought about it, the more I realized she had a point. In my haste to be beautiful with words, I misspoke of a brutal fight for power. By the time I went to bed, I was convinced she was right; that’s why she is the college professor, not me.
This is a hard pill to swallow for a writer, especially one who has the immovable adoration of those close to her(thankyouthankyouthankyou). I also edit myself, give myself my own stamp of approval, and re-read what I've written with a general sense of pride.
Being back in school makes me realize I still have a lot to learn about the written word and how it’s delivered. I ended the conversation by telling my sister that humility is a good thing to have when returning to school.
“Good for you,” she encouraged me. “Stay humble.”