Thursday, September 6, 2012

At Least I Can Spel!

by Alan

It’s back to school time! What career or knowledge would you or
your protagonist like to go back to school to learn?

Considering that I call myself a writer these days, my answer might surprise you (maybe not, if you’ve read my books!), but I think I’d like to go back to school and learn, um, English (you know: grammar, creative writing, literature, crumpets).

You see, I never had to take any literature or creative writing classes in college or grad school (us engineers weren’t expected to actually know how to write), and back in high school, I wasn’t really paying attention.

Which has led to some severe gaps in my education. First, I don’t think I ever formally learned the mechanics of writing. Don’t always write in complete sentences. I couldn’t diagram a sentence if you gave me a map. I don’t know a dangling participle from a flying Wallenda. I try to never split an infinitive, but I’m not really sure what an infinitive is. When faced with the choice between “who” and “whom,” I’ll usually opt for “that guy.”flyingwallendas

All this would not have pleased my late father, an ex-English teacher.

And my knowledge of the so-called “classics” is even sketchier. Until recently, I didn’t know the difference between Jane Austen and Jane Eyre. In high school, I stopped reading A Portrait of the Artist as a Young Man, before he’d even reached puberty. I never did really understand what was so great about Gatsby. I didn’t even understand Cliffs notes. And To Kill a Mockingbird? Pretty good movie.

So sign me up for English class. If it’s full, though, that’s okay. I’ll just take Phys Ed instead. A little exercise does wonders for the creative mind.


NoraA said...

I would love to go back and actually take the time to learn to properly speak the 2 languages I studied in high school.

I took 2 semesters of Spanish from the former Attorney General de Cuba (before Castro). And I'd also like to be able to speak fluent Hebrew since so many of my grandkids are actually speaking it already...

Meredith Cole said...

It would be interesting to hear how many mystery writers were English majors... I certainly wasn't! I studied film. But I certainly wouldn't mind joining you in an English class, Alan. Or in a language class, Nora.