A Didactic Composer

I love the writings of Robert Fulghum.  Ever since I first saw a poster depicting his most famous piece “All I Really Need to Know I Learned in Kindergarten”, I’ve thought of him as a kindred spirit.  His subsequent books are full of essays that at times make me laugh, cry, or just smile.

Recently, I discovered that this blog has morphed into something similar to his works, though that’s not what I intended.  At the beginning, I thought I’d be writing a blog that pertained to the craft of writing, but I quickly realized that I’m still so new at it that I don’t know enough to be able to pump out a 600-800 word post on the topic every week.  Plus, a few months back, a piece was circulated around my writing group suggesting we ask ourselves who we want as our target audience.  Did we want to appeal to other writers, or build up a fan base of people who don’t know much about writing, but enjoy reading what we write about?

Somewhere after reading that, I noticed the transformation in my blog.  The first few posts were all about the challenges and joys of writing.  Then, I began to talk about my thoughts and feelings, and tried tying them in to writing somehow.  Sometimes it was an easy tie in, other times, I stretched the link.  There were times that the link felt too forced, and I decided that I didn’t want to do that.  If it wasn’t an easy comparison, I wasn’t going to struggle to make it one.  There are definitely other writers who can take any topic and somehow connect it to the process of being an author, which is wonderful.  But it became apparent (to me, anyway) that I wasn’t one of them.

I suppose I shouldn’t be too surprised that my blog has morphed in this way.  My high school English teacher, Mr. Kutney, once told me that my poetry was very didactic.  I didn’t know what that word meant at the time, and I don’t remember how he explained it to me, but Dictionary.com defines “didactic” as:

1. Intended for instruction; instructive
2. Inclined to teach or lecture others too much: a boring, didactic speaker.
3. Teaching or intending to teach a moral lesson.
4. Didactics, (used with a singular verb) the art or science of teaching.

I know Mr. Kutney meant it as a compliment, but back then, I over-thought the definition so much that I think it stifled my creativity with regards to poetry – I haven’t written much of it since.  I didn’t want to be someone who was thought to lecture others too much, nor did I want to try to tell others how to live their lives.  I do my best to live by the “if it works for you, do it” code; or as the Wiccans say “An it harm none, do what thou wilt”.  I mean, who am I to tell someone that their way of doing things is right or wrong?  I don’t live their life.

But now, as I’ve watched my blog evolve into what it is today, I see that’s not what I’m doing anyway.  I simply put my thoughts down in this venue in a way that expresses who I truly am.  If someone decides to take a nugget of what I’ve written and extrapolate it into their lives, so be it.  That’s a wonderful compliment, but certainly not my intention.  I, apparently, just happen to be wired that way.

Which may be why I enjoy Mr. Fulghum’s writing so much.  That’s not to say that I think of myself on the same level as he, but rather that I find that type of writing to flow easily out of me.  I’ve come to accept that sometimes (like this post) my words will easily fit with the theme of writing, but I also accept that won’t be the case every Friday, and I won’t force it to be so.

However, just because my writing has begun to take on a more essay-type form, rather than a forum for discussion, doesn’t mean I don’t want your feedback or thoughts.  I most certainly do.  If something I’ve written ignites a reaction in you – whether good or bad – I’d like to hear about it.  Who knows?  Maybe you are a kindred didactic spirit…

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4 Comments (+add yours?)

  1. Mom
    Mar 04, 2011 @ 10:48:23

    I’m always inspired by you. ;} I like the easy flowing method as well. I agree with you on the “if it works for you, it’s for you” theory. It leaves the responsibility of action/reaction to each individual.

    Reply

  2. Dana
    Mar 04, 2011 @ 11:11:45

    Essays inspire reactions too so I say let your blog morph into whatever direction you’re taking it. Mine changes… when I post, that is. I’ve been so behind on it! I envy and admire your once a week commitment!

    Reply

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