I tell my writing students to avoid the abstract by not using strings of big words with broad meanings, words such as "happiness, "freedom" and "contentment." There's no imagery there. "Curdled milk," "scratched leather shoes," and "scruffle-haired terrier" bring more to mind.
That said, I've been butting up against "success" lately.
It's not that my books have suddenly taken off, though I'm delighted as more readers are leaving reviews on Amazon for my new novel, Love At Absolute Zero. Rather, as my son Zach struggles with studying in college -- calculus and intermediate Russian are huge challenges -- I find myself considering his success as well as my students'.
As a father I've asked myself, what guidance can I give Zach? I've noted what some students do with me. They appear like helicopters during my office hours to ask for extra help or ask what they might do better. With 85 students among four classes, I simply don't get to know everyone personally, so the half-dozen that use the office hours during the semester I come to know better.
I learn their needs as they get extra help. I'm also reminded that not everyone learns the same way, so I constantly look for fresh approaches to a given topic.
Last month, I started poetry in my Introduction to Literature class. Poetry always begins with around twenty faces out of twenty-five masked with dread, wariness or doubt. "I don't like poetry," a few might say, and I feel like a gunslinger at the OK Corral. I hold my ground and reply, "That's like exclaiming you don't like oxygen. Poetry can brim with life, and just because you hate some poems, you might not hate all poems."
Read the rest on the Huffington Post (who I wrote it for) by clicking here.
Causes Christopher Meeks Supports
Associated Writing Programs