Approaching Perfection

A couple of thoughts on perfection. The first is about perfection in education; the second is about perfection in writing.

If you’ve read the blog, of late, as a teacher, I am trying to lessen the emphasis on marks. (Reducing the Emphasis.) More than once, I’ve had students start discussion about assessment with words to the effect, “Where did I lose marks?” “How can I get 10 out of 10?” “How can I get perfect?”

I try to shape the discussion around being “close to perfection”, due to the subjective quality of English.

Which brings me to the second aspect: perfect writing. In a previous blog,Whole Separate Language, my favourite quote appears:
“There ought to be a whole separate language for words that are truer than other words- for perfect absolute truth.”

Apart from the quote itself being about words and truth being perfect, there is the perfection of the syntax. How many drafts did it take Anne Tyler to perfect the construction of that sentence? Was it instantaneous? Did it come to her all at once?

Maybe sentences like this can be held up to students as an example of writing that is close to perfection. The fact that it is about perfection and words themselves only makes it more perfect.


The Wolves

Was in NYC, and for love nor money, I could not get tickets to Sarah DeLappe’s The Wolves, about a girls’ soccer team.

Bought the script at the Drama Bookshop. I love how a reviewer describes it:

“.. an ensemble of distinct female characters without leaning on romantic partners or traditional feminine tropes...” [TheatreMania]

I can see the appeal. What an ear for female teenage dialogue (when the adults aren’t present). I’d love to see it used at our school, but it’s just so raw. And witty.

One of the tamer exchanges between players:

– what’s the Khmer Rouge

-they’re like Nazis in Cambodia

-but in the 70’s

A Pulitzer Prize nomination did not surprise me.





The Iceman Cometh? I think he’s here!

(I hope this poster is not the closest I get to seeing DW in O’Neill’s classic @icemancomethbwy this spring.)

#Writing in front of the #TV

Does anyone else write in front of the TV? I don’t watch a show for plot inspiration, but I do get inspiration from the emotion of the scene. It kind of plays in the background while my own dialogue, or story, comes to life.

Or, my budding idea forms the background to the emotion I see being played out on the screen in front of me.