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  Brad's Teacher Writing: "How I Write"
 

  
February 5, 2007

The essay that follows gives my writing method. In the essay, I use various Greek rhetorical techniques. Read the second draft as well.

 

Third Draft [with small cuts; paid particular attention to overuse of "is"]

A Ray of Light in the Gem: How I Write

Like Wislawa Szymborska, I have looked through “the microscope lens,” searching for a “ray of light in the gem.” What I have found: how I write depends on what I’m writing and my computer assists me in my work.

I write my best poetry to music. Loud, insistent, music helps me focus on my words. I write longhand, influenced by the rhythms of a good songwriter, someone like Patti Smith, lamenting her husband’s death at 47, or Van Morrison, singing “slim slow slider” on Astral Weeks. The words come quickly—I freely cross out and insert. Music affects my poetry, making it more lyrical.

Writing worksheets creates a different dynamic. It takes a day or two, the idea often coming earlier, perhaps while out walking my dog in Queen Elizabeth Park. Then I search: the Internet, reference books, sheets I’ve done before; the result gives me more than enough material, too much sometimes. Finally, I write, learning, for example, by writing directions badly, and vowing never to repeat my mistakes. Worksheet writing helps me refine my teaching techniques.

My computer greatly aids the “how” of all my writing. Here, I refine my writing. The poetic line easily seen on screen, the consequences of moving a word simple to undo. Word count reminds me to reduce fat sentences and a “shift f7” word search gives me the right word, quick as the proverbial bunny vanishing down its hole. I consider myself lucky to use computers, enjoying the good software, clear screens and, mainly, the access to the extraordinarily rich Internet.

Szymborska says “each sentence is put to the test of the dark,” reminding me that if I explore the “how” of my writing, I will become a better writer.

—288 words; reduced by 8 words, six of them “is’s.” Greek techniques stay the same. ©Brad Hyde; 2007

 

[Second Draft]

A Ray of Light in the Gem: How I Write

Like Wislawa Szymborska, I have looked through “the microscope lens,” searching for a “ray of light in the gem.” What I have found: how I write depends on what it is I’m writing and is always aided by my computer.

I write my best poetry to music. Loud, insistent, the music helps me focus on the words. I write longhand, usually, influenced by the rhythms of a good songwriter, someone like Patti Smith, lamenting her husband’s death at 47, or Van Morrison, singing “slim slow slider” on Astral Weeks. The words come quickly—I freely cross out and insert. Music affects my poetry, making it more lyrical.

Writing worksheets is a different dynamic. It takes a day or two, the idea often coming earlier, perhaps while out walking my dog in Queen Elizabeth Park. Then I search: the Internet, reference books, sheets I’ve done before; the result gives me more than enough material, too much sometimes. Finally, I write, learning, for example, by writing directions badly, and vowing never to repeat my mistakes. Worksheet writing helps me refine my teaching techniques.

My computer greatly aids the “how” of all my writing. It is here that the refinements are worked out. The poetic line is easily seen on screen; the consequences of moving a word simple to undo. Word count reminds me to reduce fat sentences and a “shift f7” word search gives me the right word, quick as the proverbial bunny vanishing down its hole. I consider myself lucky to use computers, enjoying the good software, clear screens and, mainly, the access to the extraordinarily rich Internet.

Szymborska says “each sentence is put to the test of the dark,” reminding me that if I explore the “how” of my writing, I will become a better writer.

—296 words; second draft by Brad Hyde

Greek Techniques:

Simile:

Like Wislawa Szymborska, I have looked through “the microscope lens,” searching for a “ray of light in the gem.”

quick as the proverbial bunny vanishing down its hole.

Amplification:

I consider myself lucky to use computers, enjoying the good software, clear screens and, mainly, the access to the extraordinarily rich Internet.

 

 

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