Sometimes you gotta practice what you preach. I’ve been working on an essay about my solo home ownership adventure and it was all over the place. So I brought a section of it in to share with my students and we talked about what was working and what still needed work. In class, I brandished a pair of scissors and described the merits of old fashioned “cut-n-paste.” They stared at me in horror as I recommended that they they slice up one of their drafts. Needless to say, no one took me up on the offer.
That night I took the scissors to my essay and once again experienced great empathy for my students and the hard work of writing. Even though I revel in the power of newer technologies, there was something deeply satisfying about the physicality of the whole experience: scissors, paper, tape, darkness descending outdoors while I sat cross-legged on my wooden floor trying to figure out what to keep and what to toss.
I’m beginning to realize all the ways in which the house is a daily reminder to balance my life between the physical and the mental, the tangible and the ethereal, the concrete and the abstract. There’s only so long you can think about the rhetorical strategies of 19th-century writers before you realize that it’s time to swap the frozen pumpkin for a Christmas wreath. Thank God.