During undergraduate, and a little bit after, I worked at my university’s writing center. While we, the tutors, all shared similar goals of helping students ultimately receive an A on their paper (we crossed our fingers we didn’t give them bad advice), our tutoring styles differed both blatantly and drastically. Sometimes you couldn’t help but laugh at yourself as you tried to explain to someone how to use a semicolon. I mean, I barely know how to use it; that is, I sort of get the gist. I try. I ponder about it. I dream about semicolons like they’re a lost lover or a movie villain.
SEMICOLON: Unguard! You are no match for me. I will split your sentence in half.
ME: Oh, no, please, not my sentence!
SEMICOLON: Oh yes, my pretty. I’ll rip your conjunction out from under you. You’ll be helpless.
We fight, his sword slashing at my innocent words and glinting with each pass. He wins. I fall to the floor, my “and” left convulsing on the pavement.
Anyway, my point is in the advice. I tried to give students tips that I would have understood when I first started out with all this writing…stuff. My favorite advice was this: write what you know, what you interact with daily. I know it’s amazingly cheesy, predictable even, but it’s true.
The on-the-spot poem below is about colors. This is because I’m writing what I know, using a familiarity with my inspiration source as a guide; in this case, my friend Amanda S.’ first blog post from her brand new Worldwide Investigation: Amanda at Large.
I am green, red, blue
I am silver, gold
your moon, your sun