• Confessions of a Community College Dean

    In which a veteran of cultural studies seminars in the 1990s moves into academic administration and finds himself a married suburban father of two. Foucault, plus lawn care.

Title

"It Sounds Like Me"

Helping The Girl around writer's block

September 16, 2019
 
 

 

Sunday afternoon:

 

“TG has writer’s block, and she wants you to help her.”

 

Finally, something in my wheelhouse.  I live on writer’s block.

 

“I’m working on an essay for (position in program), and I don’t know how to start.”

 

What do you have so far?

 

“Qualifications.  I’m a good student…(lists ways)”

 

So is everybody else in the program.  What makes you stand out?

 

(shrug)

 

Okay, what do you like about the program?

 

“It’s full of students who care about school.  I like that.”

 

Why?

 

“Because the discussions don’t stop with the first question.  We can go deeper.”

 

There you go.  

 

“Huh?”

 

You like that the program lets discussions go deeper, and you want to help it keep doing that.  And you’re able to help because (lists qualifications).

 

(pause)

 

“Okay, but how do I start?”

 

Don’t worry about the introduction yet.  Put down a few bullet points to give some structure.  Then you can fill in the gaps. You don’t have to stick to the bullet points -- sometimes a paragraph wanders off in a direction you didn’t anticipate, and you have to chase it down -- but they give you someplace to start.  When you see where you’ve landed, then you can write the introduction.

 

(smiles)

 

“Thanks!”

 

--

 

An hour or so later:

 

“It’s done.”

 

That’s good.  Do you like it?

 

“I do.  It sounds like me.”

 

--

 

Sports Dads celebrate baskets, touchdowns, or home runs.  This Writer Dad is still smiling at “It sounds like me.”  

 

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