I had to repost today’s Penny Arcade for those that don’t read the webcomic and the accompanying blog post with the religious regularity that I do. The comic is about the new ad supported Kindle.
The post, by Jerry “Tycho” Holkins talks about the Kindle as well as his high school English revelation.
I can read books and enjoy them now, certainly; I still have whatever organ is responsible for secreting joy. But that was a very strange time, just after I had failed AP English, where for some reason everything I read hopping an inch or two off the page. I honestly couldn't stand that class, if we already knew everything there was to know about Ulysses, then why were we pretending to read it? That is something I am bad at: f. I began turning in all my papers in iambic pentameter, at least, the ones I deigned to do at all. I can remember the final very clearly: the teacher was passing the tests out, going over his expectations, and he passed my desk without giving me one. Being refused the opportunity to fail the test communicated the full extent of my dereliction.
I'm mentioning it not because I think you should fail your classes and tell your teachers to fuck off in a syllabically constrained fashion. But I failed, miserably, and did not die. Quite the opposite, in fact.
This is good information.
My first and only F well in hand, the illusion I had of myself - that of a pristine jarred brain casting aspersions on greasy, cavorting bipeds - was obliterated. I was enrolled, then, in a series of what were (and may still be called) "bonehead" classes, which was apparently where they hoarded all the Twain. And I Am The Cheese, and Watership Down, books that played with modern language and perspective and voice, and played rough. There's really no doubt that my entire life turned on that point, and it never really stopped turning: the point at which Writing became decoupled from English.
I had a similar experience in high school. Not the whole F thing, but that realization that stodgy English and Writing are not the same. It was my senior year of high school. My English teacher required us to read a novel every two weeks and report on it. We could pick any novel we wanted as long as it was in the school library. My first pick was Treasure Island. Reading that book was like being struck by lightning. “Is this why I’m in English class?” I thought, “So I can learn how to create this stuff? I must read more!”
And I did.
Excellent post today Tycho.