“If we taught our children to speak in the way that we teach them to write everyone would stutter.” Mark Twain
Imagine for a moment that your ideas are like a room full of butterflies, that you delight in watching them flit about swooping up and down and around and then you hold out your hand. First one, then another and another lands on your finger. Now picture Sister “I’ll smack your hand with this ruler” Marie standing over you, commanding you to pin your butterflies to the wall, killing them one by one.
We’ll have no mistakes in our copybooks. God will punish those who dare to cross out, now pin your dead butterflies to the page with your ruler, take up your red pencil and make the perfect diagram.
Worse than being taught to edit and write at the same time, we were taught to edit before we ever had the chance to play, before our ideas could be born out of the delicious chaos of our imaginations.
I’d love to go back to grade school so I could color outside the lines, cross out words in my not so perfect copybook, snatch Sister Mary Nasty’s ruler out of her hand, break it in two and then give the pieces back with a smile on my face that tells her what she can do with her instrument of violence.
Instead, I did the next best thing. I wrote the draft for this post out by hand, room filled with butterflies, using one of my fountain pens and plain old lined paper. I turned my computer on only after the butterflies landed on my page.