Short Notes: Explosion When My Pen Hits, Tremendous - The Jose Vilson

Short Notes: Explosion When My Pen Hits, Tremendous

February 17, 2008

Inspectah Deck

Before I continue, I just have to give a shout-out to my boy Andy G., who ileaves to Korea to teach English for a year next Saturday. This is significant for the both of us in that this man’s like a younger brother to me, and I’ll miss him while he’s there. His passion and compassion will make great qualities to the program, and hopefully he comes back as the same irreverent but a more grown version of the man he is today. Keep in touch, Andy. And no, if you do get married for some reason, I won’t kick you in the nuts like you asked me to. That’s Sunny’s job.

So with the week off I have, I’ll have plenty of time to give myself time to recuperate from the kids, and maybe write a little more in that ubiquitous manuscript every writer seems to have in their back pocket, at the very least for a conversational piece. I’ll be somewhere in NYC away from home from Sunday – Tuesday for some QT with the QT, and then Miami from Thursday – Sunday to visit my fully recovered father.

I love getting tagged for memes, and I can’t figure out why. It’s probably because it makes me feel important that someone would want my opinion … or simply that I get to withhold my best posts for another round, similar to Dwight Howard’s Slam Dunk contest routine tonight (that boy was an absolute slamimal and he can’t be caged).

Anyways, Shelly thinks I’d offer good tips on writing, and I laughed because there’s no way I’m sharing my secrets on this public forum. I never ever share any good advice on writing, and never thought I would either, until Shelly promised to add me on Facebook as a friend. After that, how could I resist?

3. Some Words You Should Never Misspell

Their. Believe. Embarrass. Wednesday. February. Piece. They’re. The. It’s and Its. Can’t.

There are just some words you can’t get away with misspelling, and these are just a few. I’m sorry, but I have a feeling that, if you’re targeting an intelligent audience, there are certain words you wouldn’t dare misspell. Some words you can get away with misspelling, especially if they have more than 3 syllables, but spell-checking and proofreading are your two best friends. That is, unless you intentionally misspelled the word to make a clearly stated point, then that’s cool.

2. Stay On Point, Whatever The Point

Blogs are notorious for their circuitous ruminations, and often, we wonder if the author knows the point they’re trying to make. Sometimes, it’s plainly obvious that the author simply wants to write their thoughts down, but there’s a difference between simply meandering and trying to make your point but not getting there. Even in poetry, I hate when certain poets lose me with their deceptive similes in favor of distracting us from the fact that they’re making no sense. Stay on point. You don’t necessarily have to be concise, but come sharp. I follow the previous statement pretty well.

1. Touch It, Bring It, Pay It, Watch It, Turn It, Leave It, Stop, Format It

Truer words were never spoken. Once you’ve learned the rules of writing, and can format great essays, you can abandon the rules completely. There’s a sense that we have to prove ourselves that we have some sense of literacy, after which we can veer far from the rules, and thus make our own. When I write, I think about the rules of writing for a little bit, then I break away from them until I find my voice.

The reality of this exercise, though, is that there’s no right or wrong answer. Some people need structure when they write, making an outline of their thoughts and ideas before putting down a single word. Others like to read a ton of literary pieces before they write their own, which is a great idea except that some people get stuck on trying to write like someone else. I abide by my own advice; just give me a keyboard and my music list, and I’m ready to rock.

I tag (hoping to awake some sleeping giants):

Amber at bamcabral.net

Harm at simplyharmony.com

Tamara at xanga.com/mental_revelatiions

and

Kelvin at xanga.com/pre_k

jose, who would have more to talk about, but really, personal tragedies are no laughing matter. this says it all …

This post was written by...

José Luis Vilson is a math educator, blogger, speaker, and activist. For more of my writing, buy my book This Is Not A Test: A New Narrative on Race, Class, and Education, on sale now.

For more about me, read here.

{ 7 comments… read them below or add one }

Shelly February 17, 2008 at 6:45 pm

Thanks for the great advice Jose! I could not agree MORE with yopu about those common misspellings – one of my biggest pet hates grrrr! Absolutely unacceptable…

You are now officially in the VIP section on my Facebook page ;-)

P.S. That article you linked to is so tragic…

Reply

Alisha9 February 18, 2008 at 6:48 am

It feels like I’ve heard fingernails scraping a chalkboard when people violate #3! It also drives me to drink when people use these 4-letter words incorrectly: seen, went, gone.

Reply

Frumteacher February 19, 2008 at 1:08 am

I send you loads of strength to deal with those personal tragedies!

Reply

Jonathan February 19, 2008 at 3:02 am

And another tag (in case you missed it)

Reply

pre_k February 19, 2008 at 9:33 am

I do not believe you tagged me for this.. alright.. after i calm down i will actually post something in regards to such things as writing tips although if someone asked me such a thing i would be remiss to think what i would say because I do not consider myself qualified as a writer.

for me I can forgive mis-spellings as long as it doesn’t really through me off too much because i am more a consumer of Ideas than i am of good grammar. I can even understand the use of a tangent, particularly in the blog format.

personally i think there is a medium out there that suits many peoples needs or skill level. I tend to stick to freestyle poetry because I tend not to like rules and structure. Can I pen a Haiku, sonnet, or an essay? certainly i can, however i feel i am best able to express myself in the medium of freestyle poetry.

Reply

julie February 19, 2008 at 7:52 pm

don’t forget about “definite”, “independent” and “lose vs loose”!! :D (I’m working on getting my students to spell these correctly because yes, spelling counts!!) yay, thanks for addressing that. :)

Reply

Harmony February 20, 2008 at 9:12 pm

Good stuff. Alright. Give me a minute … or a few days. lol

Reply

Leave a Comment

Previous post:

Next post: