Friday, April 13, 2012

Dear Diary #1: Constructive Criticism

An entry from my diary circa 1997 expresses the well known trauma of receiving criticism on a piece of writing we believe has been misunderstood. We were told to write descriptive paragraphs for our Grade 7 Language class and my teacher had some suggestions that did not go over well:

Saturday, January 11th, 1997


Something terrible happened to me when I went to school the other day. You see, I had to write a descriptive paragraph about anything for a school assignment. I wrote about rain. I love rain. I wrote a verse where it goes like this --

the rain peletted
down to the bold
concrete and it washed
over me, it enchanted me.

I admit it certainly isn't my best, but my teacher put question marks where I wrote "bold concrete" and "enchanted me," and she corrected my spelling for pelleted. She changed it to pelted. I understand she did it for my own good, but concrete is bold! People walk, tramp, and jump on it, ride, run and skid across it, and it still remains. So wouldn't the concrete be brave, bold, then? I know it is.

I was really angry when she put a question mark next to enchanted me. Has she ever felt the rain? Has she ever really felt it? Has she heard it whisper secrets to her, laugh and sing to her? No. No, she hasn't. Everyone tries to escape the rain. They run from it. They hurry and shut their doors on it. But don't they know the rain is there to cheer them up? To sing and to laugh with them? To share secrets and tell stories to them? Do they know? NO! That is why the rain enchants me. That is why.

Why did she change peletted to pelted? I like peletted. Peletted is like -- rushing, hurrying, zooming, rapidly! Pelted is like sharp, hard, unforgiving. Doesn't she understand? I guess not.

Diagnosis: an acute case of hypersensitivity and resistance to criticism. But also a very firm sense of creative vision and JUSTICE.

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