I’m not sure when it happened, but it appears during the course of ensuring our kids would be taught how to write a cheque and how to use a condom, we stopped teaching them how to write. We teach them how to spell, we teach them both print and cursive, we teach them which witch is the right witch. We teach them all about the logistics of shooting an arrow, without ever teaching them the importance of aim.
I do not mean that there is a lack of inspiration, of passion, of style and depth to the writing that is produced, there is more passion than I have comma splices. The quiver is full of sharpened arrows of metaphors, similies, framing narratives and style sheets ready for scattered deployment into short stories, essays and poems. It is the determined voice, the sure words and the beautiful logic of aim that I want, it is the intent over the style.
I had the pleasure of having a genuine asshole as a thesis advisor. For years previous to that thesis work, he’d hand back essays I’d worked myself into delirium over with one single red mark on the front. “Thesis?”. I’d work, slave, edit, print, re-edit, put myself and my heart into these essays without ever stating, and sometimes ever knowing, what that force was directed by or to. Thesis statements, he instructed, tell the reader what they should expect, it tells them what the writer will attempt to do, it tells them what the writer will prove and it will tell them, if they look closely enough, who that writer is.
That professor helped me see the value of structure, the value of stating your intent and your passion as one unified voice, in one unified statement. He taught me that without a guide to reflect back on and true your course by, you were lost. That no matter how eloquent your words, how strong your passion, how beautiful your similes, that you were aimless. I think that this is what being taught “how” to write really does – it steadies your hand and guides your motives not just on paper, but in life. It teaches a critical thinking that ensures cheque writing and safe sex become not the target but another arrow in your arsenal, guided by greater intent and purpose in your heart and mind.
So, in 2010 I chose to start not with a resolution but with a thesis statement, guided by body paragraphs and soul alike. In this year, dear bloggers, I will seek to be braver. I will do the things that I want to do, instead of believing that I can’t or worse, thinking I can so never trying at all and forgoing that accomplishment. I will take risks, arrows will fly at targets only previously imagined and usually quashed. Above all else, I will live with the grace and consciousness that comes with knowing I may fail at each and every task I undertake; but I will fail with aplomb, I will fail with style, I will fail with laughter and I will fail knowing that I tried my hardest.
I have a shit load of arrows to accomplish this with, in fact, I have 12 of them. 12 resolutions, one for each month, and they are most certainly not culmulative – at no point will I be cooking and blogging/vlogging one new recipe a week while taking music lessons and learning to cha cha. Some of them are big, some of them are small. But they are all sharp, they are all true, and they are aimed with a startling amount of ferocity and faith that only resolutions can possess. In the next couple of days I’ll let you in on them, but for now….
Here is to arrows.
Here is to aim.