Thursday, May 17, 2012


Make friends with speed.”
     --- Shakespeare, Henry IV, Part 2

     I don’t usually push for speed in my classes, but there is a place for it, for sure. My students and I need the kind of friendly speed that comes from a feeling of confidence, a feeling of being bold readers and writers who can race among written words the way winds race effortlessly among miles of trees.  Making ourselves into swift thinkers is the first step, and from there we become the kind of brash writers who want their words to take off across the computer screen like sleek horses, and who want to sprint through the pages of books like runners in a festive race.  We learn to love the light-heartedness that comes from doing something with both swiftness and affection.  This doesn’t mean that I want my students to write and read in reckless ways. Written words are sacred things, but sacred in the same way that open roads are sacred to runners. I sometimes want my students to sense the same high-spiritedness as they read and write that runners feel when they find themselves free and comfortable in the midst of a long run.  I want them to feel as fortunate when they’re reading and writing as bicyclists feel when they follow each other in fast-paced lines on clear and limitless roads. There’s a joy in speed that all of us know, and there’s almost nothing like the happiness of seeing your written words race out ahead of you, or feeling the flow of ideas as you dash through the sentences of a story.  

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