And I’m not just talking about you know; I’m talking about the way we go about things in general.
On the one hand, we do seem to value the idea of taking our time with sayings like “stop and smell the roses” and fables like “The Tortoise and the Hare.” But on the other hand, we are a culture of multi-tasking, microwave dinners and George Clooney’s relationships.
Many of my students think they are “bad” writers because it takes them a long time to write an essay. I tell them that good writing usually does take a long time. Snooki’s bestselling book wasn’t built in a day, I reassure them. In fact, one of my favorite sayings about writing, which I include on my syllabus, is this one from Enrique Jardiel Poncela: “When something can be read without effort, great effort has gone into its writing.”
There’s the brainstorming of the essay, the organizing of ideas, the first draft, the proofreading, the looking up of grammar rules you’re unsure about (I know, and Snooki actually wrote her book), the final draft, the proofreading, the having someone else proofread it, the next revision, and then the having it notarized and emblazoned with the family crest.
So I feel like such a hypocrite when I give my class an in-class essay. I am, aren’t I? Should I nix the in-class exams? Or is there a place for timed writing?