Updated: Dec 11, 2019
I have many conversations, with many different people on any one day. Each one, no matter how long or short, is sui generis despite the typical sameness of constructed day-to-day academic type questions that are asked and answered.
In a conversation with a parent we chatted about understanding Afrikaans through idiomatic expressions versus the complexity of metaphors in English. Thirty minutes into our somewhat academic parley she realised she was on her cell phone and the call had to end, but what resonated with me from that half-hour tête-à-tête was a simple question she asked midway through our chat; ‘’Why don’t you write about it in your school newsletter – or better still why don’t you blog it?’
It’s been over three years since I have written a newsletter piece with any originality or depth of thought; in fact, it has been many years, since I have been struck by the simplicity of a question I couldn’t answer!
So, why did I stop writing newsletters and why haven’t I written some ramblings for Sagan Academy? The contrived platitudes and benignity of what I wrote (in newsletters) felt more like clichéd motivation than random ramblings. I loathe cliché’s: the little devils of the unimaginative with their invasive instructive quasi control on the conventional-mindedness of society. I simply loath it. It is not me. At the time, I also considered, how tired I was. A writer cannot write when the bohemian-sap that oozes through them is stripped by corporate-branded-campaign-type thinking. This is not me either. I contemplated, too, that I was burnt out and had simply lost the enthusiasm to display any maverick-type writing skills to non-receptive audiences!
Three years ago, when I stopped writing garrulous newsletters, I was rooted on the verge of giving in to an acute exigency to simply write; to be done with education. In this fervent conviction and the sway between education then writing or writing then education…The guise of a romanticised back-ever-slumped-coffee-slurping writer, seemed all the more endearing then than it really is! All I craved (and still do) most is: simply to write. (Poetry mostly, but that is another piece for another time…!)
Any writer will know the harrow of being caged by battles, within and without. So, why didn’t I succumb to this clumsy impassioned vagarious thought? There are many reasons; amongst them a more human element that tazered me with annoying zaps in this inner battle between education and writing: The Students. I was, from afar, viewing the merging path of teaching and writing as one and I felt a little zing, that I hadn’t since 2009, about the alacritous changes in education. My self-induced alienation and battles became somewhat less urgent as that year of loathing drew nigh and I decided on a fair trade: if one question was unanswerable, to me, at any time, in any year hence, then it was the right question for me to pull my pen out of my pocket and restart afresh.
And, since you are reading this; it goes without saying that the right questions are always asked by someone, at some time. ‘’Why don’t you write about it in your newsletter?’ Rather simple, isn’t it…? That one question that catapults one back from half-forgotten brooding considerations? The overripe and sonorous question, that finally, releases the metaphor to understanding that victories, though not nearly as colourful as Afrikaans idiomatic expressions, are rather like a soft sublimity to a sunrise of pastel- hues! A rebirth, of sorts.
So, here we are in 2016 and I cannot say I am ready to conquer the persistent thoughts of all writerly things lingering within me, to not throw my hands up and call it a day on education just so that I can find that perfect image through words in writing; especially Poetry! That would be the true dissident in me. I will never detach myself completely from the seemingly wild-chronic metaphor lodged within me which needs to be written.The question asked by that parent, one that day, is but the lulled moment, within a considered moment, which reminded me that the gain of education still remains greater than the loss of writing.
From the desk of:
Founder and Director: Sagan Academy