Slice of Life Story -On Ya Bike!
No one learns to ride a bicycle by observing pictures of one. No, we must clamber onto said two wheeled contraption and push off on our perilous first journey. It may be short lived and may involve a sudden ending. Our first efforts are most likely accompanied by a high degree of uncertainty and are characterized by white knuckled gripping of the handlebars. We wobble and shake in our desperate attempts to control the direction of the seemingly unmanageable machine. Our efforts are concentrated towards making those willful wheels travel in a straight line, avoiding potential hazards such as fences, potholes, power poles, - people!
Learning to ride a bicycle may also involve a few mishaps. It is most unusual not to experience the occasional ‘prang.’ -The kind of accident that separates rider and bicycle and occasions cuts, scrapes and a few bruises. A bit of bark of our knees comes with the territory the rider is exploring.
Despite such setbacks, the inexperienced rider generally persists and a measure of control begins to develop. The bicycle yields to the will of a determined rider. Eventually the ability to swerve around an errant dog, a muddy puddle, another cyclist emerges and the journey becomes more controlled, more predictable, less angst ridden (pardon the pun).
I frequently find myself reminding young writers of these facts and drawing an analogy with learning to write. Wobbly at first, the writer starts out with great uncertainty and a lack of control. Through practice, persistence and good old fashioned stickability, the writer develops greater self belief and control over the direction the writing takes.
This is a message we not only share with developing writers, it’s a message for adults as well. In recent weeks I have met a significant number of teachers who want to know more about being more effective teachers of writing. They are questioning their current practice. However, the vast majority of them do not write by choice. Their students do not see them as writers. There is an obvious disconnect between what they wish to achieve and what they are currently doing as teachers of writing. This is a sad reality in too many classrooms.
The message to each of them is simple. -Just as you did all those years ago, - climb back onto the bike and start pedaling. -On your bike squire. There you go…
Brave writers (and bike riders) can be any age. It just requires the necessity of daring. The writer must stare down the shiny blank page and cover it slowly with words. In this way the writer asserts freedom and the power to act. Words lead to more words and so the journey is underway. A bit like riding a bike actually…
|Bicycle in Via Pelligrini , Rome October 2012|