Slow but deep
18 hours ago
Art talk makes me uncomfortable.
It’s better to have different kinds of artists in a room.
Different kinds of people in a room, for that matter.
That’s my feeling.
Put a writer in a room with a sculptor and a bricklayer and a whore.
Put an actor in a room with violinist and a chemist and a eunuch and a Navy SEAL.
Turn the cameras on.
See what happens.
Too many of the same kind is toxic.
There’s nothing worse than a roomful of writers sitting around talking about writing.
Just my feeling.
I’m a hypocrite in saying this, of course, as I teach creative writing and moderate such rooms all the time.
But I like to think I do it with a certain measure of self-awareness and restraint.
I like to think I’m aware of the danger.
I have a pretty low opinion of myself as a teacher.
I’m more of a tour guide and a grunt laborer.
That’s how I view the job.
It’s a service position.
Nothing “executive” about it.
Less Yoda, more R2D2.
This, to me, is central to any kind of managerial role, any kind of educational or executive role.
It’s service, at the end of the day.
I work for my students.
You poison everything you touch.
You kill the greater organism.
But if you’re a boss, and you start from the premise that you work for the people who work for you, you’re likely going to be much more effective.
It’s about service.
It’s about being a white blood cell, 92.4% of the time.
It’s about how can I help.
It’s not that simple.
But really it kind of is.
I always tell my students that they’re not allowed to talk about their processes.
Their creative processes.
Learning how to deal with my process….
I tell them if they ever start talking about their “process” in my class, they’ll get an F-minus.
Not even an F.
I’m sort of kidding when I say that.
I’m not actually gonna give them an F, but I really don’t want them to talk about it.
And it’s hard to be in a creative writing workshop and not use the word “process.”
Try it sometime over a 16-week semester.
Even I wind up saying it on occasion.
I’ll slip up.
Castigate myself in front of the class.