Monday, October 19, 2009

Honesty and Obstacles to Education: English 495 Senior Writing Seminar Assignment

Metaphor of the Day: Homework is like brushing your teeth. Kind of annoying, especially when you'd much rather go straight to bed...but let's face it. It's essential.


"Another reason people don’t use their real voice is that it means having feelings and memories they would rather not have. When you write in your real voice, it often brings tears or shaking – though laughter too. Using real voice may even mean finding you believe things you don’t wish to believe. For all these reasons, you need to write for no audience and to write for an audience that’s safe. And you need faith in yourself that you will gradually sort things out and that it doesn’t matter if it takes time." (Peter Elbow, "How to Get Power through Voice")

My understanding of this assignment was that we were to discover what our core obstacle was to getting an education, and discuss it with full honesty. I’ve struggled with this assignment. I know what my core obstacle is...I just don’t want to talk about it. So after missing several deadlines, I met with Brother Ward and frankly told him that he didn’t know what he was asking of me. I survive by compartmentalizing my emotions; I succeed academically by removing my heart. Honesty is a hard thing to commit to, regardless of the venue.

Palmer states, “The goal of a knowledge arising from love is the reunification and reconstruction of broken selves and worlds.” That would be really, really nice – and I think, or hope, that it’s true. As I have learned more about myself – through professional counseling; wise, genuine friends; and an aching, downtrodden reach toward my Savior – I have learned the power of honestly acknowledging shortcomings.

Sometimes these shortcomings are our fault – sometimes not. That is not the point. We must confess the deficiencies that make up so much of our characters, so that the Savior can change our characters. “Until one is committed, there is hesitancy, the chance to draw back, always ineffectiveness. Concerning all acts of initiative and creation, there is one elementary truth, the ignorance of which kills countless ideas and splendid plans. It is this: The moment one definitely commits oneself, then providence moves you,” states Murray. As we have discussed in class, we must deeply understand the problem before the truth of the solution will become compelling.

I cried as I sat in Brother Ward’s office, while in the act of explaining that I intentionally muffle my emotions. On one hand, I did so because I was frustrated with my failure. But on the other hand, I cried because it felt so good to look the truth in the eye and confess that I was simply not up to the challenge. Individually, we don’t have to be up to the challenge of our own emotional disconnection, in our educations or otherwise. All we have to do, at least to get started, is to acknowledge that our disconnection exists, and ask for help.

Hearing: let's see how far we've come / let's see how far we've come
Feeling: a little overwhelmed, but OK

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