I’ve been reading a lot of difficult things this semester. Not difficult in that they are intellectually challenging (though there has been some of that), but difficult in the sense that they are trauma narratives, narratives about the darkest side of human experience.

When I got home tonight, I read another narrative that I have to take notice of. Mike Golby is an astounding writer. I strongly recommend reading this post. It should be read. It’s not something that will cheer you up, but it does express what a sad and beautiful thing life is. Good writing is often hard. So is life.

I read something else today that I must have stitched on a pillow, or perhaps tattooed on a bicep:

Effective writing is affective writing.

I can’t separate my scholarly writing from my personal writing. The further I go, the more they become the same. Some professors have told me that if I ever let that schism happen, it’s a wound that will take years to heal.

The same essay that had this quotable quote told the story of a professor that had been teaching writing for years with his head, and it had consistently failed to improve the performance of his students. When he began to teach with his heart, only then did his students improve.

Guy Allen teaches at the University of Toronto, and has received a 40 million dollar grant to found a writing center. I like his approach, but it feels so weird to read about it. My journey through life was completely the opposite. I’ve run the first forty years with my heart, and only recently discovered that I have a head. But I don’t plan on putting away my heart any time soon.