Just forget the words and sing along

Thursday, July 29, 2004

Today, my memory wandered back to my old junior high English teacher, Mr. Twerdoclib.  He was a great teacher, but an arrogant prick.  I learned a lot from him. 

Every 3 months or so, at a time I would identify in junior high and university as midterm/final exam time, he would make us go through this exercise called the "superior good copy."  We the students were able to sift through our past three months of essays, short stories, and whatever else we may have written, and pick one that we really, really liked.  And then, we got to do another draft.  Re-write it, incorporating his comments and anything else we thought would make it better.

He first explained this concept to us using his beloved "writing process" that he beat into our minds.  He pointed to the final step, Sharing and Publishing; the final part where you're satisfied with it and you show it to everyone you know.  "When you handed it in to me," he said, "It was at this step."  Then, he went all the way back to step 2 of the process, Writing; the step I now call the first draft.  "Now, it's all the way back here.  You can start over." 

There was really only one rule when it came to doing a Superior Good Copy:  it must be rewritten!  We couldn't hand the same thing in again.  To do so would instantly get us a 0.  First time we did this, my rival Colleen Ozee did it.  Not only did she get a 0, she got one of Mr. Twerdoclib's trademark public humiliations in front of the class.   

I won't lie.  I always looked forward to it.  It was kind of fun.

But anyway, why was I thinking of this today?  As I'm looking through my past 5 years worth of columns, I'm looking at a few and thinking, "I'd like to do a superior good copy of this."  So I think I will.

Next Issue...The Return of the Ozee

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