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Thursday, December 11, 2014

How About That?!


Already I know that a new year's resolution will be to submit, submit, submit; that is, to submit samples of my writing to magazines and other publishing sites.  Ever wary of sharing my 'gems' for scrutiny, I finally learned to use the electronic process aptly named 'Submittable', to channel my submissions directly to their intended destinations.  Whether an editor finds them worthy is out of my hands.

So this week I am pleased to say that my essay "Writing Poems at Sixty Nine", which I'd sent out via a new process, 'Submittable,' and with my blessing,  appeared online today.  I had submitted it to the's website, under the category "Writer's Block," which, I assume,  means place for thought, not obstruction.  My writing has been found worthy.

So how do I feel about that?  Filled with glee, fingers flying over the keyboard to tell all my friends and writing team (fellow writers and encouragers) (current parlance calls for a feminine counterpart to 'fellow,' but 'gal writers' hasn't quite caught on yet--shall we start?) that I am in print.  Online.  In digit (as in format, not hand or foot).  Oh my, terminology is such a variable  thing...with all the alternatives, how do we make the right choices?

I notice that the editor has changed a word choice in the 'Writing (etc.)" essay, substituting "teaching artist" for 'teacher,' which is the word I had written.  After living in India where tradition has it that teacher is third deserving of respect/reverence only after God and parents, and having been a teacher for thirty years and more, the term 'teacher,' for me, conveys a world of responsibility, skill, and respect (although opinions and teachers may differ).  'Teacher' has all the substance and wonder (wonderment or wonderful, take your pick) that my essay required, and indeed honored.

But the editors, bless their hearts, have their own messages to convey.  In this case, making a statement that writing is an art form.  I would not disagree. But 'writing' itself is a term for a respected and skilled occupation.  Other people, who could be writers too if they just realized the potential and practice of writing down the thought and spoken word, often express awe and wonder when they find out I am a writer.  So I do not believe the term 'teacher' is enhanced by changing it to 'teaching artist.'  In fact, the two word term, repeated as often as it is in the essay, becomes somewhat of a distraction, too weighty in diction for the purpose, which, in my mind, was already served.

Come to think of it, even the humblest occupation, say doing the dishes, can become an art form, a spiritual discipline. Think of Brother Lawrence.  Attitude, attitude, attitude, (and practice).

In the end, however, I bow to the editor.  The piece was published, after all. And I thank you very much. Personally,  I will continue to use the simple, direct term 'teacher.'  With all due respect.

(Stay tuned to, where you are now, for tales of this year's adventures in India, probably not the ones you might expect, beginning after a week or so.  You can 'follow' via the link on the right hand side of this page --->, to receive an email notice whenever I make a new entry, at least once a week, for the about next six weeks. No advertising etc. emails will accrue, 'promise.)

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