Thursday, August 30, 2007

Like Riding a Bike?

Is writing like riding a bike? Once you learn how, you can always remember how to keep your balance? I wrote a poem once about this - same title as I recall - and if I can figure out how to attach a file here I'll do that. But John Lemuel's essay "Like Writing a Bike" seems to argue that bike riding - a physical skill - is easier overall than writing. In describing his summer of simultaneously teaching his daughter to ride a bike successfully with less successful efforts to help a student finish an incomplete writing course in order to graduate, Lemuel illustrates some of the challenges in helping another take initiative. We sometimes talk about student agency, letting students voice their opinions, encouraging them to voice opinions, helping them figure out what their opinions are and how to articulate them and realize that their voice matters. Sometimes it feels like we are fighting an uphill battle (sisyphean task?) - yet as my friend Michael says about his own Sisyphean Task, and quoting Sartre in his wonderful - and finished! - thesis about the blogosphere (about which more later), the task is the joy of the journey, not a frustration at never arriving. I'm not sure I've paraphrased this right, so maybe Michael will jump in to clarify.

Because I love adding photos, here is one from



Blogger Michael Faris said...

It's actually Camus, not Sartre. :)

And yes, I'd say that learning to write is harder than riding a bike. Why? Because bike riding can be rote (thought it certainly isn't always), and I don't think that writing is so rote (though some of it certainly is).

Sorry I haven't replied to your email sooner. I'll get to it. I promise.

10:01 PM  

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