“My mind is like a bad neighbor. I try not to go there alone.”––Annie LaMotte

Recently, it was pointed out that in proper grammar you rarely use the word THAT. I notice that I used that quite often and I remember my strong and recurring belief that I am not a writer. I do not identify myself as a writer and some people find that interesting. I could say that it is a paradox, but that is not really accurate. If I detach myself from my early programming, I can see myself as good with words and somewhat of a word craftsperson. My programming, however, conflicts with that. So far I have used THAT nine times in the first paragraph. I’m glad that this is my journal and that I can do what ever I want. I can even be a bad writer. And that is pretty good when one has a Virgo Moon which often is expressed through perfectionism.

Although I am being playful, I need to also acknowledge that any feedback I get to correct my grammar, I really do appreciate. And I have to say that I appreciate it deeply, with much love. I think I remember that you are not supposed to start sentences with and and I just did that. And there is that again. Okay, here goes my rant.

Why is it that so many teachers squash the creativity in children with criticism? How valuable are those teachers who can turn that pattern around. My only memory in childhood regarding writing in elementary school was when a teacher corrected every other word in my writing so that there is nothing but red marks all over my paper. It was at that moment that I decided that I was a terrible writer. Cancer children are not easily corrected without annihilating their self-esteem. Teachers should be taught this! There is an art to correcting children without damaging their creativity.

Historically, my friends would frequently come to me in order to help them craft personal letters. I could say what they wanted to communicate when they themselves were unclear. I guess this was a manifestation of my ability to communicate love which was difficult for others. In school, I avoided writing at all costs. My boyfriend in high school and college frequently corrected my grammar. It did not help the situation. I remember in graduate school writing the most personal paper of my life, revealing childhood sexual abuse and when I let him read my paper, he had the audacity to correct my grammar, once again, but for the last time. She didn’t even comment on the content. This is the behavior I to to myself that felt acceptable from my history and from the belief that I was a bad writer.

I went to a large university where objective testing was how grades were determined. It was in my senior year that I had to write my first paper and I was terrified. Until then, I had been the president of the freshman women’s honor society, vice president of the psychology honor society, and now they were about to find out that I had been an imposter. Somehow, I managed to do well with that paper and went on to graduate school where writing papers was the main way we were graded. Having received nearly all A’s in graduate school led to my conclusion that Tulane University must have been an inferior program. Interesting that that was my only conclusion.

Anyway, thank you for indulging me and perhaps we can collectively look at the beliefs we all hold that limit our creativity.