We’ve been watching quite a bit of Peter Draws on YouTube lately. I love his style.
I go on Facebook, and people are always griping about how they never learned how to balance a checkbook or pay taxes and that they’ll never use calculus in the real world.
Now, for some reason, I know a lot of math teachers. Like, serious business mah teahcers. Even math professors. I mean, I was good at math in school, but that was plenty good enough for me. No offense to the possibly dozens of math teachers reading this, but it’s just not my thing, you dig?
So the math teachers always have to get up in arms about how each and every one of us grown folks uses this higher math all the time without even knowing it.
First of all, I would never let a career define me so deeply that any disparagement of anything to do with my career choice becomes a personal attack on me.
I’m a writer; I’m an artist. I’ll be the first to tell you that there’s bad art and bad literature. Because it’s true. But that doesn’t lessen its impact one single bit. Sometimes creating bad art is the only thing saving a person from completely giving up. I fully support that.
Now, math is a little different. I’m sure there’s a mathematician somewhere scribbling away at formulas to keep the darkness at bay, but that’s not where I’m going today.
If a contemporary complains about the uselessness of the math they learned in school, it’s not an attack on you as a math teacher. Jeez. Take a breath. It’s not even an attack on math. Take another breath.
Take another breath, cause here’s my point:
What difference does it make whether or not someone realizes that they’re doing math?
None at all.
It doesn’t matter at all. I promise. Where’s the sense in trying to get people riled up about having to use math every day? Doesn’t that just make your life harder as a math professional? Wouldn’t you rather not struggle with more and more animosity towards the math that is your life?
Just let it go.
Honestly, I’m with everyone who wants to be taught practical things in school. Everyone who doesn’t want to spend time learning about things that don’t interest them and won’t help them in their chosen life paths.
Today I shit my pants when I sneezed at work close to closing time. My cropped sweater doesn’t cover my rear end, and remember, I work in a kiosk.
I never learned in school what to do about that.
But I can’t for the life of me think of what to call that class.
I don’t remember the first time I learned it, but one rule of writing has been drilled into my head so deeply that I don’t believe I’ll ever get rid of it.
It’s the forbidden word.
There, I said it. It’s right there. There’s the word that good writers never use.
Don’t use there. You can’t use there. It isn’t descriptive. There should never be the subject. There is far too passive. It just sits there. Move those words around and make that sentence active.
So many English teachers, so many writing classes, and this is my biggest takeaway. Don’t ever use there. And I try not to do it. And when I read someone else’s writing, I rewrite their there-led sentences in my head.
But I can’t help myself sometimes. I use there.
Because in my decades of reading and writing, the thousands and thousands of books and the millions of words, I’ve learned another thing. And it clashes. Sometimes, good writers do use there. Sometimes it’s the right word. Sometimes it’s determined to insert itself into whatever I’m writing in spite of how much I try to stuff it down into some deep, dark, readerless hole.
Sometimes I can practically taste the cognitive dissonance.
But it’s a word, and there are so many words; I’ll never use them all (see what I did there?). There deserves to be read just as much as any other word.
But you know, you’re not supposed to use there.
I know I’ve been away, and I’ve missed you! But this is exactly why I didn’t sign up for NaBloPoMo. I am a day ahead of schedule with my novel, though!
Today was my first day of work as an engraver. It’s actually even more fun than I thought. There’s a lot of nifty little stuff I can do, even though all it really boils down to is me telling the machine to put this text here.
Here is my engraving test, and yes, I was the first employee to ask to take a picture of it.
It is fun, though. It’s interesting to watch how the engraver cuts the letters differently for different fonts. And it suits the perfectionist in me to be able to make adjustments by a thousandth of an inch.
By far the best part of the day was after I got off work, when I saw that the mall Christmas train is hiring. I could be a conductor! I’m applying tomorrow morning.