On the Periphery

Things change. Life throws us curves and changeups. It's good to have a place to vent.

Friday, January 04, 2008

Well, the latest hoopla has been about that poor mom who wrote a "made up essay" (an oxymoron) to get her kid tickets to the Hannah Montana concert. The woman has been on the news all week, and this morning was even on "The Today Show." To tell you the truth, (ironically), I felt sorry for the poor woman. I do believe she honestly thought what she was doing was okay--simply because she did not know that an ESSAY is a FACTUAL STORY.

Kids write essays all the time in school. I wonder how many teachers actually say that it has to be a true story, though. As a teacher, I assumed my students already knew that (I taught high school), and by my instructions, truth was inherent. But this woman did not realize that there was a difference between a (nonfiction) essay and a (fictional) short story. So who is at fault? The woman for being uninformed? The school she attended or her English teachers for not being clear? The contest for not stating that an essay is factual writing, not fiction?

This situation typifies the importance of education in our daily lives. In a society that is so literal-minded that a hair dryer carries the warning, "Do not use in the shower," perhaps the contest should have been more specific, as in, "An essay must chronicle true events."

I'm just getting warmed up. Let me think about this and come back to it another time.

Happy New Year to all, and may all your writing, fiction or non, bring you joy and satisfaction (and maybe even publication).

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