Artificial Intelligence

Writing and Reading as Natural Pattern: No More Classrooms, Please

You know, it’s beautiful. Patterns. A gravel pit, even.

Now, if you walk to the side and look back, what do you see? Other patterns. Rhythms.

 

And a relationship between round blobs of snow buckwheat and the advance-retreat pattern of the eroding post-glacial riverbed. Are patterns meaning? Why not go down to the lake. Ask her at dusk:

A simple curl of beach, nice and even, is cut by waves into the same pattern as the hill. Here’s the hill again…

And the lake again…

Look how the wind coming in at an angle to the water is causing the waves to break in a pattern, as they intersect the shore obliquely. Right, here’s the hill again, without the gravel pit:

That’s a deer trail crossing the waves of the hill…

 

The Waves of the Hill

… which are made by one plane of the earth thrusting obliquely under another, until it buckles. Those waves are one smooth seabed broken into slabs and smoothed out a bit by glaciers. Right, here’s the lake again…

See how the receding wave accentuates the pattern, by flowing back? Right, the hill…


Another gravel pit!

Look how receding water is, like, doing a number on the gravel, just like …

… the waves. Oh, and those blobs…

Those blobs are part of the pattern. Now think of your language as waves, oblique crossings and blobs. So, here’s some of mine, from a manuscript I’m playing with:

The valley bottom is filled with a deep lake of these stones. It is covered with willows and cottonwoods and the clearings called farms. Current flows among these stones in the dark and wells almost to the surface of the soil. The trees of the valley are rooted in this river. They are fountains, pumping it into the sky. 

Right, so that’s fun. Look again. Here, I’ve highlighted the blobs.

And the waves:

And here are the oblique crossings:

The colours are just for fun, really. We could just look at the Thompson River:

Or a deer trail at Basque…

Or the Big Bar Esker…

Or this:

The valley bottom is filled with a deep lake of these stones. It is covered with willows and cottonwoods and the clearings called farms. Current flows among these stones in the dark and wells almost to the surface of the soil. The trees of the valley are rooted in this river. They are fountains, pumping it into the sky.

Still, there are traditions of arranging these landscapes to let the pattern of human carrying, well, carry them:

Enough room to hike between those words, eh!

That takes some training. It is also a tradition, a conceit, with ancestors. We can work it up further into any of a number of poetic forms. That’s just a rough and ready example of, at least, a beginning. The point is that it doesn’t end with writing or aesthetics, but uses them as stepping-stones to other understandings. And then there’s this:

https://lithub.com/toward-changing-the-language-of-creative-writing-classrooms/

This creative writing instructor wants to teach writing as ‘art’, with no reference to past traditions, no ancestors other than genes, and no foundations other than the present. That is profoundly colonial, and privileged. One would do better to go for a walk.

Get in touch with your body. See what you can see. Take a kid with you. Wonder. Together. Actually change the language of creative writing classrooms. Sit down for awhile. Learn to read.

Stuff like that. If you know a young person tempted by a writing classroom, I hope you’ll know how to help. I hope you will.

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