12 Comments

I’m not a good teacher of writing. I’m not much of an editor, either. I’m comfortable knowing these things about myself. I’m in the “can do, can’t teach” clan.

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One great aspect of literature is that observation—meaning, reading—is vital for learning. So putting out good writing can be the most effective way to demonstrate the craft. Thank you for the comment, Sherman.

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Sep 8, 2023Liked by Charles Schifano

When I was on the varsity tennis team in high school, my Dad hired a private coach to refine my game. The coach, Charlie, was well into his sixties. He was heavy set, carried quite the paunch, and his ruddy cheeks reflected Charlie’s consistent dedication to late afternoon cocktails. I doubt Charlie ever won many tournaments, even in his prime, but he had an eye for the mechanics of the game that made him a popular coach. He quickly found the flaws in my strokes and helped me improve my game. Your post brought back memories of Charlie, and other fine teachers I was blessed to experience in my life.

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I've always found it notable to watch much older and slower players remain even with much younger and faster players—with the more experienced player somehow always in the right position, taking just a few steps left or right, and the younger player running all over the court to keep up. Thank you for the personal story and the comment, John.

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Sep 9, 2023Liked by Charles Schifano

My Dad was fond of saying “Old age and treachery will overcome youth and skill.”

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Sep 9, 2023Liked by Charles Schifano

Brilliant and thought-provoking article, but I'm confused by your assessment of the cliche, because it seems to be saying exactly what you say it doesn't.

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Perhaps in a literal reading of the words, but it seems that the intention is for a hierarchy—one position rather than the other, and I want to express a distinction that's a different. At best, a cliché becomes a lazy or trite way to describe a concept that always contains more nuance, which isn't really a comment about this cliché in particular but all clichés in general, which is why I write about them so often. Thank you for the comment and kind words.

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That's right, in the cliche version teachers are denigrated; in what you lay out here, the distinction is maintained but teaching is shown to be its own realm of excellence.

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I've revamped that saying, slighty. "Those who can, do. Those who can't do, work for government."

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Thank you for the comment, Joseph.

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Yes indeed. Try to take a violin lesson from a virtuoso violinist. The better you are the more effective the teacher will be. In many cases they surmounted obstacles before they have active memories that the student finds daunting. Don’t be surprised if you see some sign of disgust.

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Thank you for the comment, Corwin.

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