Tutor profile: Brien G.
How do people deal with writer's block?
"Writer's Block" affects us all, regardless of age or experience. People often fall back on the old trope of "write what you know," and with good reason. Our lives are tapestries of little moments and experiences and when we begin to pluck at the threads of those little moments we might discover that we have far more to say to the world than we realize. Writing should always be a process of discovery. Since there are always new things to discover, there is always something to write about. When we give in to "writer's block," we are really giving in to fear - fear that we have nothing to say, fear that - even if we did have something to say - no one would care to hear about it. A blank page will stay a blank page until you type that first word, and then a second, and then a third. Those words need not be meaningful or correct or anything of substance. Eventually, with patience, you will find your way to what it is you want to say to the world - and you'll be surprised at how many people want to read what you have to say.
Why does Shakespeare seem like a foreign language?
Shakespeare's language often provides a stumbling block to many readers. That word "reader' may very well be part of the problem. Shakespeare wrote plays that were meant to be performed and seen - not read quietly in a classroom (though reading Shakespeare can become highly enjoyable once you get the hang of it!). Learning to grapple with Shakespeare takes patience. There are skills that can help, like learning to re-order sentences as you read and identifying the dramatic stakes of a scene, but you are still going to come across unfamiliar words and images that will challenge and perplex you. This is where annotated texts or good teachers can help you navigate those tricky spots so you can get back to enjoying the wonderful stories he tells.
What qualifies a book as literature?
Society often likes to create partitions between "popular fiction" and "literature." Honestly, those lines can get pretty blurry. A book like Frankenstein could easily be shelved in the science fiction or horror aisles, but it is considered a masterpiece because of its exploration of the human condition. Ultimately, literature holds up a mirror to our own lives or to walk in the shoes of someone very different from us. Literature allows us to move beyond the common stresses of everyday life and take a peak into the deeper workings of humanity.
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