Wednesday, 9 October 2013

Tips for Writing Success: Source Material (#5)

   On any given semester I read several hundred student essays. The best aspects of that labour include: an exposure to topics with which I have less than passing familiarity, bits of new information from the marvelous world of science (the vast majority of students in my classes do not expect to major in English or Creative Writing), and assorted other stuff I didn't know.

(Essays blurred to protect the innocent.)

   When I began this blog segment dedicated to Tips for Writing Success: Source Material, there was a half-facetious idea that I'd provide a public service for writers (published or would-be) who might be seeking or needing inspiration—a line or a fact or an overheard conversation that they might use in their short story or novel or essay, or that they might even utilize as the core concept around which they might build their project. 

   I still like the idea, but for whatever reason haven't been listening carefully or taking notes, or (maybe) haven't been social or outside enough to steal someone's public domain utterance from a restaurant, bus, sidewalk, or literary event.
   To make up for lost time, then, here's a new one, lifted (with permission) from a student's essay. The category? A fact I did not know and that you, dear reader, might find useful—

"In most East Asian countries, a first-birthday tradition is to predict a child's future based on which of the four dangling tiny icons the child reaches first—a book (teaching profession), a computer mouse (science field), a calculator (business), or a stethoscope (medicine)."

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