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Manifesto Monday

11.17.2008

I'm starting a new little tradition for my blog: Manifesto Monday. Each Monday I will share with you something I believe in--much like the radio program This I Believe that airs on NPR. I will be casually following their guidelines as to how to write a "This I Believe" essay. However, most of my writings will be quite raw--so please forgive any chopiness. I would love for any of you to do the same on your own blogs.

I believe in the power of kind words. About four years ago I applied for a job as an assistant researcher for a well-renowned professor of philosophy at a university. I was a college drop-out at the time, and the only example of my writing I had was a paper written two years previous for an art history course. Not only was that paper not an example of my current writing and research skills, but I had recieved a "C" grade on the paper. Hardly what I had hoped to present to such an intellectual giant, and hopefully future employer. I anticipated our meeting for an interview with great anxiety. "He'll brush me aside quickly, and move on to the next applicant, " I thought. But, oh how badly I wanted that job. I was working full time at a wedding reception center to pay for my husband's schooling. I wanted more than anything to be on a college campus--doing anything remotely scholarly. The moment of the interview came. I handed the professor my "C"-worthy paper. He excused himself for a moment so that he could skim over the paper and the rest of my resume. Oh heart! It was indeed one of those moments that you wish would be over and done with as quickly as possible. Ten minutes later he returned, and sat down next to me at a large and empty conference table. The first words out of his mouth were, "You have a great command over language and words. I am very impressed." What?! Did I hear him right? My heart leaped up, and I wanted to shout for joy. He could have ended there, and I would have been happy indeed. He assigned me to a research team, and I was going to have my dream job. Unfortunately, the university would not allow a non-student to work on the project so I was let go. However, I have looked back to that interview and those kind words over and over again as I am now back in school trying to finish my degree. My writing has since been critiqued and edited--often quite harshly. But those words, "you have great command over language and words" keeps popping up in my mind, and I keep going, trying to find a way to write beautifully and honestly. The power of kind words is great indeed. This I believe.

6 comments:

CJ said...

I like this new manifesto entry thing.

I would agree with that professor. You are a good writer.

nicole said...

what a good idea!

Dianne said...

I remember that time and how badly you wanted that job. I wanted you to get it, too. But it looks like you received something far better than a job--encouragement from someone you respected and could believe. He wasn't just flattering you.

Natalie said...

I love this idea!! I think I will do it as well. We are what we believe and I think it will help me remember and contimplate what I am.

Diane said...

Yes ... the professor is totally right - you have command over language. Just read your blog - there's proof!

Diane

lane said...

I love this post. When I applied to graduate school I felt woefully inadequate. When I had graduated years before, one of my favorite professors had gifted me with one of his books and penned the words, "To one of our finest."

Was that just a fluke--had he written it just because he couldn't think of anything else to say?

Who knows. But I glommed onto it and through the whole process I kept thinking to myself, but he said, I was one of the finest!

If we knew how much hope we could inspire with such little gestures, maybe we would do it much more often.