I could blame a number of reasons why I’ve been rough on my students lately. As we near the end of the semester I’m ready to say goodbye and they are just warming up to me. I often feel like I haven’t done enough for them or brought them far enough along to guarantee a summer of better writing, or it may all boil down to the fact that my annual review is due Wednesday and I haven’t started it yet. Whatever the reasons, I have to admit I’m being a bit sharp in my critiques, and it has taken demonstrations of both defensiveness and thank-you-sir-may-I have-another humility, along with the perfectly reasonable and humane insights of Catherine M. Wallace to make me aware. Wallace writes:
“We don’t want advice. We don’t need advice. We want and need something that will send us back to our keyboards in gladness and singleness of heart.” This is from her essay, “Care & Feeding of the Work in Progress,” The Writer’s Chronicle March/April 2008.