Teaching yourself

Last evening I went to a talk by Hayden Gabriel here at Marjon. She is a novel writer and also teaches at the BA English here. She talked about her experience writing novels and how her creative process developed and matured. Fascinating! I’ll write about this on my lit blog later at the weekend.

In her talk Hayden showed us a  slide with a quote from Walt Whitman in which he says that when you write, you write yourself. Unfortunately, the quote was too long to be copied and there was no precise bibliographic reference in her slide. Apparently it came from his 1855-56 Notebook. I searched the Internet up and down but could not find it – I suppose sooner or later it will come to me again in a different circumstance – it usually happens. Now I can only remember that he clearly says that you can only write what you are and that what you are is an amalgam of what you have lived, your feelings, your history and your readings.

I’m just mentioning this here because yesterday morning in our session with Tony he briefly touched on the fact that teachers do not only teach their subject matters; they teach themselves. When you teach , you teach yourself. What you are and what you bring with you go into your teaching, moulding and shaping it. If we can put it into other words, teaching is a very personal affair, as writing is.