Location: Starbucks ( still looking for free wi –fi )
Time: 6:30 am
What: Getting started with writing.
Learning Difficulty: 1
Cost: 100 php ish ( generally I “borrow” my ball pens from the Peninsula or some other fancy hotel )
English is a strange language best learned under the guidance of a strict catholic nun. Even when they are teaching you, I suppose it is because they have equated education with saving souls. I suppose the logic is if we teach you to be smart and to think, you will eventually see and realize that you want to be a good catholic, stay a good catholic, and go to heaven. I’m sure that isn’t what the Catholic Church will say but its a pretty good formula.
Fast Forward a bazillion years to the future —– > (stop 2010 ) Whoa where are the flying cars and shiny aluminium outfits?
I am in the Philippines and I am buying a case for my phone at Makati Cinema Square. So Im sitting there mulling over the wonders of my new phone when a New Yorker was in distress over some software issues. The girls at the stall couldn’t quite explain to him that they didn’t know how to help him. Then I hear him saying something about a videogame.
Now you have to understand, since June 22 , I have received hundreds of mails via facebook, forums, email, and blog about the manual patch “update” and have learned the art of being one with the PEBCAK’s (problem exists between chair and keyboard ) But I don’t necessarily feel that it is a sign of gross negligence on the quality control division of Darwin’s Natural selection process that has allowed the moronic hairless monkey access to a computer.
I generally believe that in any communication event the responsibility of understanding lies squarely on the shoulders of the one who has a need to say something not the one listening.
So as I watched the dance of intellect between New Yorker and sales girl, both thinking that the other one has some sort of mental dysfunction , I decided that I might as well step in and help out. The basic problem is that the girl doesn’t know about software issues windows 7 and that the chap needed to update his directx software. But the root cause analysis of the whole fracas was English.
So I have created this learning module for the many software shop girls that have allowed me to watch anime, play videogames, learn about pcs, and allow me to stay a dork while getting paid cookies. Thank you for existing.
Learning Module 1: Self- Evaluation
Pens ( two different colours )
- Write Everything Down
The best trick in writing ( and studying in general ) I picked up from Sister Leonella which is “write everything down”. To Sister Leonella this meant writing down the whole dictionary, I was not too thrilled with the idea when we started at A but by the time I got to W, it wasn’t too bad.
- Use different colours for different days you write
Years later, I came across an article where Neil Gaiman pretty much validated what Sister Leonella had said with the addition of using pens of differing colours for the different days of writing.
Day 1 : blue pen
Day 2 : black pen
The reason for the different pens is it allows for scanning much easier. I have handwriting one can only best describe as an angry chicken’s expression of road rage. I also find that times of great expression come at odd times that make writing on actual lines, writing dates, and other confines of organization a little inconvenient. This just makes life a better place but it isn’t mission critical.
Subject: Write about yourself. Write about where you want to be in 5 years and 10 years . Be specific! This is a fun exercise and it is just to gauge what your current level of writing is. Try to hit 500- 1000 words. Don’t worry if you think it isn’t very good. What’s important is you did it.
Perhaps you are reading this because you feel you have no opportunities to learn English properly and no one to help you achieve this goal. Perhaps you are reading this because your intelligence is subject to question when you cannot speak or express yourself like an “American foreigner ” and this has limited your success and growth. Perhaps you are reading this because you feel that you will never have the resources to address these shortcomings. I am here to tell you it is only your desire and resolution that counts that will limit you.
To prove this I will quote Abraham Lincoln ( whom I have bequeath the honor of Nudork’s first “slightly dead but still cool Dork” title , uhmm you guys know Abraham Lincoln right? President of the United states of America, tall guy, funny hat, really serious look? )
The story goes , a young man named Isham Reavis had written Abraham Lincoln for advice. This was the president’s response:
My dear Sir:
I have just reached home and found your letter. If you are resolutely determined to make a lawyer of yourself, the thing is more than half done already. It is but a small matter whether you read with anybody or not. I did not read with anyone. Get the books and study them till you understand them in their principal features, and that is the main thing. It is of no consequence to be in a large town while you are reading . I read at New Salem, which never had 300 people living in it. The books and your capacity for understanding them , are just the same in all places.
Always bear in mind that your own resolution to succeed is more important than any other thing.