Sara Israel, May 5, 2010
Yesterday afternoon and this morning I have dedicated myself to learning about the history, culture, and characteristics of storytelling in the region currently known as the Democratic Republic of the Congo.
It’s for the play I’m working on, and per usual when it comes to research for my writing, I’ve had to resist plunging deep into the wormhole. It’s a challenge to balance letting myself learn freely, and seeing where that takes me, with a vigilance to monitor myself, to make sure it all keeps applying to this play rather than purely becoming a crutch for procrastination.
But wormholes be damned, I’ve learned that it’s impossible to be a good writer without being a good learner. I’ve also come to learn– and appreciate– that learning is a skill. It has to be taught, and then encouraged to flourish.
I’ve been very, very lucky throughout my life to be surrounded by people who have both taught and encouraged me, starting with my parents and my Grandma Helen, continuing with my elementary school librarian, with my music instructors, with public school teachers, college professors, and the wonderful friends I’ve collected along those paths and beyond.
- I’ve had English teachers who have taught me to be more analytical and less judgmental.
- I’ve had math teachers who have taught me to be more creative and expansive in my thinking.
- I’ve had art teachers who have taught me the value of precision and repetition.
You never know what you’re going to learn, and from whom you will learn it. You just have to be open to learning, and fortunate enough to have people in your lives who will take you there.