You’ve read About Me.
Now about you.
What can I do for you?
Need a certificate? Credits? Advancement? Sorry, can’t help you here. I understand though. You’ll find that easily enough. Maybe I can point you there.
Want to pass for someone with more education? Want to fit in with some crowd or other? Talk like they talk? Want to sound like the guy who has the job you want, the office you want? Want the right grammar for your dress-for-success look? Sorry, can’t help you here.
Want to know whether to say “good” or “well”? Whether that question mark goes inside or outside the quotes? Sorry, can’t help you here.
Want to know who or whom? Which fork to pick up first? Lay or lie? Stripes or solids? Me or myself? Sorry, can’t help you here.
Does this grammar make me look fat, you ask? Sorry, can’t help you here.
Want to write more? For more people? With more effect? To better purpose? To make a difference? For power?
Then yes, I can help.
Do you teach writing? Write with power yourself, but always wonder how to reach more students?
Then yes, I can help. Stay and see.
Reach more students? Deliver more to the students you have, I mean. If not fill more seats, fill more minds and hearts.
I make Internet animations and games. The visuals can reach people who back away from masses of text. The computer brings endless patience to the learner. The Internet can reach people who were forgotten before, lost to sight, left out.
Do you teach writing to students who don’t like to read? A YouTube generation? I get it. I have decades of books all around me, some of which first belonged to my father, but I now read e-Books through Kindle on an Android Internet phone, and watch TED talks and YouTube and video there while traveling. Example: I’ve read all of Chogyam Trungpa, founder of the Naropa Institute for Buddhism, a foot or more of books on the shelf. Now I read his student Pema Chodron because he taught her in person for years. If there’s more to Trungpa than we find in his pages, Pema Chodron has it. The best of Trungpa is lost in his books, she says; his way of looking at you, his way of speaking, the pauses, the stares, the provocations, the back-and-forth with students and strangers, with groups and with the single best of his students. So instead of just reading Pema Chodron, I get her on video and audio, and get her face and voice and hands as she talks to her students about her great teacher, and shows us what she saw; the way she looks back when a beginner asks a vain question or a good question or a hard question, the shifting lines of her face when she laughs, or nods and pauses and looks down, or leans in to interrupt as if pulling a new swimmer from a cross current, or turning him.
You mimic a smile to understand it, says Ron Gutman at TED, in The Hidden Power of Smiling. You understand it less with a pencil in your mouth, because you cannot mimic it.
Do you write, teach writing, learn writing? Get that pencil out of your mouth.
Suppose we could write with all the power of our presence, all we give in person? In a way that does not leave out the best we have to give? With more of our voice, more of our look, more of the way we sit and stand and move, the way our eyes meet, the early language of our hands and shoulders and choice of clothes?
Yes, we can beat YouTube when we write. Not by hiding from it, though, or clucking at it, or looking away. Not by teaching what I saw on one school website: “You should not usually use direct commands in your essays, except in quotations.” Flush that.
You and I are writing and reading across the Internet now, in this moment. Make it a conversation, make it go both ways, between you and me and others here. Tell me what works for you and what doesn’t. Tell me what else you could use. Together you and I and the Internet could do what has never been possible before, never in all the history of our kind.