The Pyrenees---Southern France

The Pyrenees---Southern France

Thursday, June 12, 2014

Request + Unwanted = Embraced

      This summer I am co-facilitating Gateway's Summer Institute. It's one of the National Writing Project sites (Gateway is at U. of Missouri-St. Louis) and is an intense graduate course. We meet for five weeks, four days a week, from 9-3:30. (It's a 6-credit class.)


       I love it.


     A couple of days ago, the other teacher (Nancy) and I demonstrated a way their writing response groups could critique each other's work. Nancy (who is white) shared a poem about the worries she has for her son. Her son has a friend who is black. She compared her concerns to the issues her son's friend's mother deals with. (Have I lost you yet?)


      I suggested she try writing it in the style of a two-voice poem. At that point, Nancy didn't want to completely overhaul her piece. She also simply might not have liked the suggestion I made, which was fine. It's her work, and her decision...

          However, after thinking about it, I was inspired to write a two-voice poem comparing the worries I have for my son with the worries a friend of mine has about her son. (Both of our boys are the same age, but her son was shot when an intruder came into his house. He is now a paraplegic.)


       So, even though Nancy requested some feedback, it was unwanted, but I embraced it and made it work for me.


       How do you deal with unwanted/unasked for advice?


   

17 comments:

  1. I usually listen to everything and then decided what I really want to act on...including following my own path.

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    1. Claudia--Following your own path is always essential...

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  2. I nod and act interested. Some days, I'm Oscar material.

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    1. Val--You and me both. But I will admit that deep inside my head, I'm often rolling my eyes...

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  3. What a cool thing! Congratulations! As one who has attracted a few unsolicited advisors, I've found Step One is to determine intent. If the advisor is genuinely trying to help, I try to weigh their words carefully before deciding what's best for myself.

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    1. Tammy--It IS cool. And thanks.

      Yes, I've heard recently (a new phrase to me) to "assume goodwill." There are times that things come off in what might be construed as negative, but with some questioning/clarification, it can usually be cleared up.

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  4. I enjoy unsolicited advice. Seriously. Sometimes it's actually valid/helpful, and sometimes it's just blog fodder. :-)

    Pearl

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    1. Pearl--You--of course--can spin anything into something funny.

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    2. Blog fodder....I love that phrase!

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  5. Writing advice or life advice? I ignore both, generally.

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    1. Mama Zen--I don't blame you. You seem to do fine all by yourself... ;)

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  6. I received some crappy writer advice, recognized it as crap and listened to my heart. I will listen to anyone's advice, and then use my own judgment.
    Congratulations on this project. I am so happy for YOU. Need a guest speaker?

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    1. Linda--You know that if it smells like - -it and it sounds like - -it, it is - -itty advice.

      Thanks. It's fun but exhausting. I think our schedule is already full, but I'll keep you in mind...

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  7. I'm a bit more thin-skinned than I'd like to be but I always at least try to see if the advice offers something I should consider.

    Pat
    Critter Alley

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    1. Pat--That is always something you should consider. I probably have such thick skin because when you're a teacher, you get your name scratched into the bathroom stall walls--along with nasty words. ;)

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  8. Hats off to you Sioux! I'm getting less sensitive as I grow older and I love hearing how others deal with this stuff!

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  9. Musings--I agree. Age helps us figure out what is really important and what is not. Thanks for stopping by...

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