Wisdom of the Apprentices

Buck put it this way:

If you are teaching it, you’ve got to be doing it.

He was referring to writing, but generalizing a principle. Is there anything this doesn’t apply to?

Jeannie said:

An uneducated teacher can’t move the student from using tools to using judgment. Using tools well requires judgment, not formulas.

Buck raised the question of why to avoid “Be” verbs when you write.  We came up with three reasons:

  1. Precision of thought (we assume this needs no defense).
  2. More precise verbs enable the reader to better perceive what is happening (Josh moved, vs. Harry pushed Josh in his wheelchair…)
  3. The wrong verb halts the mind; the right one opens new worlds of perception to the writer.

We also made this qualification: If you are focusing on the quality of existence of a thing, then you should use be verbs and even the dreaded “There is” construction.

God is the creator is a fine sentence if you are describing His abilities. But if you want to describe His act of creating, it would be better to say, God created (e.g. the heavens and the earth).

I love the apprentices. They keep me sharp.

U2B on Letterman

If you like U-2, I’m afraid you’re going to have to take a look at these.