Saturday, June 25, 2005

Teaching the fine art of typing

Hi there. Goofball here. I decided that before we send off the new trainees, we should teach them how to write. And I don't mean basic literacy either. I mean how to write. Those cats writing the crawl on the bottom of CNN Headline News or MSNBC are literate and can type, but there isn't much artistry there. I suppose the crawl could be interesting if you are into dada-esque minimalism or some other funky stuff, but I am all about letting words express your personality. Let me break it down for you a couple of ways:

First, you have to find your voice. Words can be put together a lot of different ways, so why not put them together in a way that expresses the core of you-ness? Try not to sound like you are reading from a telephone book or a statistics textbook. Instead of saying, "I went to the store to buy some butter and some cheese," why not jazz it up a little bit and say something like, "I hopped down to the mart to pick up some butter and cheese." See? It don't take much. Just a dib there and a dab there makes ya seem like a more interesting bear.

And don't let anyone put words in your mouth either. A lot of people pick up a bear and have him say all types of screwed up stuff. Ya gotta be true to yourself and assert yourself. If you don't feel like attending a tea party, say, "Hell no, I would NOT like to attend your tea party!" Well, I suppose you could be more polite about it. Ain't nothing wrong with being polite. And I've got nothing against tea parties either. I'm just talkin' about the principle of the matter.

And that doesn't mean that you can't liberally borrow from other people. There is a reason why phrases and authors are famous afterall.

"It was the best of naps, it was the worst of naps."

That may not be the most original set of words composed, but it does capture certain afternoons. Or, how about,

"Ask not for whom the alarm sounds; it sounds for thee."

See? By borrowing from Hemingway, I am stealing cool sentence construction, word choice, AND I'm adding gravity to my point. Everyone knows he's writing about death, but I'm writing about waking up. I'm subverting his words to do my bidding.

Anywho, the point is, you gotta find your own voice.

Second, you have to write about something. Once upon a time, things had to be about something. Nowadays they even create entire sitcoms about nothing. What do you, being the bear typing the message, want to convey to your audience? It doesn't have to be heavy. Sometimes, I want to express my outrage at the treatment of black bears in national parks. Other times, I just want people to realize how cute and clever I am. You should have a point and make it. On that note, I'll move onto ...

Third, you have to know what to write. I don't mean the specific words, because even loquacious fellows like myself suffer from writer's block from time to time. What I'm talking about is the form. Are you gonna write a letter? For instance,

Dear President Bush,

I am writing to inquire about a potential opening in your administration. With all the obscure national celebrations like National Icecream Day or National Florist History Month and the host of equally obscure laureates you keep around, I figured there has to be a national teddy bear laureate. I think I would be an excellent candidate for the post on account of my natural charm, quick wit, striking good looks, cuddling ability, and all around American Bearness. Please find my resume and references attached.


Goofball Bear

PS I understand there have been some budget cutbacks, so I will forego any stipend that may accompany the position of national teddy bear laureate. I can also fill the position of national poet laureate, allowing you to claim that you have streamlined the bureaucracy and cut down on government waste. Let me know.

Or maybe you were going to write a poem, such as ...

Pi is of a curious ilk
One part oink
and the other silk.

There are a whole host of things you can write. Reviews, essays, review essays, you name it.

But the most important thing to write are letters, because we're gonna miss you guys when you're off at your new homes and we'll wanna hear how you're doing. Bears aren't too good at visiting each other, so we have to rely upon correspondence (and sometimes the telephone). If you ever forget our email address, you can just click on the "Email Us" link to the left.

Ah, look at me, gettin' all misty eyed with the new bears. Shucks. I'm okay with it. Ain't nothin' wrong with a bear lettin' his feelings show. This is a new millenium, baby. It's all about knowing how ya feel.

Besides, I gotta teach you how to write letters in order to complain about never hearing from y'all

Typing Teacher


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