I’ve been working with some art students lately to help them with their professional writing. These art students are going to Seattle to participate in the Fremont Summer Solstice Parade and they’ve been writing grants, Web-site materials, letters, artist biographies, and other items. These students are passionate, energetic, determined, intelligent, and talented. They call themselves the “Seattle 5.”
I love working with them. They’re good at writing, but that’s not the reason I love it. Writing isn’t their top priority, but they understand its importance. They really grasp the notions of purpose and audience. More generally, they understand that their writing is a reflection of them as individuals and professionals and, unlike some of my other writing students, they care about getting it done well.
Recently, I was browsing through The Chronicle’s blogs, forums, and other areas, and I realized that we complain a lot on this Web site. I’m as guilty of it as anybody and, really, that’s kind of what they pay me to do. But as I peruse the annals of The Chronicle of Higher Education and of academe as a whole, it’s easy to get lost, to get angry, to forget why I work in this industry.
I can’t speak for everyone, but as for me, I love this job when things fall into place, when students try and see things working, when there’s dedication and enthusiasm, when I get to participate in a process of creation, when there’s a willing cultivation of knowledge. When all this is there, there’s just not much better. I have a “Seattle 5″ to thank for reminding me of that.