Inevitable Static

Greg (a friend of mine) is fascinated by Street Art and Public Art in Melbourne. He publishes a great blog on the subject. I was reading about one particular piece of street art from a celebrated artist being painted over, and I decided to leave a comment. [I’ve been fascinated by the impermenance of street art for some time now. It fascinates me that these artists go to such lengths to create work that they ultimately have no control over.]

I found myself Googling the word ‘inevitable.’ In part to check my spelling. But also for another slightly more abstract (slightly silly) reason – just to check if it was indeed a word. Let me explain… when I was in high school ‘inevitable’ was one of my most favourite words. One day I got some piece of work back from my English teacher – it might have been an essay, I can’t quite recall – and there was a red line through the word in my answer. I was genuinely bewildered when I looked at it. Perhaps I spelt the word wrong, perhaps I inversed a couple of letters. Perhaps the word didn’t make sense in the context of that sentence. I was imbued with this sense that it was somehow wrong but I never found out why or how. I never thought to ask. There was just this terse dismissive red line on the page.

The consequence of this was basically that I stopped using that word. I forgot that it existed. I made this observation on Twitter and was interested to see I wasn’t the only one who forgot about certain words.

@suesbent on Tranquility

Susan Bentley (@suesbent) writes:

@johnlacey “tranquility” was mine and like you I forget this word and state of being still exist

Three final thoughts.

Inevitable is a word.

If you’re giving feedback explain why something is wrong.

If you’re receiving feedback – and that feedback is vague – insist on some clarification. Dig a little deeper. Knowing is much better than not knowing and limiting yourself (and in this instance, limiting your vocabularly).

1 comment… add one
  • Oh those red ink marks, like little stabs in the heart. I do add comments to explain mine to students, but it takes a ton more time (a couple extra hours per grading session) and research indicates that most students will not bother to read them, let alone take the time to actually speak privately with the professor about it. Those few who are interested, like you, are what we teachers LIVE for! Really;-)

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