25 January 2005

Moonshine

I've just read Philip Pullman's Guardian essay "Common sense has much to learn from moonshine" (via Bookninja) and am singing inside with happiness:

And the crazy thing is that the common sense brigade think that they're the practical ones, and that approaches like the one I'm advocating here are sentimental moonshine. They could hardly be more wrong. It's when we do this foolish, time-consuming, romantic, quixotic, childlike thing called play that we are most practical, most useful, and most firmly grounded in reality, because the world itself is the most unlikely of places, and it works in the oddest of ways, and we won't make any sense of it by doing what everybody else has done before us. It's when we fool about with the stuff the world is made of that we make the most valuable discoveries, we create the most lasting beauty, we discover the most profound truths. The youngest children can do it, and the greatest artists, the greatest scientists do it all the time. Everything else is proofreading.

(And God knows I've done my share of that!)

If teachers knew something about the joy of fooling about with words, their pupils would write with much greater fluency and effectiveness. Teachers and pupils alike would see that the only reason for writing is to produce something true and beautiful

Who knew that Chesterton and Pullman had so much in common?

True education flowers at the point when delight falls in love with responsibility. If you love something, you want to look after it.

Wow. Maybe I'm cut out for this line of work after all...

3 comments:

Anonymous said...

my lady of the fireflies,

i am so glad that i may share the joy of literature with you once again. ever since the wonderful christian poets class with dr.hall, i have treasured your thoughts on writing. you have such a beautiful way of expressing youself...and i've always admired that. i will certainly be reading your blog regularly.

simply, gwen

molrendiel said...

Mims, these are fantastic excerpts, and so true, whether what we want to do is fight for truth and beauty and [good] art, or fight to make better lawyers and better law. I always marvel at the fact that the teachers I most loved--and who most impacted me--were the ones who not only cared like crazy, but set immeasurably high standards, then challenged us to exceed them.

amcorrea said...

Hugs all around!

You guys are great.