I am thinking now of the summer years ago when I taught expository writing to a group of 13-14 year olds, about twenty of them. We met every morning for three hours, much too long an interval for them. I broke up the time halfway through by playing a game of ping pong with each of them. Because I’m such a lousy player, this took only 20 minutes.
That day I had given them something very hard and brutal and self-absorbed to read, Joan Didion, I think, and asked them to write their thoughts about it.
One boy, the Korean boy who had taught me to write my name in Kanji, wrote a remarkable thing.