Sunday, February 5, 2023

Writing words of wisdom from a true master...for the rest of us

I've probably mentioned this a few times in the life of the blog, but Rod Serling taught writing to college students at Antioch College (his alma mater) and Ithaca College both during and after The Twilight Zone and Night Gallery. I've always thought that being fortunate enough to be one of his students would be a good news/bad news situation. The good news is that your writing instructor is Rod Serling. The bad news is that your writing instructor is Rod Serling. I'd feel like the world's biggest hack submitting a story to him. Oh, but can you imagine if he liked it? I'm not much for idol worship, but one small word of praise from him - can you imagine how exhilarating that would be? I would save that note forever.

By all accounts Serling loved teaching and was damn good at it. The reason I bring all this up is because this popped up on my Facebook feed this morning:

As much as I'm sure she appreciated the sentiment, I've have to respectfully disagree with the master here. Most writers have to learn how to write. Very few are born with it. In fact, Ernest Hemingway himself said, "It's none of their business that you have to learn to write. Let them think you were born that way."
But i also believe that every now and then there is someone who was born that way, just artistically gifted, and despite his education and how much work he put into his craft - he spent years writing for radio before achieving massive success in television - I really do think that Serling was one of the brilliant few who were born that way. Between his talent and drive I can't imagine a scenario where he isn't successful. So respectfully I think that in this case, as much as I admire humility, that the man doth protest too much.

But what a great experience for that student and great advice for the rest of us.

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