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16th of October 2018

Men



Boyhood Loathing Turns to Professional Passion - The Good Men Project

My childhood loathing of grammar became my professional passion.

I hated English class in primary school. I didn’t like English class in secondary school either, but I grew to love the language. In my teens I self-studied the creative use of English. Later, as an English teacher, I developed a love for the mechanics of English.

When I was 5 years old, I decided to write my own book. I had read many books about dinosaurs. I had a favorite sentence or paragraph from each book. I copied my favorite parts into a notebook. “My Dinosaur Book,” was the title. Now, I call the way I wrote that book plagiarism, in other words stealing. Regardless, my young copying was just a beginning step. No crime was committed.

The definition of what being a writer meant to me was developing when I was 16. By that time, I rarely attended my English classes. Despite that, I started to publish my poetry in small magazines. Sometimes, I made my own magazines. Other times, I gave my writing to friends who made their own magazines. These activities lead to my interest in studying English at university.

University changed everything about my feelings for English.

My teachers quickly showed me the mistakes I was making. The mistakes were big and caused confusion. My study of English had to return to primary grammar. The grammar I hated as a child. As one teacher noted on an essay, “You need to know the rules first before you know how to break them properly.”

After a few semesters, my grammar problem was solved. Then, a couple of years later, I became a published writer. English still wasn’t my profession though. I didn’t get paid for my writing. English didn’t become my profession until I was 34 years old. That was when I went to China for the first time. There, I began work as an English teacher. During the ten years I taught English, my students showed me a love for grammar.

In my life, English class started as something I loathed. I struggled with English class until I the passion found me. Then, I taught the same grammar I had hated as a child. Somewhere along the way I ended an editor and English is still my job.

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Photo Credit: Getty Images 

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