A Question, sir…

Advice on Journal Writing 

(LETTER FROM A FORMER STUDENT THIS WEEK:) 

Dear Sir,  

 I hope this correspondence finds you and your family well during these unprecedented times! 

 I very much enjoyed our chat at commemoration day last year and the chance to catch up. At the risk of sounding soppy between two men, I very much valued your teaching during my time in your English classes at school. Most of all your life teaching and passion for literature not necessarily associated to the curriculum. Two things which have always stuck with me. I shall always be mortified at the position I put you in during our weekly read of ‘Journey’s End’ when I had forgotten my book, when only the lesson before you mentioned that if anyone did it again they would receive a detention. As this was my first time, at the risk of your loosing face, you rather graciously let it slide. I doubt that this episode keeps you up at night as much as me, if at all! 

 I realise that the life of a teacher involves many passing faces and that you will most likely not remember me. In the hopes of at least slightly jogging your memory so that this e-mail doesn’t seem as random as I am sure it will, I am in the unfortunate category of being like yourself a ———- City fan. 

 There are two reasons for my e-mail as I would very much like your advice.  

 Firstly, as a man who I gather has read many books, how do you retain the information you read? I am only on my second book this year after having to read and re-read both in order to learn all the words I don’t understand and research all the events I know nothing about. I feel I am taking it too seriously. The trouble is I want to know and understand everything, and feel I am missing out on the experience of enjoyment that I always gathered you got when reading. 

 Secondly, I also remember you explaining how you kept diaries and how you felt this was a good and important thing to do. I have been reading many autobiographies of giants of old and coming across lots of excerpts from their own diaries which allow them to recant many good tails. On the small chance that I too may one day become someone others find interesting enough to read about, I have just started to write a journal and I shan’t lie it feels a little bit awkward. How is it done? Or rather, if this is like reaching success where there is no one path, perhaps you could enlighten me as to how you do it? 

 In short, thank you for your teaching during my ———- years. I would welcome your help once more! 

 Kind regards, 

———– 

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