You must change your life ...

Each week I encourage my students at New College, Swindon, to read something new. It doesn't matter if you are writing a novel, a poem, or a play, wide reading can help you become a better writer.

This week I chose Anton Chekhov’s story, Oh! The PublicA bus conductor gives up his drinking to become more serious about his job. He is then confronted by a difficult customer ...

"HERE goes, I've done with drinking! Nothing. . . n-o-thing shall tempt me to it. It's time to take myself in hand; I must buck up and work. . . You're glad to get your salary, so you must do your work honestly, heartily, conscientiously, regardless of sleep and comfort. Chuck taking it easy. You've got into the way of taking a salary for nothing, my boy -- that's not the right thing . . . not the right thing at all. . . ."

In Archaic Torso of Apollo, Rainer Maria Rilke, through art and beauty, shows the fragmentation and completeness of human nature. He makes use of what’s missing in the piece of art to show us what is there. He experiences a transformation through this process: you must change your life.

I suggested they write a short story, flash fiction, poem, or play that features a change of life moment, or a discussion of change, transformation.




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