I have to say: I have had little variety in the center this semester as far as consultations go. It seems like the consultations I love—those that end up being more like fiction or personal essay workshops—have dissolved into the mist like Jane Goodall’s silverbacks. I realize to yearn for the comfort of a consultation like that is rather selfish; but, then again, they are so, so fun. To talk with a writer who cares truly for the craft enough to want to come talk to another craft-caring individual remains one of my ultimate joys.
But, as I said, these are a relative pipedream. The semester has yielded none, count-‘em, zero, goose egg worth of crafty consultations. And yet they all seem consistent, at least as per theme: Grammar. I know many consultants will cringe as they read the “g” word, but then again I cringe when I read the WHT word (William Howard Taft).
So, yes. I’d say 98 percent of the tutoring sessions I’ve dealt with so far this semester have been grammar-io-centric, consistent with nothing but gerunds and anaphors and run-ons and comma splices and verb/tense agreements and virgules and definitives and pronouns and all the rest of it. It’s enough to make, I’m sure, a large number of you cry; and, at first, it was for me, too. So I’m going to make a confession: I don’t care. Sorry—I don’t. I’m aware of the entire discourse surrounding writing center politics (high- to low-order concerns) but I don’t care. I actually ENJOY talking about grammar. And I think most of the writers who request that we discuss that topic do, too.
So I began thinking about it. If this is what a student is concerned with—particularly ESL or developmentally disabled students—why not cover only this matter? Who am I to tell a student that the content or flow or organization of his/her paper is inaccurate, particularly if they think otherwise? At what point am I required to force an idea onto a student as far as content goes? The answers, respectively, are true, no one, and never. So bring it on, grammarily declined. I will always be waiting.