Wednesday, April 21, 2010
Jeffery Skinner's Push Hands is a great list of advice and techniques in that it is not a list of advice and techniques. As others have mentioned, there are lists and lists published by writers, even books completely dedicated to the idea that the author has the answers and components to good writing, good revising, and a successful career. However, I enjoy Skinner's Push Hands because of the influence from tai chi that he compares with revision in literature. Tai chi focuses on meditation and peace, and is a medium through which we can perceive the worlds events, both individually and collectively, outside of it's use in martial arts. A martial art based on calmness and the relaxation of mind and body in dealing with outside forces. In the case of Skinners essay, tai chi applies to the relaxation of mind and body in dealing with outside forces, those who ask the writer to revisit and revise the writing. This comparison is very effective, and is a great way to explain a technique that not only can help a writer succeed, but can help them fail too. Skinner's ability to understand that revision and writing come hand in hand, and can take you to the figurative and literal "mat" of revising and writing really give a writer the sense of calm they may need to gently push hands with their writing, their readers, their teachers, and themselves.