Page 8 - 2012 Spring Lycoming Mag

teach for a number of reasons. First, I’ve done what
sometimes feels like
everything
else: reported trials
in courtrooms in Hawaii, felled trees in Washington,
laid pipe in Texas. Teaching is better. Second, teach-
ing provides a steady paycheck and a gentle calendar.
Students shouldn’t forget that their professors teach what
they
do
,
not only what they know. Third—considering this
last distinction, professing instead of teaching—my career is a
calling, a statement of purpose in every day of its doing.
Art is taught by taking on an apprentice then guiding,
encouraging, cajoling, reprimanding, shaping, instructing. The
apprentice learns not only the craft, the technical skills, the kinds
and shapes of the obstacles, but also the
life
:
the early or late
hours, the time and place and silence or noise when art is
best achieved.
Then that artist puts the work in front of others for
judgment. The workshop shapes a community
learning that dishonest criticism—to say
something is good when it isn’t, or isn’t
when it is—is not only unhelpful, it’s
harmful. To be critical without
understanding the difficulties
is cruel. Art teaches—in
our case, through the
literature track and
the creative writing
workshops—what
our culture has
determined
is good and
demands young
artists set their
own yardstick
against the
Canon’s. So
this profession
shapes not
only art but the
artist. What
higher
calling
is there?
G.W. Hawkes
Professor of Creative Writing
I
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LYCOMING COLLEGE 2012 SPRING MAGAZINE