The first actual day of WJI passed, and I have to say that I’m impressed. We WJIers were put through a crash-course about how World Magazine came to be, by none other than World Magazine’s founder, Joel Belz. He educated us on the magazine’s travails and successes, which made me realize how fortunate we were to be sitting there, listening to him.
Dr. Marvin Olasky and his wife, Susan, then proceeded to tear apart our writing assignments (obituaries) that were due before class began. In a good way!
I noticed especially that he liked to tear apart wordiness, passive voice, and exaggerations. He would probably tear this blog apart as well.
My heart was actually pounding in my chest when it neared my turn for my obituary on Chuck Yeager, the first human to break the sound barrier, to be critiqued. I had heard beforehand that Dr. Olasky was a Yeager enthusiast and that he would already know tons about the pilot.
Well, he did find a factual error in my obituary and also pointed out other minor (stylistic) errors in my writing and advised me on how to improve it. Honestly though, he was distractedly — and enthusiastically — going off on tangents about Yeager, which definitely changed what he could have said about my obituary. He ended up talking a lot about Yeager, and not necessarily about what I wrote, which meant two things: 1) That I was spared embarrassment in front of my classmates because he could have critiqued it more harshly, and 2) That I probably didn’t get as in-depth of an analysis as the other students did. That may mean that I actually learned a little less and therefore didn’t grow as much as the students whose work was thoroughly lashed.
I was still very surprised and grateful that the editor of World Magazine came down to hold that writing session with us. He had so much wisdom and writing expertise, and I was definitely glad that he helped me out.