To the Editor:
Re: “The Trick to Life Is to Keep Moving” Published on September 7th, 2019 by Devi Lockwood described a very good friendship she had with a much older woman named Cora Brookes. Devi and Cora had an age gap of 51 years with Devi being 20 and Cora being 71. They met when Devi recieved a research grant to study the archived works and Cora was one of those poets. In Lockwood’s letter, she did not highlight the importance of friendships during your high school and college years even though she was in college, saying while they might be important, they might not be the most fulfilling. She highlighted more of deeper topics, such as death and the meaning of life. In my opinion, the most valuable and long lasting friendships are formed in your younger years, while you yourself are still learning about life. While some people have a niche for these topics, it can be a lot for someone who is a younger because making friends in the same age group is much more relatable and overall the longest lasting friendships.
Being a freshman in college, I can understand how important friendships are and that it is hard to establish within the first week or two of being in a different environment. I relate to Lockwood in the sense that this was the person was her best friend and they were inseparable.We 20-somethings don’t consider ourselves “already in the afterlife” as Cora did, but we still form deep bonds that can last a lifetime by sharing our lives and dreams. I personally have a very close friend and we have been friends since before we can remember, when we were younger we would always hangout because we weren’t in school yet and didn’t have many other friends. Me and my best friend would not have as close of a bond without our shared memories and basically growing up together. I enjoyed Lockwood’s personal story about her plans to travel the world, because me and my best friend share the same dream. We grew up together and had very similar lives which made us closer and also when we made friends they were all the same age group. Lockwood never said the importance of having friends the same age of you or even having other friends at all.
Lockwood approach is much different the the traditional friendship. She also had similar interests to Cora which helped their friendship thrive. From personal experience, shared interests helps a tremendous amount in creating a bond, and having fun while hanging out and in this way, Devi and Coras friendship is just like my best friends and I. While I can’t say for myself that I have experienced an older friendship, I can say that making friends throughout high school and college is very necessary for a support system that can always be there for you.
You made considerable headway since your first draft, Roses, but there’s a lot more we could have done to clarify your claims and guide the reader through a sophisticated argument about the nature of friendship.
Can I receive feedback on clarifying my statements?
Roses, please fix your first sentence by splitting apart the “Reference” from the actual sentence. Start like this:
Re: “The Trick to Life Is to Keep Moving” Published on September 7th, 2019 by Devi Lockwood.
Then begin your paragraph.
Now, the first thing we need to do to clarify your statements is to be clear about why you wrote your Letter. The first paragraph as written spends a lot of words not quite telling us what you want us to know. So. As with the iceberg and polar bear examples, start with the dramatic subject, which is . . . ? Childhood friendships.
Devi Lockwood praises the depth and worthiness of an inter-generational friendship with poet Cora Brookes, 51 years her senior. But friendships just as worthy are available to youth as well, and they deepen as they mature through long lives of shared experience. In fact, the most valuable friendships are formed in our younger years, while we’re still learning about life from each other. We relate better to our own age group and form more equitable bonds.
Does that help you see how to make your position clear from the beginning, Roses? You can transition to the story of Lockwood and Brookes once your readers know exactly what you mean to say.
I’m glad you asked about sentences and phrasing, Roses. I have lots of advice for how to streamline and clarify your statements. I’m worried that you’ll stop wanting to revise once we improve your sentences, but let’s go ahead and take that risk.
S1. Re: “The Trick to Life Is to Keep Moving” Published on September 7th, 2019 by Devi Lockwood described a very good friendship she had with a much older woman.
—You establish that the friend was older but don’t name her.
S2. Devi and Cora had an age gap of 51 years.
—You name her and say how much older, but don’t offer either age.
S3. In Lockwood’s letter, she did not highlight the importance of friendships during your high school and college years, saying while they might be important, they might not be the most fulfilling.
—You hint that Devi might have been in high school or college, but don’t actually say so.
S4. She highlighted more of deeper topics, such as death and the meaning of life.
—You offer that Devi talks of deep topics, but not how that relates to her friendship.
S5. In my opinion, the most valuable and long lasting friendships are formed in your younger years, while you yourself are still learning about life.
—You offer your own opinion that friendships formed in youth are important, but don’t contrast that with Devi’s opinion.
S6. While some people have a niche for these topics, it can be a lot for someone who is a younger because making friends in the same age group is much more relatable and overall the longest lasting friendships.
—You return halfway to deep topics but suggest, sort of, that those topics are unavailable to youth and therefore not very important to friendship. I think.
The hardest part of writing clearly, Roses, is recognizing that your reader doesn’t START OUT knowing what you mean. As we read our own sentences, they seem clear because our minds provide the context behind the words. You have four things to communicate here:
1) Devi (in her 20s) made friends with Cora (in her 70s).
2) Devi and Cora shared an interest in deep topic conversations.
3) You value friendships made between 20-somethings.
4) Those friendships don’t have easy access to topics like mortality.
5) Youthful friendships are equally valuable and last longer.
What would happen if we streamlined the claims and stuck close to the main ideas?
In “The Trick to Life Is to Keep Moving,” September 7th, 2019, Devi Lockwood says her friendship with Cora Brooks, 51 years her senior, was her most fulfilling because of their deep conversations about mortality and the meaning of life. I don’t want to trivialize her relationship with Cora, but I don’t think she should trivialize the value of friendships made in youth between youths. We 20-somethings don’t consider ourselves “already in the afterlife” as Cora did, but we still form deep bonds that can last a lifetime by sharing our lives and dreams.
Does that seem like a fair representation of your point of view? If you read it alongside your draft, can you see how it crystallizes your own point and the difference between yours and Devi’s?
More importantly, is this the sort of help you want? Or did you just want grammar advice?
My opinion is that the best grammar follows more naturally once your ideas are super-clear.
Please respond so I know you value the feedback process, Rose, and let me know what you’d like me to do for you next.
Can I please receive feedback on my phrasing and sentences? Thanks Professor Hodges!
Anything special you’re looking for here, Roses? Your request will sift to the bottom of the Feedback Please inbox if you don’t specify.