Asking God to Sign In

Pamela Hill NettletonEssaysLeave a Comment

AS SECOND GRADERS at St. Raphael’s Elementary School, we had to leave room on our chairs for guardian angels. Sister Emerita patrolled the aisles, prodding our 8-year-old bottoms with her yardstick, scootching us over another half inch. Apparently guardian angels had big tushes. While Sister paced the rows of desks, I peered into the air next to me, trying to see my angel. Was it a he or a she? Could it fit on the thin slice of wood I was offering it? Would its wings spill over onto Gordon Gulzinski’s desk behind me? I saw nothing. I reasoned this was because I was not yet worthy. Perhaps if I refrained from coveting Cecilia Bramwell’s excellent new knee-hi stockings, maybe … Read More

Write Better-er

Pamela Hill NettletonBlogLeave a Comment

I teach writing, so it saddens me to report this, but a teacher can make you only a better writer, not a great one. For that, an ineffable something is required—an instinct for language, a voracious appetite for crafting sentences that force previously content humans to break down and weep, and a love for the cadence and the weight and the heft of words. That ineffable something is provided by, oh, I don’t know—DNA from your grandmother, your parents having read Henry James to you in utero, your habit as a toddler of watching Jetsons reruns. Or something. Everyone should write. It’s a marvelous exercise in forcing yourself to think logically. It clarifies reason and enhances empathy. Go right ahead … Read More