May 28, 2019

Point the Way, not the Finger - Bruce Atchison

The title of this post is also a song title from a Christian contemporary music band. If my memory serves me correctly, their name was Brotherlove. I didn't like the song's style but the memory of that wise saying stayed in my head.

How true it is that pointing the way is better than criticizing, particularly when it's a subjective evaluation. Just as I criticized that CCM band's style, subjective criticism is inappropriate when judging the validity of one's work.

Telling stories, especially funny ones, was an activity I loved from my youth. But my poor sight and even poorer typing skill prevented me from preserving them. Teachers got on my case as well when I handed in hand-written essays. One lady in particular berated me for the dog-eared pages and numerous spelling mistakes. Additionally, nobody gave me a large print dictionary and taught me how to use it.

Not until computers and screen readers were available did I have a better way to express myself. I could hear the words I typed and WordPerfect 5.1 showed me how to spell the words correctly. And the dot matrix printer meant that I could print off my work in an acceptable fashion.

Being connected to the Internet also helped me greatly, particularly with research. Visiting libraries and straining to see the print on index cards was an irksome chore for me. Now I can search the libraries of the world with unforeseen ease.

Better still, the Bible is easily accessible to me. Instead of painfully copying verses into my articles, I can copy and paste texts from online Bibles or use two offline Bible programs. The and sites are especially helpful for researching passages.

How wonderful it is that I can write books and articles without suffering back pain and eye strain. Now nobody complains about scratch-outs and dog-eared pages. My work sometimes is greeted with criticism but at least it's on the writing rather than the condition of my submission.


  1. Thank you for your commitment to excellence despite the challenges! You are an inspiration to all.

  2. I admire and appreciate your stick-to-it-iveness, Bruce. I was thinking what a shame that was that no teacher or mentor, if you had one, pointed you to the large print dictionary. Then I got curious and discovered that large print books were first published in English in Leicester, England by Frederick Thorpe in 1964. (Don’t know when they came to Canada.)

    I didn’t find out when large print dictionaries were first published. I’m not saying that you were going to school in 1964, but I am saying that maybe you teachers were unaware of large print books and particularly large print dictionaries. Still as a retired teacher, I believe it is incumbent on us to find out what is available for our students--no matter what their needs might be. I also happen to know that is a tall order.

    Congratulations, Bruce, for figuring out what technology is available and works best for you and also for continuing to write in spite of your restrictions. You would make a good mentor for other writers who are visually challenged.

  3. You have a positive attitude, Bruce. That shines through so clearly in your writing. I would love to know what you get criticized for. Write on!


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