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Manning, Matthew - The Link - 21 Getting 'outside help' for school work



Type of spiritual experience

A description of the experience

The Link – Matthew Manning

We had been set an English test-essay on Wordsworth's. poetry, and I had done no revision-for it. When I saw the title of the essay I was completely at a loss for anything to write. It was rather cheering to see that the person sitting next to me knew nothing either.

I began writing an introductory paragraph in my normal hand-writing and having waffled for several lines, could think of no more.

It was then that I was struck by the idea of asking an outside source for help, and Keats was the first person to come to mind. I did know that he had had a good knowledge of Wordsworth's poetry as  e had written a work on that subject.

And so underneath what I had already written myself, I asked Keats for some help, reading the title several times over in my mind.

I was surprised when eight lines of writing appeared in a hand-writing that was totally different-to my own. What was written was intelligent and relevant to the title, and gave me enough ideas to continue for a couple of paragraphs under my own steam. After that I had again to call on the helpful Mr. Keats for some more ideas.

He obliged and wrote another paragraph, after which I wrote some more myself.

At this point my next-door neighbour happened to glance over at me and saw what was written on my paper. He immediately realised what I was doing and shouted loudly about inequality and unfairness. I just grinned at him and continued writing. When I ran out of material again, Keats wrote further notes for me on a .separate scrap of paper reminding me of things that I would have forgotten otherwise.

After the lesson I was questioned by my curious and baffled friends, who wanted to know what I had done and written. I had no option but to admit that the essay was not all my own work!

When the essay had been marked it was handed back to me.

Although the master who had marked it said nothing about the two different handwritings, I noted that all the "ticks" had been placed in the margin next to what Keats had written.

That was the only time when I did use outside help for my school work, but it was an interesting and "rewarding" experiment.

The source of the experience

Manning, Matthew

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