Tuesday, January 1, 2019

The Origin Story


A Rough Time

When I was a kid, I had a rough time with grammar.

It was so rough, in fact, that you might actually say that I didn't like learning grammar. And if you really pressed me on it; if you really wanted to know how I felt at the time, then I probably would have said something like this:
"I hate grammar."

Of course, there was more to it than that. After all, I was just a kid.

I didn't really hate grammar. The truth is, like any of my other classmates, I just wanted to be able to write good sentences. (I really did!) I was just feeling frustrated and confused by grammar because I was struggling with it. And when you're a kid and you get frustrated and confused by something, it's not long before you start saying that you hate it.

So, how do I fix this?

How do I help this kid who is struggling with grammar?

How do I help this young kid who is me, the one who is smart, the one who is curious, the one who secretly loves words (especially fantastic and unusual words, like uncanny, fortitude, and vertigo)?

How do I help that kid who will some day grow up to be a writer, even though the very idea of it seems like a completely impossible dream?


Fate

One fateful day, I told the tale of my childhood struggles with grammar to a good friend of mine.

You'll never believe what he told me. He said that he had the very same frustrating experience with grammar when he was a kid. Our stories were practically identical in every way. It was uncanny.

We felt compelled to continue our conversation, and the more we talked about it, the more we began to realize that maybe by working together—just maybe—we could actually do something to help. But what?

We had to come up with a plan, so that's what we did.

The Plan
 Our plan was simple:
  1. Create our own grammar book.
  2. Travel back in time and give ourselves this grammar book. 
It was a brilliant plan!

We decided that we should move forward with it right away, so that's what we did.

The Prime Directive

The first part of our plan was to create our own grammar book. But before starting any work, we agreed that we should follow one very major, super-ultimate, mega-supreme guiding principle:
Make the grammar book
we wish we had when we were kids.

After all, this grammar book was not in actuality for us; it was for our younger selves. It only made sense that we should make it with them in mind—so that's what we did.

And now, with our prime directive firmly in place to guide us, we were finally ready to start.

It was a good feeling, and it gave us hope that, maybe with a little luck, it wouldn't be long before our grammar book started to take shape.


Luck

As luck would have it, my friend and I both loved comic books and superheroes.

We knew everything about our favorite superheroes. In fact, we had memorized every detail about them: their true names, code-names, secret identities, superpowers, strengths, weaknesses, hide-outs, home worlds, their allies, their enemies, arch-enemies, minor rivals, and (of course) their origin stories.

Pretty much everything that revolved around superheroes and supervillains was interesting and inspiring to us.

We loved their dynamic costumes and their various personalities. Their mysterious and amazing superpowers completely captivated our imaginations, especially the odd-ball superpowers, like having the ability to smack someone with the force of
a ton of bricks.

And then... BLAM! The idea hit me like a ton of bricks—what if we made a grammar book that teaches grammar with superheroes and supervillains? 

It was a brilliant plan!

Without hesitation, my friend and I unanimously agreed that we should use a superhero-themed format for our grammar book, so that's what we did.

Perfect

We almost couldn't believe how well it was working.

The elements of grammar became superheroes. The grammar mistakes became the supervillains. And with these two forces in place, we were able to set the stage for the classic superhero struggle—the never-ending battle between right and wrong!

And it didn't stop there.

The artwork, the graphics and the colors were all comic-book inspired. Every explanation and example-sentence we used was related to superheroes or superpowers. Everything for our grammar book revolved around the superhero genre—everything.

It was perfect.

We had to wonder, was making this grammar book our superpower?

Whatever it was, all we truly knew was that we had to keep going until we finished, so that's what we did.


The Inevitable

My friend and I put in the time. We did the work that was needed of us. We never gave up. And then it finally happened; the inevitable day came when we had finished our grammar book.

There was only one thing left to do for it. It needed a name.

But what should we call our grammar book, the one that teaches grammar with superheroes and supervillains?

My friend casually suggested that we simply call it Super Grammar.

It was brilliant!

Super Grammar was the perfect name to give to our grammar book, so that's what we did.

And just like that, we were ready for the second part of our plan: travel back in time and give Super Grammar to our younger selves.

Time Travel

(This cannot be overstated: time travel is messy business, and it should be avoided at all costs.)

I wish I could explain all of the alternate timelines involved and the temporal paradox we created, and how we had to repair the very fabric of space and time so that everything in the universe didn't implode; but honestly, I'm not exactly sure that I understand it all myself.

So instead of trying to explain it, I'll just skip right to the good news—our plan worked!

We delivered Super Grammar to our younger selves, and you know what... it was the grammar book we always wished we had.

We had done it. We had helped those two kids to have an easier time with grammar. And in the end, that's what made it all worthwhile.

 A Ton of Bricks

And then... BLAM!  It hit us like a ton of bricks!

Maybe our work wasn't finished.

Maybe—just maybe—we can use Super Grammar to help other kids who might be struggling with grammar right now. Maybe we can expand Super Grammar by adding a workbook. And maybe after that, we can keep building upon Super Grammar and make it accessible to the world.

It was a brilliant plan, so that's what we did.

Not Quite The End

And even though the Super Grammar story hasn't really ended yet, my friend and I (A.K.A. The Super Grammar Team) thought that this was a very good beginning.

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