Avoiding the Apostrophe-T
During undergrad I had the good fortune of being hired each summer to teach at a theatre camp for aspiring performers. Many of my students were in middle or high school and came to the camp hoping to get the education they needed to launch their acting careers.
One of the things I had to deal with a lot was addressing the insecurities these students had. They were are always worried that their monologue wasn’t good enough or that their character wasn’t specific enough. Some were worried about their dancing ability or singing ability.
To combat all of this I had to come up with something that would help them get over these problems, so I did the following:
I asked them to write the words “I Can’t _____” and fill in the blank.
Many of them looked at me quizzically as they carefully filled in the blank. I’m sure they were curious as to why I labeled their pieces of paper “Self-Affirmation Tool Kit” when I was telling them to write down what they couldn’t do. When the grumbling subsided, I asked them to draw a dotted line between the n and the apostrophe. I then asked them to fold the paper over, thus turning “I can’t” into “I can.” I asked them if they were going to allow something as insignificant as a piece of punctuation and one letter keep them from doing what they want to do.
For the remainder of the camp, whenever someone was about to say they couldn’t do something we’d stop and ask if there actually was no way they could do it or if it was just an apostrophe-T.
To this day, I still see people adding apostrophe-T’s to projects they work on. I have done it myself a number of times.
When you assume the answer to something you are accepting an apostrophe-T.
So today, I challenge you to look at something you feel can’t be done and hack that word “can’t.” You may be surprised as what happens when you avoid the apostrophe-T.