When someone teaches you to write wellpersonal essays, analytical essays on many
topics, including theme, plot, and character in literaturewhat he's fundamentallyteaching
you is tothinkwell, both critically and creatively.He was a challenging instructor. His
assignments challenged us intellectually, his editorial responses demanding revisions made
us hone our craft as writers and our minds as critical thinkers. He welcomed our literary criticism
arguments that challenged his own. Thus, he prepared us for the challenges of life, as the best
teachers do, and modeled the rules for a well-wrought argument and fair debate.
He strengthened us in ways we wouldn't recognize until years, sometimes decades, later,
whenever we'd challenge ourselves to higher achievement or surprise ourselves with our
strength in speaking truth to power. As he challenged us to write and to think clearly and
creatively, he "wrote upon us" as the best teachers and mentors do, revealing to ourselves the
best and highest use of our gifts. How many creatives, analysts, teachers, and advisors did he
inspire? For how many Western students did he, over the decades, model sharp intellect and
wit along with kindness, understanding, courage, and persistence? We know who we are.
Let&'s raise a toast to Michael Franco, and let's continue to make him proud.