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& so last fall, I was teaching an afterschool critical reading class to a group of middle school boys. During my lesson on persuasive writing, I built up this incredible lecture mojo that culminated in me dropping this diamond on them, “A great persuasive writer is a true hustler. He can sell ice in winter, fire in hell, and water to a well.”

One of my boys really took the lesson to heart. After delivering a persuasive speech a few weeks later, he said, “Mr. Carpenter, I just sold you fire in hell.”

“That you did,” I said.

Thanks, Mr. Carter.

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