I was reminded (by having to go into campus by 8:30AM yesterday to sign up for a slot to teach next semester) that I have to choose my course topic by Oct. 29th and my texts by Nov. 5. I had all sorts of ideas for the topic that I was batting back and forth (Shifting Perspectives, History and Literature, etc...) but I have decided to go with.... Bromance. That's my topic.( thinking out loud about my Bromance texts... )
But enough about my class for next semester.
On another note, I had a student come to my office hours earlier this week. She's an interesting student....she wants
to improve her writing, it is so very clear, but she doesn't understand that I can't wave my magic wand and just make
her better. She said at one point, "so we've done two papers now. Do you want to tell me what patterns of mistakes you've found in my writing?"
It's such a good impulse, right, to be thinking of patterns of mistakes. But, really. Come on. I spend HOURS writing those comments all over your papers. THAT'S where you'll find what I think about your essay. And I can't just give you a thing like, "you need to use a quote in the second sentence of every paragraph" or something. That's not how writing works. It's definitely not how TEACHING works.
I gave a speech (a lot like Frank Chimero's post about having ideas
) about how writing is hard but it pays off. She told me her parents would love me because I'm making writing ("and other stuff like that" I think meant "art in general") sound horrible. Did I? I thought I was describing the best part of art. Who would want to read a book that was churned out in an hour? We love The Mill on the Floss
(I mean, those that DO love it...Dammit, Jim! I'm a Victorianist!
) because George Eliot tore her soul in half to write it. Look at Keats's "This Living Hand"
and tell me that didn't wring out everything he had to write.
And then...somewhere in the second hour (this was at least a THREE HOUR CONVERSATION), after we'd talked about how she thought Lady Gaga was "a bad person" because she wears lingerie and the poor are selfish to demand that the rich help them in any way...the student brought up Ayn Rand.
This was both the high and low point. Because I could die happy tomorrow if I could convince ONE PERSON to leave the Ayn Rand school of thought. I am totally serious about that. ONE PERSON and a double-decker bus death tomorrow WOULD be a heavenly way to die.
OMG I am totally just blabbering on. HAVE A MUSIC VIDEO.