Archive | February, 2016

Surviving (English 5)

29 Feb

Lots of heavy questions to ask…  I mean, “Who is she?” and “What does she want?” Not questions we can just answer, even after tonight’s reading assignment.  But, we can get a pretty strong sense, or even a slight sense of this author in front of us.  Like I said today, she’s immeasurably powerful but still so vulnerable.  And how she brought herself to the point of composing such mythic and sensual poetry, I’ll never know.  What I do know, is that there persists that level of intimacy I addressed in her work, that I’ve mentioned before.  And by intimacy, I’m referring to a successful connection to her readers, and an eagerness/direness from her, that she needs to share what she’s sharing.

No wonder she took on the form of poetry, arguably the most intimate and personal of literary modes.  This is much of the reason I love her work and even more adore her as an author, talking about what she’s committed to page.  It is hard to get through sometimes, I know, but that is just what engages her readers and elevates her to an author so worthy of study and discussion.  How many of us can relate to just having to get something ‘off the chest’?  Or, feeling like you don’t know what you should do in life, being faced with some decision whether crucial or somewhat commonplace.  Plath is there for us, and she’s letting us as modern readers know that she gets it, she knows what we’re going through.

In one of Plath’s journal entries she cites, to herself, being crucified by her limitations, and how blind choices can’t ever be changed.  This is a dire tone, a sense of urgency which is motivating but crippling at the same time.  Who is she?  Perhaps someone so self-aware that she herself acts as her own anchor, her own ‘chilled seas chained to her ankle’ (“The Everlasting Monday”).  Half-empty AND half-full.  An oxymoron trot across the page…

And now that I think about it, maybe the questions aren’t so “heavy”.  They’re simple, and regular, just with considerable depth.  Remember, she was a teacher as well as a penner, poetess, authoress.  Her complexity is universal yet staggering.  A reader can’t help but read on, on, till they find something, even if it’s a word they’ve never seen before—  She’ll make you sprint to the dictionary to find its gravity and application.

One of my questions from the end of today’s meeting, on your relationship with her…  What is it?  What could it be if you don’t already have one—  Maybe you’re not aware you have one!  (Something to think about…)  She’s in the room, as I said.  We’re reading her.  People will continue to read her and follow her, see her as a literary celeb’.  She’s more that a simple “Mick Jagger” of literature.  No… no…..  She’s a stratospherically musical priestess; a goddess of verse and expression.  Elevated far past what’s patterned and regular in what’s from today’s pages.


English 5 – 2/17/16

17 Feb

Title of Session and Day’s Word:  celerity = swiftness; speed.

“What cannot be said above all must not be silenced but written.” -Jacques Derrida

WAW:  Listen to you SELF.  More than anyone, YOU are your strongest teacher.

Title – 5 points

Introductory Paragraph/Thesis – 5 points

First Body Paragraph, starting the “argument” – 5 points

Supporting Paragraphs – 5 points

General usage of sources – 5 points

Mechanics – 5 points

Voice – 5 points

Word Choice – 5 points

Paragraph before conclusion – 5 points

Conclusion – 5 points

*** Consider the essay as a whole, and not just what’s quantifiable, but the feel of the writing…  Did the author convey authority, a passion for the direction they chose.  Did you learn something?  Does it seem as though they learned something with their unique consideration of Hunter’s book?

Every workshop should be helpful, useful for the strengthening of a draft.  And, more than anything, professional and safe.   So, comment honestly.  Compliments do help, but so does specific and truthful criticism.

Today – 0730 to 0820: readings, presentations, comments, rubric

0820 to 0840: Plath, Open Mic, Poetry

0840 to 0850: WAW’s, HW (Plath poems & reactions), Creative Writing

A word that defines you…

17 Feb

Again, a singular word, or consistency, that speaks for and to your presence in this collective story…



Writing Prompt–

15 Feb

Write what you did ten minutes ago (50 words)…

Then write what you did five minutes ago (50 words)…

Write what you’ll do in eight hours (100 words)…

Then, what you do in five years (100 words)

What does this do to your understanding of time, your Self, life, your writing?  What do you see in what you wrote?



14 Feb

who needs order when disorder is so much more attractive?


12 Feb

…me, here at this table, with people around me doing whatever they’re doing and saying whatever they’re saying (can’t hear as Hutcherson plays loudly in my ears like I’m his only audience).  The Moms leave, and I nearly want to bring them back, so I can just imagine what they’re saying, give that baby more dialogue, write him into an argument with his mother, and her friends, turn him into a master rhetorician, silencing the grownups in their belittling oppression, suppression.

I’m forcing myself to continue to push these keys as that’s what I advocate to them, the students, the ones whom I often regard as more serious writers than this typist, this over-caffeinated diarist with his dire attitude.  “I’m not leaving this chair till I have something to submit,” I tell myself.  But what’s my argument, my directive and colorful intention with this sitting.  Not sure.  Maybe the sitting itself, the man over there with his coffee and newspaper and how he just sipped and how he saw me see him sip it.  He closes the paper and leaves.  Damnit, I’m a danger to all around me, a writer.. he switches to the table where the mothers were sitting.  Why.  Did he want it this whole time?  Does he think I can’t see him and write about him now?  Clever bastard, he has his back boasting at me, disabling my observation of his sips and page turns.  Selfish chimp!

At my time I look, 35 minutes, few seconds more to my Self, this small circular table in the corner, just where I can see the baristas shaking these large square plastic containers with no tops.  Is that espresso?  Then they go to the drink-maker machine which appears though you need a fighter jet license to operate.. loud foamy steaming croaky sound—


12 Feb

Writing is about building–

Building the story, the credibility, the structure of your intention…  You’re building a reality, an idea, a sensibility from which the reader learns, hopefully.

Build something.

Don’t stop hammering away…..



10 Feb

Post whatever you wrote below… see you all tonight!  -Mike

Piles […] 

9 Feb

6:11 up this morning, and I feel like I need to keep moving, prep our discussion and grade the reactions, the day can’t start earlier enough but I just need some more sleep.  Hindering impasse.  But it’s Life, and always comes back to Time.  The coffee’s not much helping at the moment but I give it time, have to wait.  See?  Always back to time.  As students, we’re also students of ourselves, how we act and react in Time’s pulse.  What do you do with it?  What have you learned, taught your Self?  What perceptive diamonds have you unearthed?


8 Feb

The day goes by quicker than you need it to, often.  Do you ever find this?  So what do to?  You can’t fight it, necessarily, right?  Huh…  Was talking about quirks this morning with you all, maybe this is mine, an obsession with time.  What if we just ignored it.  Not even acknowledge the clock.  OR, if we do acknowledge it, strip it of its significance.  Now, in 1663, my “office”, and the time is 10:18.  So what.  Why should I give it, those numbers, that ‘time’ thing, any power?

Yep…  this is definitely my quirk.  But that’s what gives us character, these things called “quirks”.  They’re not peculiar, at all.  If anything, as writers, they’re promising.. fruitful; ameliorative, aggrandizing; EMPOWERING.  (And yes, I just used semicolons.  SO?)