Tag Archives: Critical Reading

a jot

24 May

The material you say you need

17 May

is right in front of you.


Don’t over-analyze.



Play YOUR game.


27 Mar


Be creatively adept.

If you doubt yourself,

27 Dec

analyze the doubt.

Trust the Self.

All days you should say—

14 Dec

I love how the cosmos are composed and contorted for my forward.

Usually don’t blend my own freewrite with a

24 Aug

lesson or “lecture” plan, but today I will.  Doing things different, right?  One thing I remember in being a student, and still appreciate as I still consider this aging self a student, is that my words are mine.  They weren’t prompted or instrumented by anyone or anything outside ME.  They’re a sense of identity we should find as readers and writers that can’t be found elsewhere.  It’s empowering, yes, but as well educational in so many dimensions.

For the authors we’re about to dive into, look for their identities, look for their voices and what they want from life, from their readers.  Better, ‘What do they want their readers to do?’  They must have some desired reaction in their works.  That’s an ingredient in their identity.  For ‘100’, our first author is Sylvia Plath, for 1A we’ll meet Mr. David Sedaris.  Both have distinct personalities and attitudes, and what they want us to do helps us better understand their motivation for writing altogether.

So then, why do WE write?  I know, “‘Cause we have to, Mike.. GOD!” Okay, but iff you were to write a story, fiction or non’, what would you write and why would you write it?  What would you want your readers to see and understand about you?  What do you want them to do?  It’s a weird question to ask, and an even harder one to answer.  So think about it.  And, think intently before taking a position on an author’s motivation for writing what they did, or even what you think the point to the piece is.

If we write from experience, what’s happening with us, then we want to share our reality.  It’s not so much “confessional” as it is intimate, and an eagerness to share, have others see us, learn from us, or at least judge us to some degree.  Why would we want to be judged?  Why do we, they (Plath, Sedaris, and all the others) put ourselves in a spot to be judged?  What does that do to our identity?

(for class tonight, 7/25/16) 

25 Jul

Stress.  What do you do about stress when it confronts you?  “Are we going to talk about img_5294Jeannette Walls tonight?” Yes, don’t worry.  But for a minute, let’s talk about something that either already presents itself every-so-often in our lives or for some of us quite frequently.  STRESS— ugh, I just hate the word, I’ll be honest.  How do you confront and combat stress when it lands?  Sometimes I think stress is only in our heads and then other times I see it as quite understandable that some realities like money, work, bills, family, the car, the rent, the mortgage, would stress us.  So how do we deal with it?  How do we defeat it?  And…  I have to ask…  IS IT JUST IN OUR HEADS?

Okay…  So, Walls.  That Glass Castle.  Are we any closer to the Castle, or are we still so far from it that it’s still just an idea rather than anything truly plausible?  Where do we see stress in the book, especially in last night’s assignment?  How do some of the characters, Dad especially, deal with stress, or real life and responsibilities?  The conditions facing the Walls family should be overwhelming with their stressful capacities, but as a reader I don’t see any effort to right a situation which would beget stress.  If you were in the position of the Walls’, a member of their family, how would “cope”?

Happiness, or what makes someone happy…  Is there a recipe?  What makes you happy?  If someone is in a funk or a tad ‘down in the dumps’, what’s the first thing you’d recommend they try to right themselves, life their spirits and mood?  Many times when I ask students what makes them happy, the address money, or financial security, a better job… often dealing with money, these responses.  And I mean often.  What is the recipe for happiness?  I know, “There is no recipe.” Okay, so what do you recommend? How do we make ourselves happy?  How do we truly live and not just exist?  Notice I come to you with questions for yourselves and to ask each other, discuss with each other including myself.  This prompt is meant for a positive Exchange of Ideas, meant to help each other and instruct the people around with you yay-saying vibes.  Enjoy…

“You don’t have to see the whole staircase, just take the first step.” -Dr. Martin Luther King, Jr.