Tag Archives: discussion

Is Ms. Plath afraid of

29 Jan


Maybe her own work?



Rejection? Acceptance? Maybe they’re the same thing?

English 100…

23 Aug

What kind of student are you?

English 1A….

23 Aug

How well do you know yourself, your character?

In being our own writing, we are ourselves. 

6 May

We’re honest with ourselves, acknowledging strengths and weakness, what we need to do to better our writings.  I’m learning right alongside you, believe me.  BUT, one thing I can say for us all, from experience, is that you have to want it.  Faulkner said that we shouldn’t be writers, we should just be writing.  So write, and do so freely.  Write whatever comes to your thoughts.  Polish later, and only if you want to (Of course, in the context of something you submit in class, you do need to edit and fine, of course, but with creative work, just explode INTO the page!).

I’m up early this morning, with coffee of course, and I collect with words, odd barely-awake utterances that I know I’ll forget if I don’t write them.  Try the same, let us know what happens!

See you all soon…  Mike

Assembly, Learn… What do these crazy characters WANT?!?!?!?!?

4 Jan

Characters reinvent themselves.. they want to be seen differently, do something new, write a new story, be a new sorting of themselves.  What this does, it self-educates the character, teaches them something new about their self and ‘Personhood’, and divides their attitude in, hopefully, a beneficial way..

In the coming semester, we’ll be looking at the characters and what they want to say, what they ARE saying, how they wish to be seen, and “Are they making any attempts to reinvent themselves?” And if not ‘reinvent’, then further understand their own character, Life.. and do they attain true Personhood?

Have you ever tried to reinvent yourself, or tell YOUR story a bit differently?

See you all in 16 days….

Loyally Yours,


Hemingway is one of

23 Nov

singularity, singular ideas and words, concepts and visions.  Singular characters, character studies.  This is not to support assertions of his writing as simplistic or rushed, but that his sentences convey applaudable levels of certainty.  Last week I mentioned ‘confidence’, and, yes, it speaks to that read as well.  He begins Chapter 5 by addressing the people, and if they’re avoided the day promises more, and more to him being a writer.  He refers to them as impediments and suppressors, then going on to say the atmosphere itself holds the relief and the inspiration, focusing on goats and watching their movements like one studying a group of people.  The goats fascinate Hem in a way people at that moment cannot.  And, he keeps repeating the word “goat” as if to suggest he wishes he could just roam the Paris streets like them, be observed and studied like them, distancing himself from people altogether.  Then, in Chapter 6 to further support Hem’s aversion to people on some occasions, “Racing never came between us, only people could do that…”.  He later says, “I was going to races alone more now…” What is Hemingway’s view of people, and do you agree that he sees them as a bit of a bother?  His view of Ms. Stein seems to have eroded and become a bit infected not so much by her arrogance or outspokenness, but by his perception of her and the occasional antagonizing of Stein.

But still, Hemingway continues with this memoir or laying-out of portraits with indefatigable indifference.  And although his perception of people may at times appear a bit harsh, or too directed, he does need them for the writing, and he can’t write without these people, the characters that revolve around him like Parisian pigeons.  Hemingway also continues to show affinity for time and the feel of the air, the temperature and what it does to his writing and attitude, to his “work”.  And it’s all work to Hemingway, all competition, and no wonder he lets things end with Stein as he does, and interacts with Walsh and Ezra as he does, with short answers and listening more than talking.  To Hemingway, it’s all a boxing match.

With his narrative style, his storytelling command, what else is he showing you?  Remember, this was written at a time in Hem’s life where everything was in decline and decay, from his physical and mental health to his relationships.  Was he trying to live as he did in Paris, one last time, with this manuscript?  Remember earlier when he wrote “The story was writing itself and I was having a hard time keeping up with it.” Is it just a story he’s talking about, or is it his life, THE story…  HIS story.  Maybe he just wanted one last, singular hurrah before his story ended, before the Feast stopped moving…..

For HW:  (due next Monday) Finish the book, write out your official conclusions as to what that whole memoir was about..  PLEASE post your reactions below for a possible 5 points, and feel free to respond to each other and engage each other, or me, in conversation on Hemingway’s singular intention with ‘Feast’.  Or, concerning anything in the book.

Happy Thanksgiving, and I’ll see you when you get back.



SRJC: 1A — “Plunge” (p. 102)

31 Aug

Week 3, and we get further into this book and Kerouac’s spiral.  Last week I propelled a lot of questions out in regards to why he does this to himself and why we as readers should care, why this book deserves a place in Literary history, or in the hands of modern readers.  So…..  Where are the gems for you all as readers?  Where is Kerouac teaching you something, having you maybe think about your own life and how you see things, moments and people, around you?

Kerouac knows what he’s doing, which raises the question of awareness in this novel and of and in his character; the alcohol, the old habits, and the ambitions of a former “Beatnik”.  He’s frustrated as a character, and as readers we can only sympathize, or even empathize with his character’s angst, but at the same time we may find ourselves becoming frustrated with him and his actions and words throughout this novel…  And the obsession with Cody, comparing him to a Greek God in one scene, and showing us there’s always something or someone or a collection of someone’s he’s following.  We could call him “sick”, Duluoz, and in many ways he is.  But the focus should be on recovery, or the possibility of recovery, getting better, standing up straight (as many times he mentions himself on the ground, ‘groaning’).

And more struggles with belief in something, “…I conceived of myself as a special solitary angel sent down as a messenger from Heaven to tell everybody or show everybody by example that their peeking society was actually the Satanic Society and they were all on the wrong track.” Interesting, this notion of the peekers, which puts in a moody perspective Mr. Kerouac’s/Duluoz’s paranoia, and lack of estimation in Humanity.

So, for today, we return to the notion of, 1, Personhood (wholeness of the individual; at peace), 2, Spirituality of Kerouac or lack thereof, and 3, the feel of the text.  How does the text itself feel and how does it make you feel as a reader?

So for today:

Let’s write

Let’s find evidence

Let’s talk about the text and about what Kerouac is showing us, and TELLING us (maybe telling us to do something with our own lives, regardless of time or era, or generation…)

Let’s discuss areas of focus going forward in the book, for example ‘his writing style’, ‘mood’, ‘imagery’, ‘general tone’, ‘the autobiographical dimension to this novel’, of you would call it a novel.  Then, UNIVERSALITY!  What makes any book immune to time and reader laziness…

10 min – writing

5 min – open mic

20 min – discussion

20 min – group

20 min – cooking of focus areas; questions

10 min – In class reading…

10 min – close, WAW’s…

HW: Read from 113 (ch 24) through 142 (ch 30)

-No typed reaction due; scribble intently in your Comp Books; make the topic your own, look further into his character; start forming your conclusions.