Tag Archives: Education Blogger

What Course

26 Mar

img_2618Back from break, and we re-center where we’re centered.  In the classroom, exchanging ideas and thoughts and our perspectives on literature, craft, ideas themselves.  Today we start with ourselves… everyone in the classroom, around us.  Ask them a question, tell them something about yourself and ask them something about their story.  The way community is established in a classroom is to have understandings compile IN the classroom, yes, but FOR the room and all occupying it.

With only a few weeks left, we write.  We read, react.  What we’ve been doing till now, but with more fervor.  With more precision and more direction.  More of our Self into what we write, what we read, into this very room.  Don’t dismiss the idea of the Room, and what it holds, what you contribute to it, how the story stroll toward us and around us, right here.  Back from our time off, we begin defining our composition, our character, the composition and coherence about our characters.  This is actuated by speaking with each other in the perpetuation of ideas exchange, but as well through writing.  Writing for ourselves, seeking and accruing knowledge at our own order and volition.  Center yourself in your own thoughts, then share that with the person next to you, then the other side, then to your 12, 6.  Keep the idea expansiveness ever-expanded.

As a student, you’re a teacher.  You’re your best teacher, you’re an educator of educators in this room.  We only stop if we let ourselves.  Composition of character… right here in the room.  Yes, we’re here for some grade or to satisfy some departmental or institutional requirement, but more staunchly for our stories, our character growth and telling.  After a break, I so often hear students express annoyance with the break’s conclusion, that they have to be back on campus, back in class, back in the act, in their matriculated role.  One, you don’t have to do anything or be anywhere you don’t order.  And, 2, why not seek to end the term with unusually bizarre strength and zeal… why not test yourself?  Why not mold and assemble more ideas?  Returning from break, why not see what you see?  You’ll find new peace in this new approach, if it’s inaugural for you.

Fashion your ideas from fervor.  From an elevated and renewed momentum, coming back from Spring Break.  Even before we start the next and final book for the semester, let us just dive into our own postulations and creations, our own not-at-all idle ideations.  Outside, new weather and new sky, a new consideration of everything around us, outside and in this room.  Let’s propagate and multiply in our thoughts, in what we learn from each other, from the stories and intersections, new thoughts and thoughts you may have had just earlier today.  Exhibit bravado coupled with certain shyness, offer grace, curiosity, playfulness.  Today, we write.  Today we learn, and right now we are here, coming back from break.  And then….


Speak to all around you.


For ALL Spring ’15 Scholars–

20 May

React to the work you submitted for your final larger piece of writing.  I’m not asking what you could have done better, or what you wish you would have done different, but to the process.  What you learned about the topic you chose, what you learned about yourself as a writer, student.  React to the act of composing this paper.  And going forward in your academic and/or professional careers, how do you think your new writing habits and visions, whatever they are, will materialize down the road?  Again, just react to the act of composition of this final paper.  What you learned, what you found, how you the author and student changed.  If you were truly passionate about your writing, the composition itself, both process and product, took on some life of its own and interacted with you.  What was in that interaction?

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

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.


Final Prompt for Fall…..

14 Dec

Bonjour, tout le monde!  I thought as one last artful activity, or “credit opportunity”, we’d return to creative writing, telling a story.. but, ah!  You don’t have 4-5 pages of expository luxury to expel your narrative.  With this invitation, you only have 300 words, not a drop more!  Tell a story, show a story, but get to the point, and focus on singularity, not too many things, or people, like Hemingway with the dark-haired beauty, or Kerouac with Alf, or Wolff with the Bullet, Ms. Plath in her bath with everyone dissolving…

Be mindful with your words and how many you use…  REMEMBER, don’t go past 300!  This is very much an exercise in Flash Fiction, or micro-fiction some would say.

Have fun, enjoy your writing!  And, keep writing!  Even and especially after this final prompt.  If you don’t write, no story’s told.

Merci, and I’ll see you all around campus.

Loyally.  Yours.  Always,


SRJC 1A, a note to…..

18 Aug

So day one’s done, logged,IMG_7979-0 what be.  What are you thinking?  Tell us more about yourself, if you wish.  What do you want from this term and our discussions, and more importantly what do you demand of yourself?  What are you going to force yourself to do?  The semester’s story just began to be written, so now we accelerate into the pages of our term, and meet writers that have so much to share with us in the matter of Life, triumphs and falls, struggles and strengths, pains and recoveries, and some conditions that simply have no panacea yet the author felt the need to deliver the reality by way of page.

Enjoy your evenings, tomorrows, and I’ll see you on campus come Wednesday.

Bonne Nuit,