Tag Archives: maddenedread

from an inward jot

6 Apr

…listening to my jazz as I did on the long drive home yesterday, toward the end when it started to rain, and now outside this bean hut it pours with a thesis.  To motivate me, to motivate us.  To push us to get to where we see ourselves.  Meant to wake early this morning as I did on Tuesday, of course I didn’t.  So I write with every chance and momentary invitation I get.

Only let yourself see not just possibility for certain realities, but the reality you want yours.  Right now.  Stare out a window and see it.  Stop imagining.  Stop dreaming.  Dreams are a step.  I say, skip that step.  Just forward, move with venom, and gratitude, loudness and shyness.  Take time to collect, jot inwardly and confirm your vision.  If you do dream, keep the dreaming brief.  Move… and move quicker.  Consolidate where you can, and mold your manuscript from minimalistic revolutions.  Trying not to pay attention to the time, but I can only see the clock and how it erodes.  And I further collect and assemble, See from where I am.  Eating a bagel, sipping my usual 4-shot mocha, which I shouldn’t have ordered as I’m trying to save a little currency.  But I needed something.  Something for me.  We all need to do that, be a little careless with what’s in our wallet and treat ourselves to something, and in the case of creative, if you need multiple espresso shots to get you across the word-count-line…

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?

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, 2/8/16

8 Feb

I quite literally rushed to my “office” to write you all.  Thinking more of Hunter S. Thompson and the political climate and consistencies today, and how polarizing and as I said ‘vitriolic’ they are, perhaps a more grand and encompassing writing could be composed for this first longer submission.  Please note:  I’m not trying to gear your expression or argument one way or another, just sharing my observations and analytic entertainments as they materialize.  So what am I cooking exactly with this idea?  Something to the tune of Hunter’s estimations of mankind, of how we behave, how he behaves.  And….. Is there a REMEDY for this behavior?  Enjoy your storming brains and the ink that precipitates to page.  This topic is yours.  This novel is yours, ours, and all ideas should be shared.  And with the notion of a “thesis”, forget all clinical instruction of the past.  The thesis is the promise you make to the reader.  The idea, your idea, that you take the reader through (not so much “prove”, even though you do hope to “prove” it, a bit.. I’m just saying this shouldn’t be the entire purpose of your writing).

His chaos is certainly enviable.  And beautiful (topic?).  His entire embrace of his Craft, and how he just does, he doesn’t deliberate excessively.  If at all.  As students, we should learn from his to trust ourselves, and know what we’re doing with our lives, Art, careers or whatever is right.  Is TRUE.  How is that not desirable?

You have to be truthful with yourself before you can ever hope to find a true Truth.

Hemingway has a way of

18 Nov

intriguing and frustrating us with his language.  I suppose the frustration would come from the exhausting sentences and their proximity to the more curt march-like clauses, then we have the intrigue of him, and where this story is going, and what he’s going to show us about this place he’s chasing, Paris, what there is to the Feast.  And, frankly, how does he afford to live like this, just walking around café to café, writing and observing people and living as this libertine penner?

And, Ms. Stein’s influence on Hemingway… your thoughts?  Do you sense any mood change in Hem when he’s around Ms. S?  Some would call their relationship abusive, dysfunctional, reciprocal, and, at times, just plain awkward.  Like when she addresses the issue of ‘inaccroachable’ (25), how Hem says he didn’t agree, but “I did not believe in arguing with my elders.” Is this meant to be a passive insult at Ms. S?  OR, is there something deeper, more elemental and combustive going on?

And, the topic of food, the cuisine, the sensory appeal of Paris that Hem shares with us.  What does that do to the read, to this memoir, if it is in fact such.  We have all this mention of Literature and Art and culture, but somehow you could argue something’s missing.  Some centrality… what?  What’s missing in this feast Papa’s prepared for us?  And, if you feel nothing’s missing, or it’s too early to tell, then fine!  Share your observations with us and share where the strengths are in this next reading (through ch. 13).  I said last meeting that Hemingway is taking us on a tour through HIS Paris, so what does he observe and what do you observe in those observations he shares?

HW:  Read through Chapter 13 (page 100 in the edition I ordered to the bookstore..), and post a 250-300 word reaction, addressing your observations in the text, and if something’s missing or if he’s so far provided a coherently structured manuscript.


Good Morning, Everyone!! [7:04AM, 6/7/15]

7 Jun

My name is Mike Madigan, and I’ll be your instructor of record for the next 8 weeks– or, 8 weeks from when the semester does actually start, June 15th… I just wanted to make sure you all have the books the first day, which are Jack Kerouac’s ‘On The Road’ and David Sedaris’ ‘Me Talk Pretty One Day’. As well, please have one notebook (preferably a Composition Book), and some post-it’s for our readings and places in your journals where you may need to reference and re-reference certain ideas and writings, notes and what be…..
What you can expect from this class: what you invest, what you equate into the equation. So.. if your election is to be miserable, then you will be just that. BUT, new colleagues and friends, if you want to learn a couple new things about your writing voice and about how to approach Literature, and your dreams and academic pursuits, then you will receive that and quite plausibly more!

So, to close, I look forward to meeting and working with you all, and I’ll see you on the 15! Please feel free to introduce yourself below and what you want from this class and your academic life, or anything you want to narrate! Cheers!

Loyally, Yours,