Tag Archives: School


8 Dec

Someone coming into room and distracting me, throwing out off and off rhythm.  But I let them know I’m working.  He seemed not so much put off as he did surprised.  I need my time… I need to collect at day’s inception.  We need to find time for ourselves, and we can we just need be committed, a bit rigid, and at times curt with others.  Even those we like, or even love.  The guy who just came into the office, disrupting my typing, is a great, very kind and convivial guy.  I need this time, though.  I need be educated by my morning.  And this morning, as I early wrote, teaches me again the importance of inventorying, simplicity and singularity.  Found myself getting stressed, then looked at all I had open on laptop, all the clutter and cords and books and receipts I had bunched and punched into backpack.  “You can’t keep blaming the hotel.” I self-instructed.

Today, Friday… Don’t just surrender to the proximity of the weekend.  Be more than merely motivated.  Be ablaze in your life, with your story and what you want.  Forget brainstorming, planning, measuring some trajectory, if not just for today.  Act.  Actuate.  Run… faster.  If you’re out of breath, run faster till you adjust to your new, exhilarating pace.  Creating entails trial, stress, self-test.  As I said in class yesterday, don’t resist what stresses or perplexes you.  Rather, love it.  Let yourself be doused in its element and eclectic synaptic net…

Letting my mind wander, thinking about what I want—  What do you want?  What do you see yourself doing for the rest of your life?  What does it feel like?  What do. You hear?  See?  Smell?  What hits your tongue, what flavors speak?  Don’t get distracted.  Hold to your envisage.  Remain en pensant.

06:06.  Nearly at two thousand words. 

10 Nov

And the rain coupled with that eased hum of the refrigerator has me composed, with unusual composition.  What a rich and relieving way to incite a day.  Me, here, on couch, not in bed, awake and not asleep and recording each thought that passes through my head for students… or for me, or for both.  How about both.  LIFE… funny.  It’s just one.  One.  Then what.  I don’t care ‘then what’.  I’m here now, throwing myself into the moment and the realization that I AM a teacher.  What do I teach?  To write, read, understand self better though writing.  I think.

Are you asleep now, while I type this?  That’s fine.  Just think about what you could have been doing while asleep.  What you could have been contributing to.  Sleep is great, but it’s also a time of ‘off’, non-function.  Dark outside, but it doesn’t have to be that in whatever room you’re in.  This semester has taught me to work harder, to test myself, to ignore anything that isn’t a yay-say.  So what are you doing, now, reading this?  What time of day is it?  Notice that time and understand you only have so much left.  WORK.  Get to where you want to be… scribe your own set of convictions and don’t budge.

I’ve always seen school like a storm, rain.  After rain there’s new growth, Newness, and a radiance and glow, a beaming to the scene that wasn’t there before.  Yes, you take courses you don’t want to and YES you have teachers you don’t particularly enjoy, or just downright don’t like.  But, as I said earlier… MAKE IT YOURS.  The onus is yours and that will never change in its empirical layout.  Get to work, your work, and make your supervisor, YOU, have no reason to be not-pleased with your progress.

Good morning!

28 Oct

Who’s already working?

Who’s written something?

Who’s more alive than the most alive of the creative-living?

Want to learn something today?

28 Sep

We are all writing something.  Especially when we’re not actually writing—

All moments are tied in some way.

What happens in a classroom is a microcosm for ‘out there’.  That’s why this matters.

You learn by teaching yourself and letting the moment education you on YOU.

Kerouac reminds us that there’s more than just ‘so much to learn out there’, as so many say.  By saying “so much”, you infer a quantity, a set amount.  Knowledge is always immune to limit, number, anything set.


31 Aug

View story at Medium.com

ENGLISH 100 … Start in your creative storming…

22 Aug

ENGLISH 100  – College Reading and Writing

Section:  0846

4 Units

FALL 2017


Room:  Emeritus 1614, Santa Rosa Campus

Time:  Tuesday, Thursday … 3-5pm

Instructor:  Michael J. Madigan

Blog:  maddenedread.com

Email:  mmadigan@santarosa.edu

Course Description

This AA/AS degree-applicable course is designed to develop skills to the level required for success in ENGL 1A and other transfer-level courses. Formerly ENGL 100B.

Outcomes and Objectives:


Students will…

1. Identify and judge the use of stylistic features in readings.

2. Analyze and evaluate the use of causal analysis, persuasion, and

argumentation in readings.

3. Summarize readings of various lengths and complexity.

4. Analyze readings for implied meaning, irony, satire, assumptions, and


5. Identify logical fallacies in arguments.

6. Synthesize meaning, using a variety of comprehension techniques,

discussion, and pre-writing strategies.


Students will…

1. Write a minimum of 4,000 words of prose, including some writings

documented in MLA style.

2. Write at least three analytical essays with clear, complex theses;

adequate development and organization; and effective points of view and


3. Write essays developed through causal analysis, persuasion, and


4. Link ideas with appropriate transitions.

5. Revise essays and other writings for organization, style, and tone.

6. Proofread, with particular attention to syntax, sentence structure,

grammar, punctuation, and mechanics.

7.  Write at least two critical papers in response to challenging


8. Consider and refute opposing points of view in essays or other


9. Write essays or papers that effectively incorporate source materials

and document them in MLA style.

Required Texts

Prose Models, (11th ed.)

Me Talk Pretty One Day (Sedaris)

The Great Gatsby (Fitzgerald)


Dictionary & Thesaurus

Small journal you keep on you at all times!!

Daunting optimism

Grade Composition

3 Essays 30%

8 Short, Typed Reactions 25%

In-Class Writings 5%

Journals 5%

Creative 5%

Attendance & Activity 10%

Final Submission 20%


All assignments are to be turned in when they are due.

12 point font, Times New Roman or some other professional font.

1-inch margins.



Heading in upper-left…


Come on time, come prepared, or you’ll be sorry you came at all.

If you miss 4 classes, for any reason, you will not pass this class.


Any act of cheating or plagiarism will result in an automatic ‘F’.  Period.  Don’t do it.  I’m always here to assist you with reading, writing, idea development, so there is NO reason to be academically dishonest.

Cell Phones or any electronic devices…

Please turn them off, or put them on vibrate if you’re expecting an important call, or might get one for some reason.

Students with Disabilities or any Needs

See me and/or contact the disability services office, and your needs will be met.

The Weeks…

Week 4 – Essay 1 Due

Week 8 – Essay 2 Due

Week 12 – Essay 3 Due

Last Class Meeting – Final Submission Due

quick thoughts, before we start our collective and individual stories in this class…

Everyone wants something… but so many, too many, don’t want to test themselves, be tireless in their efforts.  Why?  I’ve always wanted to know this.  And don’t think I’ve always thought this.  I’m just now, at my old age realizing certain remedies and solvents.

Set yourself in dreamer mode.  Why not?  You have to have a job, right?  Why not have it be something that you wildly love?

Sow your own narrative.  Have it take you to what you want.

When you read something, anything, you should look for something that you can relate to your own life.  This only makes sense, as there will be occasions where you’re assigned something and you just flat out don’t like it.  This, too, is part of being a student.  Make it about you.  Make the text, however big, part of your reality and your Now.

Emerson said “Nothing great was ever achieved without enthusiasm.” In order for us to get whatever it is we want, or need… wherever we see ourselves later in our stories, we must hold ourselves to a positive, yay-saying and ever-enthusiastic and emphatic tenor.  How else will we get to where we want to go? If happiness is the prime pursuit of every human, it can only be tasted with the enthusiastic gallop.

Creativity and conversation solve everything.  Everything.  Especially in an English class.  And, note, there is invitation for creativity and expression everywhere.  What distinguishes a masterful essay from an average one is enthusiasm, creative, depth, and description.  But, the creative is always prime, paramount, the utmost poetic.

However you have to get there, to what you want, just get there.  Your doubters are doubters because they’re blind.  They see nothing but their own weights, what holds them down, so they have no motivation to encourage you.  So… encourage yourself.  Teach yourself.  Lecture yourself on your strengths and what’s ahead.  There is no dead-end.  Be your most present of best friends…

Use every minute…

When you’re bored, you’re blind… you’re blinding yourself.

*Vision is a choice.  Agony and misery are choices.  Why would you ever elect either?

Go for a walk.  Write in your head.  This WILL help with your writing, and by extension your reading.  Read and re-read your writing.  Always be in editing mode.

Appreciate your story.  Be a fan of you.  You want to be a “better” writer, and reader?  This has to come before everything.  Conviction that you can is never a negotiation.

Another way to be “better” at reading is to see more in the story.  Don’t just stop at the words on the page.  Look further into what’s on the pages.  CONNECT WHAT YOUR READING TO YOUR STORY.

This class is an Exchange of Ideas.  Civility is not suggested, it is demanded.  It is the order of the classroom.  Let your colleagues finish their thoughts, then respond.  Never interrupt.  When you interrupt someone, if in some debate or lively discourse, you indicate weakness.  Let them finish, then react.

College Reading & Writing is a course that focuses on reading and writing, yes, obviously, but as well original thought… building from the ideas that are presently present in your consciousness… from your Human Experience.

Before we start, though, and you must not dismiss this question, “What do you want?”  Be tireless, and you will get it.  How do you be and stay tireless, by testing yourself.  Not letting yourself stop.  Of course, yes, you will have to take breaks and of course sleep at night, but plan… writing a plan for yourself on how you will get to whatever it is you want, wherever you want to be.  Be creative, be involved in the conversations, always.  Don’t be silent.  If you let yourself settle in silence, you may as well be asleep.  If you want something, want to be somewhere… want to see some part of the world… want a certain career or quality of life?  You have to be TIRELESS.

I want you all to enjoy your semester in this class, your experience, and your conversations with each other.  All the new ideas and new pieces you will read, all the material that you’ll write for yourself (and you may think you’re writing for me, or the school, but no.. you write for YOU).  My goal in this class, or one of them, is to have as many of you leave having attained what you set out to.  I’m here for you.

Be here for you, too.  Wholly, wildly, creatively HERE.