Tag Archives: teaching blog

Manage vs Manager

31 Mar

It is that time of the semester where I notice around campus everything changing.  And by “everything”, I mean the mood.  The visual tone of the campus.  It’s stressful, Week 10 is coming to an end.  Midterms, finals not that far off.  Stress—  STRESS!!  How do you deal with it?  Can you deal with it?  Manage it?  Or is it managing you like a dictatorial supervisor?  One of my students offered an interesting idea this morning, of “making an appointment for stress”, as she put it.  And, inventorying those stresses, know exactly what they are, so you can confront them, deal with them head-on.  My idea for stress confrontation (if you’d consider it a “confrontation”), is to be outside.  And I mean, OUTSIDE, OUTDOORS, get out!  Then, forget about it.  I know, that’s easier said than done.  Yes, true.  But it has to be done.  It can be done.  You have to bring yourself to these two places, one physical and the other meditative, or mental.  If we are letting ourselves be controlled by stress (and I many times very much am, so I’m not above this quandary), then we are not living.  We’re existing.  Kerouac ordered us to ‘climb that mountain’.  So let’s climb!   Far above the stress.  Let’s find our pleasure in knowing we’ve defeated our stresses by managing them, knowing what they are, telling them when we can fit them into our lives.  Scheduling them, letting them know when it’s convenient to talk.

Week 10.  And how did we get here so quick?  Because, simply, life is quick.  It moves and jumps and jitters without our permission.  So we need live, not so much try to outrun it but keep pace with it.  When we notice we’re behind, that’s a catalyst for stress.  No…  NO!

No.  Stress.  Ever.

Well, I shouldn’t say that.  IT’s going to happen.  The point of this statement isn’t to tell you not to be stressed or pretend like it doesn’t exist, or even to control it.  I’m advocating that we all know what it is that stresses us, acutely, and go from there.  OR, not just casually “go from there”, but more so develop our own methods and practices for interacting for what gets in our heads.  And that’s all stress is, is in your head.  It can become physical, mind you.  A direct consequence of not knowing how to supervise what weighs on us.

I just thought walking to the cafeteria to get another coffee, “That’s it?  It’s stress that does this?  Why do we let it have so much power and supervisory power?” I know the mood in the library won’t change, but mine will, it has.  I feel better after that walk to the caf’, realizing what this is, the stress and how it’s only important and impactful if I let it be.  No, not, no more.  Looking at my stress index, or inventory, and I’m truly laughing.  Why on earth am I letting “Tires” manage and steer my thinking?  I don’t know, but I know it is.  And now it doesn’t.  That easy.  Yes, you have to bring yourself to this place, and it takes work.

You’re in the management position,  now.

SOLANO, 370 — Take a Position!

2 Sep

So.. after all the short pieces we’ve read, start preparing a 4-page position.  NO, it doesn’t have IMG_7979-0to be four FULL pages!  Just get onto the fourth page and try and extend/expand your argument to the bottom.  The last candidates for this paper are “A Hanging” on page 167, Hemingway’s “Camping Out” on 195, and Muñoz with “Leave Your Name at the Border” on 437.  Pick the piece that you’re most passionate about, that you connect with the most and develop a strong opinion…  A statement!

Start taking notes in your journal, then start typing an outline if you wish..  BUT, you must comment below as to which piece that we’ve read so far you’re entertaining selecting for this longer essay and why (meaning your reasoning, and justification).  Your response below can be as long as you wish, just be sure that we, your colleagues, know where you’re coming from (idea-wise).



Beating Time…..

21 Apr

Look at the time we have, not much, so let’s get to work with this final submission, let’s beat Time at its own game…  Let’s build something we never have as writers and thinkers…  Kerouac said in his ‘Prose Rules’ that “You’re a genius all the time”.  I agree!  Who’s to say you’re not?!  Go find your topic, your idea that you plan to make your own, and run with it!  By next class, know what you want to say!  Yes, that means have a thesis!  And be animalistic in proving it!  Reach with your ideas!  For example, if you wish to return to Mr. Kerouac and his work, you could argue something like “Jack Kerouac’s style reflects his lack of decisiveness in both everyday matters and his own art.” So, reach with the word, “indecisiveness”, and build on that concept, then look at his poems, then look into a biography, then go into ‘Road’ then…..  You get the point.  By next class, I want to see your idea mapped, exactly what you did while in the library and how you built your topics and where you reached.

And please don’t forget about Sedaris!  Even though there’s no new reading assignment due next class, I need you all to be done with the manuscript by next Tuesday, 4/28.  And a topic idea I had for him, should ye so choose:  [an interpretation of the title, ‘Me Talk Pretty One Day’]  “David Sedaris is saying he doesn’t care.” Or, “that none of it bothers him.”

Whatever you choose, be serious about it, be ‘genius’ about it, and prove your point!  Be convincing!  Be passionate!  And be efficient.  Again, we are in a place where we have to defeat Time at what it always does, take itself away from us, leaving us the deadline (whatever that may be) at our door, and we have to open.

NIGHT’S ASSIGNMENT:  Bring typed to class next session ALL your findings.  I want at least 2 FULL pages brought to workshop and brainstorm, dissect and expand upon.  Bring strong PROOF that you have something.  Five points possible (all or nothing).

Baldwin: Singular Words and Concepts (4/16/15, 1B Meeting)

16 Apr







-IDENTITY (as an American and otherwise…)

-Isolation and/or Exile

-Role (His role…..)

-Place (His place…..)

1A, 2/5/15:

5 Feb

Today, we briefly entertain and explore the idea of ‘sentiment’, having a sentiment and sharing it in writing, as part of your position/paper.  Not to be confused with sentimentality, or being sentimental, of course…  We’ll also revisit Ms. Dickinson and some of her works, two probably, and see what we see, what sentiments are positioned in her very curt but very explosive poems.. then we’ll get into the rubric for this first longer submission, exactly what the assignment calls for:  1 – Thesis and support, examples, consistency (paragraph balance) (10pts); 2 – Voice (10pts); 3 – General Organization (10pts); 4 -Mechanics (10pts); 5 – Word Choice (10pts).  We’ll discuss each of these today but the general element to keep in mind for your first essay is just WRITE!  Use strong, convincing, and definite language, show examples from ‘Road’ to support your argument (your THESIS), and you’ll have a submittable paper.

Dickinson.  What kinds of facts have we gathered (homework)?  What is your impression of her (homework)?  What poems did you find (homework)?  Keep an open mind with Ms. Dickinson like you did Kerouac, be exploratory with her life and her fears and subject matter.  This will be, what you find on Ms. Dickinson, your first outside sources and research conducted before we venture into Ms. Plath’s Bell Jar.

Please have a fully completed draft for workshopping on Tuesday.. Thursday we have no class so final drafts will be submitted Tuesday the 10th.. “Live or die, but don’t poison everything.” -Anne Sexton


9 Jan

There was nowhere to go but everywhere, so just keep on rolling under the stars.

And, a..

18 Oct

Photo for you all.. Happy Saturday!! Find inspiration!!