Monday, May 31, 2010
Sunday, May 30, 2010
Saturday, May 29, 2010
Friday, May 28, 2010
|Sundays too my father got up early|
And put his clothes on in the blueblack cold,
then with cracked hands that ached
from labor in the weekday weather made
banked fires blaze. No one ever thanked him.
I'd wake and hear the cold splintering, breaking.
When the rooms were warm, he'd call,
and slowly I would rise and dress,
fearing the chronic angers of that house,
Speaking indifferently to him,
who had driven out the cold
and polished my good shoes as well.
What did I know, what did I know
of love's austere and lonely offices?
We read this in composition today. I ask what the speaker's father is like. How did the speaker feel about his father when he was a child? How does he feel now? Then I ask them to think of something (or someone) of whom they think differently now than as a child. How did their previous feelings compare to current ones? What is responsible for the change? We spend about twenty minutes free writing and sharing (some of us) what we wrote. I did a separate one for each section. As always, I'm amazed and humbled by what students share -- both with me in their writing and with each other.
I fault myself for so many deficiencies. I lack, I lack, I lack. But I do create an environment in which students feel comfortable sharing, where--I hope--they don't feel judged.
Thursday, May 27, 2010
Monday, May 24, 2010
Life is about more than the stuff. Like we already knew, life is about the relationships. Life is about Mary and Naomi, Rachel, Benerd, Daniel, Chris and Fred, Jonah, Benson, Diane and Gladys, Judy and Zach and Lomori, Joseph 1,2 and 3. It is about Erin, Mickie, Spence, my mom, Mwololo, George, Paul and Pascal, Moses, Moris, Eunice, Mwendwa, Pastor, Kathy, Karen and John and Ngumbu. It is about all the people I know and love and have let just pass by. That is what I learned and what I know and what I live on each day. These relationships are important - like food. I need them to survive and without them, I am not alive.
Wednesday, May 19, 2010
I don’t always blog about it, but I still spend my Fridays drinking wine at a grocery store. Last week’s was eventful for a couple reasons: first, two in our group missed it for the second week in a row because they had the nerve to go to Europe (thankfully, they’ll be back on Friday); second, my downstairs neighbor came along. He chastised me for not buying any of the wine I sample.
“I never buy wine.”
“Well, what kind do you like?”
“I don’t know, all of it.”
“How long have you been doing the tasting?”
“Uh, about a year.”
I felt a little sheepish. Maybe once I get my apartment clean I’ll have people over and will go back through some of my entries and pick out the best red and white wines that I’ve referred to.
As for last week’s, we started with The Jump Stump White – it was delicious and not too sweet. I also liked the Avanti Pinot Noir.
Anyway, I’m taking a break from grading essays. I only have seven or eight more for tonight. I’ve already marked all the papers; it’s just a matter of filling out the rubric and writing more detailed suggestions for revision.
Sunday, May 16, 2010
- What is his name?
- What is he thinking?
- Where is he going?
- What is his favorite color?
- Why does his left foot itch?
- What was he doing before he enlisted?
- What is his family like?
Wednesday, May 12, 2010
3 days straight of 90+ miles in the desert sun can start to wear on your body and attitude. We are crashing at our old buddy Anne's. Last night we killed crazy amounts of pasta, broke her sink, and rearranged her kitchen while she was out. Later we all laid around blowing farts and laughing.
Monday, May 10, 2010
out-loud voice in your head; it is *spoken*,
a voice is *saying* it
as you read. It's the writer's words,
of course, in a literary sense
his or her "voice" but the sound
of that voice is the sound of *your* voice.
Not the sound your friends know
or the sound of a tape played back
but your voice
caught in the dark cathedral
of your skull, your voice heard
by an internal ear informed by internal abstracts
and what you know by feeling,
having felt. It is your voice
saying, for example, the word "barn"
that the writer wrote
but the "barn" you say
is a barn you know or knew. The voice
in your head, speaking as you read,
never says anything neutrally- some people
hated the barn they knew,
some people love the barn they know
so you hear the word loaded
and a sensory constellation
is lit: horse-gnawed stalls,
hayloft, black heat tape wrapping
a water pipe, a slippery
spilled *chirr* of oats from a split sack,
the bony, filthy haunches of cows...
And "barn" is only a noun- no verb
or subject has entered into the sentence yet!
The voice you hear when you read to yourself
is the clearest voice: you speak it
speaking to you.