Posts from the “Uncategorized” Category

Thoughts Had While Reading Désirée’s Baby

Posted on December 7, 2015

Compassion and empathy are only possible when there exists in the self a modicum of self-love.   Imperious Armand loathes himself, therefore he cannot be kind to his slaves and he seems fated to cruelly reject Désirée and the baby. As a society, we still think of blackness as a taint. While it’s nice to suppose that Désirée walked out into the bayou with the baby and survived, her errand was probably one of insensate desperation.  It’s likely both died. As Shakespeare famously asked, “What’s in a name?”  The Aubigny family is revered in Louisiana as landed gentry types; their name carries cultural cachet.  Why do we ascribe so much significance to names and lineages? Was Désirée a little too innocent and unassuming to…

Of an Afternoon

Posted on August 30, 2014

While I am trying to write this poem, Supine on a florid couch  With laptop inertly pressed against  My belly, my dog insists upon  Licking my hands, gently  But persistently nudging her snout  Between my fingers and the keyboard.   Her tongue, like a wet fruit roll-up, Slips its red circumflex around my knuckles. I try to shoo her away– Tell her that daddy is writing– While passionate violins hum  From the tinny laptop speakers And the fan slowly churns the Dry August air above my head.   This is an afternoon I will never get back. I know this like I know any other fact: The dates of the Civil War, the major writers Of the Harlem Renaissance, or how many Players can…

Stuff English Teachers Like

Posted on January 6, 2014

I made this (or some version of this) into a video which I will embed below.  Sorry for being an insufferable ham.

 
 

 

Calling Movies “Films”

English teachers love calling movies “films.”  The word “movie” is too low-brow.  Heck, even the word “word” is too low-brow (we prefer term).  But seriously, calling something a “film” elevates it to a position of high art, distinguishing it from the baser forms of “entertainment” (I’m looking at you, Toddlers and Tiaras).  Plus, if you’re an English teacher, you never go to “the movies”–you go to “the cinema.”

Irony

English teachers (and hipsters) REALLY seem to like irony.  We can spot it from a mile away, and when our irony radar is piqued, we get a knowing, half-smile on our face, as if to suggest, “yeah, I get why the actual meaning of this and/or these events is not the same as what is being portrayed and/or expressed and is therefore ironic.”  Unlike hipsters, however, English teachers never plan their Halloween costumes around irony.  We would never, for instance, dress as a plunging stock market graph and say we were Miley Cyrus’ net worth after her performance at the VMA’s.  Nah.  There are too many awesome characters from literature to dress up as.

The Slash

That old time punctuational equivalent of the comparatively cumbersome “or,” the slash, is a favorite amongst English teachers.  (Side note: using amongst instead of among = an English teacherism.)  The slash lets English teachers pepper in choice into an otherwise straightforward sentence.  I want to be able to choose my favorite adjectives, adverbs, and conjunctions, just like I want to choose my favorite cereal at the grocery store–a tossup between Honey Nut Cheerios/Oatmeal Squares/Kashi/Frosted Mini-Wheats.

Going to Starbucks and Bringing Only a Book

In this age of hyperconnected Insta-facing and Snap-clapping, bringing a book (and only a book) to Starbucks seems downright suspicious.  Yes, I see you over there tweeting from behind your venti double shot of expresso seasonal latte about the weirdo with the book.  I am READING.  Deal with it.

Making Lists and Being Self-Referential

This article an example of a list.  The fact that I’m including “making lists” into a list is an example of being self-referential.  But seriously, English teaches like making all kinds of list, not just to-do lists.  Yesterday, I made a list of the top-five sandwiches I’ve ever eaten.  A little over a week ago, I made a list of potential jobs that I am qualified for besides teaching English.  It was a very short list.

Unconventional Fashion Choices

English teachers don’t have a monopoly on dapper dressing, but strange patterns and sartorial frippery seem to show up on English teachers like lichens on the northern side of tree trunks.  We’re like birds of paradise (to adopt another nature simile), parading around in multihued splendor while making weird sounds and bizarre gestures.  But really, we do it all for your benefit, dear students.  Earth tones are boring, and we don’t want you losing interest in all the knowledge we have to impart; we clash because we care.

Gotye Hamlet

Posted on February 1, 2013

Alternate pronunciation: Got ye Hamlet?  Many apologies for failing to post a book review in what seems like (and is in fact) ages. A quick and partial list of books I have read during my radio silence that I have every intention of reviewing/discussing: Life of Pi by Yann Martel The Fault in Our Stars by John Green The Round House by Louise Erdrich Luka and the Fire of Life by Salman Rushdie Kant and the Platypus by Umberto Eco The Best American Nonrequired Reading (2008, 2009) War and Peace by Leo Tolstoy Just kidding on the last one, though I have, at the very least, started it. So far, it’s very, “Princess flirts with Ne’re-do-well officer while busy-body Countess looks on disapprovingly.” Which…

On Poetry and Craft by Theodore Roethke

Posted on August 24, 2012

This book is somewhat of a departure from other books I’ve reviewed.  It’s hard to classify–something akin to a compendium of knowledge regarding the craft of poetry, essays on learning and teaching, and pithy aphorisms that seem to hold (like prismatic gems) dearly attained wisdom. On Poetry and Craft by Theodore Roethke Roethke is a pretty canonical poet.  If you’ve ever taken a 20th Century poetry course, you’ve probably come across a few of his poems: “My Papa’s Waltz” and “In a Dark Time” spring to mind.  You might be tempted to write Roethke off as a minor poetic figure who had a few hits (the poetic equivalent of 98 Degrees).  Don’t.  Roethke has a lot of exceptional things to say about both the…

Geekdom

Posted on August 15, 2012

In lieu of posting anything of literary merit, I’ve made an instructional video.  Have you ever found yourself hauling around various and sundry pieces of paper?  You’ve tried organizing them in folders, but over the course of their rainbow-hued lives, your folders have become ripped, dingy, and pitifully spineless.  How do you cope?  Or perhaps you’re a teacher and you’ve found the perfect short story or poem in a book but don’t have access to scanner/copier/printer.  How do you get copies of that perfect poem or super story to your students?

 

There is a fairly simple (if a bit expensive) solution to both these problematic scenarios.  If you’ve got access to a smartphone or tablet with a decent camera, you can take a picture of any document and convert it to a PDF.  OR (and this really is a big OR) you can take that same document and convert it to a piece of editable text.  The world is your Word Document!

 

View on to get an idea of how to do both things.  You’ll pardon the orchestral background music in the video.  Garageband (another outstanding app) was recently updated with strings and I had a little too much fun playing around with it.  🙂