"I am a Minnesotan by birth and a traveler in wild places by vocation and compulsion." -Paul Gruchow

Friday, March 30, 2012

Eng. 252: Star of the Sea, Day 2

I'm just going to give a blanket statement about today's class: I love my classes, I love my students, and I'm more thrilled than I can say that they're loving Star of the Sea. I feel like I have very little to say other than these sorts of joy-reactions, but that's all I've got right now. When you get to the point in the semester and you know your students don't want to be there, the weather is really nice at 12:30 on a Friday, it's easy to get excited when your students actually come to class, so excited that they're tripping over themselves and each other to talk about what they noticed. To quote one of my students in his Think Piece, "This book was not quite what I was expecting, but when you think about it, all books that are worth reading are never quite what you are expecting."

But instead of reporting what we talked about in our discussions, I'm going to direct you to our class wiki, Joseph O'Connor's Star of the Sea: Imagination and Knowledge, and I'm going to relate how our class started this afternoon.

First, I mentioned stress tics and how, when we discussed them some weeks ago, I told them how one of mine is tiny houses. Well, another is planning new classes. As a result, I'm currently in love with Dennis Lehane, so while we aren't reading him this semester, I wanted to play this interview clip:

And then I asked them to consider for the rest of the semester what they would put on their own 3x5 card. I'd mentioned earlier that I have my own, in the form of a Post-It Note stuck to my sightline on my desk. It contains two quotes: "Just write the fucking thing," courtesy of the inimitable Jonis Agee. And then right below it: "That story won't unfuck itself," from Chuck Wendig.

I did this on purpose, because I had a plan. I don't often drop four letter words in class, though they do appear occasionally. First, we're reading some of the most depressing material in human history and this would make them laugh. And it did. Second, I wanted to segue into O'Connor by playing a clip of O'Connor reading, on the subject of swearing (although as you can see, not much swearing in it):

And from there we had a second day of stupendous discussion.

So, what's on your 3x5 card of writerly wisdom?

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