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See You Next Year


So, the rhetoric of New Year's is sort of interesting... all of this talk of "new year, new you!" and an insistence that the next year will be infinitely better than this past year was, fresh starts and do-overs abound, and there's a strange belief that at the stoke of midnight, something magical happens: there's a countdown, a sparkly ball, champagne sparkling apple juice, and cheers and smiles and kisses. But why? What is it about this holiday (why is this a holiday?) that makes us want to celebrate? And why do we celebrate it this way?


Post at least once over break. You can write about anything you want, but maybe consider commenting on this New Year's phenomenon I was just rambling about...I'm interested to know what you think of it. Do you participate in the practice of resolutions? The countdown? Nothing? Are you surly about it? Okay, you get the idea.

The paper. Draft, brainstorm, develop, revise. Read the assignment sheet. Thursday and Friday after break will be work days so make sure you have stuff to work on. Those days will be more useful to you for the essay if you have a full (though rough) draft going into it.

The project. Read and annotate like a beast. Very few of you had the quantity and quality of notes I had expected to see at this point. That's not a jab; it's an expression of genuine concern. Read the assignment sheet. Really get to know your author's style. Refer to that "incredibly tedious guide" I gave you a while back. Remember the in-class work we've done with identifying style and writing style statements. You have everything you need to do well on this, but you've got to make use of those resources and pay attention to the assignment's objectives, articulated on the assignment sheet.

Get some rest. Play in the snow. Drink hot cocoa. Eat cookies. See you in January.


Not Gonna Lie

Try to be 100% truthful this weekend. Just see how it goes. At the very least, take notice of how many times you bend, smother, or evade the truth...and consider why you do that. Write about it if you want to, but otherwise your blog post topic is open. You haven't had one of those in a while.

For Monday, please read the essay "A Clack of Tiny Sparks" by Bernard Cooper (it's on our Moodle page). CRJ it if you'd like. At some point next week (not Monday) I will collect a CRJ from you. Consider yourself warned. Pay specific attention to how he shapes the narrative and uses it to say something.

GET GOING ON YOUR AUTHOR STUDY. Before you leave for winter break, you must show me that you are making progress. I will ask to see your notes/annotations/CRJ type stuff probably on Thursday. I might publicly shame you if you have nothing.

Happy weekend.


Thirteen Ways of Looking at Porridge

Among hundreds of frozen trees
the only cottage
was the cottage of the three bears.

I was of three minds
Like a table
at which there are three chairs.

The porridge steamed the chilly air
it was a small part of my ritual.

A girl and her porridge
Are one.
A girl and three bears and porridge
Are one.

Okay, that's enough fun. This weekend, blog about whatever you want, but approach it in a few different ways. What do I mean? "Fifteen Comments on Cookie-Baking" or "Six Ways of Looking at Sledding" or Twenty Observations on Sleep" or something like that. The goal is to toy with structure and perspective. Change up the usual--what are some other angles to explore? What are the different components of something you do all the time? If you have a low number, those chunks should be a tad longish. If you have a high number, those chunks can be little.

Remember to read and CRJ Eric Liu's essay "Notes of a Native Speaker" for Monday. It's on our Moodle page and I'll try to get it up on my website, too, but it's been giving me fits.

BLA on Tuesday and get started with your author study. Holler if you decide to 86 your author and replace him or her with a new one.

Happy weekend.


The Author Study

As an extended study of style, you will be reading an author of your choice extensively. This work will span the rest of the term and will result in a presentation of sorts in January. This is all I will tell you about the project at this time. For now, your task is to find an author whose work you wish to study in-depth. This author must be established/published, but can work in any genre. Here are some suggestions (you may propose another author to study but I get to say no for any number of reasons):

Sign-up is first ask, first get on Friday in class. Have a few options.
If you "don't get" poetry, don't pick a poet. And then sign up for poetry class because, seriously. 
Then secure copies of this author's work for to read and study

This is a good resource, by the way: The Electric Typewriter