Well it’s been ten months since I posted in my WordPress. I’m in my second semester of the Phd (fudd) here at the Big University. I’m teaching Composition II this semester to mostly freshman. I’m taking Linguistics and Feminist Lit Theory courses. Last semester, I taught Composition I to freshman, and took a Composition Pedagogy course and a New Orleans Pop Culture course which was totally cool! That has a lot to do with why I haven’t posted in ten months.
Teaching Comp I was the most exciting thing ever!! I really felt like I was at home finally. Funny story: I walked out of the parking garage on the first day of teaching Comp I last semester, with the wind in my hair, feeling a lot like Mary Tyler Moore! I was prepared and excited and nervous, but determined. I got into my classroom and saw those 19 eager faces and realized I had left my syllabus copies in the car in the parking garage. YAY ME! So with two minutes to spare, I dashed back down the hall to the elevators, waited, rode the elevator down three flights, ran across the street to the parking garage elevators, waited, rode the elevator up six flights, raced to my car, grabbed the box of copies, raced back to the elevators, rode down six flights, ran across the street, rode up three flights, kind of limped, hobbled, shuffled down the hall and back into class. A greater first impression could not have been made! That was actually the best icebreaker in the world. I could not have planned that. That class became my favorite class – they opened up to me early and out-performed the other class by miles.
The Big University gave me a ton of wiggle room on that syllabus, and so I made that class a critical rhetoric course. We read some bell hooks in response to Sheryl Sandberg, and then we read a Richard Dorment article, and I made this class about the intersections between race and gender and class. I found that it was fairly easy to hide my radical political opinions and allow the class to be a safe space for my students to explore their own political opinions — through writing! I was pretty proud by the end of the semester of my students and myself. Comp II is a bit experimental, so they haven’t allowed a whole lot of wiggle-room. However, the material and the approach is a little bit genius, if you ask me. Approaching teaching composition as a general education course by teaching the fundamentals of what composition scholars study (much like an intro to biology or chemistry), not only legitimizes composition scholarship as a field, but also removes the prescriptive elements of English instruction that have been its hallmark for more than a hundred years. Love it!!
I mentioned something about a low-residency program in Vermont ruining my marriage didn’t I? So let’s talk briefly about how low-residency MFA programs are marriage killers. “These people,” fiction writers, spend $40 grand a year to go two times a year for ten days and pretend their all part of the Bloomsbury Set. They live in unisex dorms with unisex bathrooms, all under the guise of liberal-progressive inclusion. They spend their days structuring their own course work, and their nights – well, I said it was a marriage killer, right, so you can let your imagination do that work. It is a self-proclaimed opportunity to escape reality and the problems of the real world for a two week-ish period. Women see themselves as the next Stephanie Myers or their work heralded as the next Fifty Shades of Grey, and their collecting life experiences for their Pulitzer prize winning memoirs: One More Garbage Bag: A Hoarder’s Nightmare. The jacket review for that one says “You can take the girl out of the gutter, but you can’t take the gutter out of the girl.”*
Oh believe me, the spouse got the lion’s share of the blame when emotional connections were uncovered at home, in the real world where marriages require effort, honesty, and loyalty, and when the cozy, low-light pictures got posted to Facebook where the adult children could see them. But let me talk about the women, because there were more than one of them. One of them, the first one, we’ll call her Sylvia Plath, probably had no clue what was happening to her. She probably had no idea that this married man was attempting to sweep her off her feet via email. She probably had no idea that the intellectually romantic things he was saying to her had first been uttered by me in the context of my marriage. She probably really did think that he just wanted to be intellectual giants with her. I give her the benefit of the doubt because she remained obtuse and egotistical throughout his pursuit of her until he got so angry at her, they barely speak anymore. The second one, gets no benefit of the doubt. I don’t have a name for her either. Well, I do, but including it here doesn’t lend anything artistic or emphatic to my writing. This one is no different than the spouse, looking to escape the confines of her upbringing through the pursuit of fame and fortune, seeking attention from anyone who will give it to her, and not thinking at all about the consequences – until confronted with them of course. What kind of woman says “we’re totally just friends, but since I know you’re pissed now, I’ll drop his friendship like a hot potato”- “oh that thing I posted on social media was a problem that could potentially end your marriage? geez, now when he needs his ‘friends’ the most, I will keep my distance for your sake” – “Oh gosh I totally understand because I’m getting divorced too”? Yea, not helpful. So if you have a significant other who has a tendency to be somewhat narcissistic, and he or she comes up with the brilliant idea to enroll in a low-residency MFA program in Vermont, be wary – “this one time at band camp….”
So the fudd journey is Fantastic, but the rest is terrible. That means I’ve thrown myself at the fudd journey. I need a specialization that will bring me happiness and help me find a job later! Suggestions are welcome!
*I completely made that up.