Tell Me a Riddle by Tillie Olsen (1961) brings the sent of my grandmother’s iron to me in “I Stand Here Ironing.” This is a small collection of short stories with words as carefully chosen as the stones in the pocket of a four-year-old, and just as valuable. The lives on display here can be pondered for a long time. Take the time to think after reading this.
Hang on to your hats folks.
NW by Zadie Smith (2012) brought me to my knees as a reader. Once I recovered I read it again. This book is thick with both action and philosophy and literary tricks. I had to take notes to follow the characters and who was talking as well as do some reading on the background of London culture. It follows four characters in northwest London using a variety of literary techniques - switching voices, a stream of consciousness narrative, and incomplete thoughts that…
I recently reread The Brief and Wondrous Life of Oscar Wao (2007) by Junot Diaz. The story of a nerdboy Dominican Republic American struggling with love and life, it holds my attention to the end. Although the fantasy and gamer jargon and the DR Spanglish may confound a reader, there are many line by line definitions to be found if you just search the title on the Internet.
It is a heartbreakingly beautiful reflection on manhood and the essence…
One Writer’s Beginnings by Eudora Welty (1984) spoke to me as a teen in Jackson, Mississippi. I heard the voices in “Why I live at the P.O.” and loved to write. Miss Welty’s house was close to Belhaven College and Millsaps in Jackson so I knew she was real. My mother had seen her in the grocery store. Writer’s were real; their stories were real. My secret dream was real too.
This is in response to the FaceBook challenge from Patricia Spears Jones to list ten books that have blown me away.
The Spiral Dance by Starhawk was first published in 1979. I arrived in California in 1980. I can’t remember when I first read this but I remember the excitement of reading in print the Wicca life I had only heard about. Coming from a Southern Christian background, this was beyond the comparative religion classes where I read the Bhagavad Gita. After the second edition came out in…
Waking in the afternoon long ago,
To the sound of my mother weeping.
Counterpoint to the swell of the soap opera speaking,
Then, a hiss, and the sharp burning smell of iron on cotton.
Sheets, pants, skirts, and finally, shirts.
Stacks of cloth on the sofa, waiting.
All the laundry finally bleached, folded, ironed.
I learned on my father’s handkerchief, a clean one daily.
This summer afternoon, in my home, alone…
Beyond the Internet, but not the ubiquitous Dollar General
Winding through the green pavements of the upstate border road
Carolina green dreams.
Sway down a dirt drive to a distillery made by Florida pirates
Falling slats of shacks showing a gleaming barrel inside
Barking dog on the hill tells me no one is home
Long an expatriate in a foreign land,
Adopted by a cold California mountain.
Although I wrote this a while back, I encountered it today.
Dumbing Down Teachers, Henry A. Giroux, Truthout, May 26 2010.
A self reflective discipline in a vacuum of experience is useless. I didn't learn how to teach until years after I went through my "teacher training". I needed to step into reality. Without the days in the real classroom all my critical pedagogy was smoke in the wind. I also have seen the use of practical experience in learning with the students Giroux seems to…
Fascinating statistics in the report on the Internet Librarian Conferenceprovided by Lee Rainie from the Pew Internet Project. Looking forward to the results of the Gates grant he has received to study libraries and the new media.The speech is very interesting with lots of computer jokes but the statistics are staggering - information anytime, anywhere and any device is more than real.We have more cell phones (according to subscription) that we have people!59% of adults connect to the Internet via…
One of the great things about teaching is that I learn something every day. Today, I learned about "Backchannel". A phrase born in 1970 by Victor Yngve to describe a technological conversation going on in a group at the same time a lecture or verbal discussion was ongoing. Sort of like MST3000 , for those of you who are as geeky as I am. The first instance in 2002 resulting in some embarrassing fact checking for QWest CEO, Joe Nacchio, who was bemoaning his lack of funds -not true. So now, according to…
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