“Men are more physical than women.”
“In the 1960s, a movement began that culminated in rights for women. It was called the Women’s Lubrication Movement.”
“Having children before the age of masturbation stunts one’s physical, emotional, and intellectual development.”
I love how Evolution for Dummies also works in analogue.
“I believe in the set ways of nature that have been in effect for years. A man should be the provider, and the wife should take care of the kids like the motherly figure she’s supposed to be. Women don’t need careers to be fulfilled.”
This morning, my life was suddenly, utterly, irrevocably altered in the span of 15 minutes. Every day beyond this will be clearly different than I expected it to be when I woke up today.
I’m supposed to be grading essays, but I can barely keep my skin intact.
I keep relearning change in my universe. How swiftly. How completely.
No one has ever written, painted, sculpted, modeled, built, or invented except literally to get out of hell.
“…among the greatest pieces of luck for high achievement is ordeal. Certain great artists can make out without it, Titian and others, but mostly you need ordeal. My idea is this: The artist is extremely lucky who is presented with the worst possible ordeal which will not actually kill him. At that point, he’s in business. Beethoven’s deafness, Goya’s deafness, Milton’s blindness, that kind of thing. And I think that what happens in my poetic work in the future will probably largely depend not on my sitting calmly on my ass as I think, “Hmm, hmm, a long poem again? Hmm,” but on being knocked in the the face, and thrown flat, and given cancer, and all kinds of other things short of senile dementia. At that point, I’m out, but short of that, I don’t know. I hope to be nearly crucified.”
- John Berryman
Little cramped words scrawling all over the paper Like draggled fly's legs, What can you tell of the flaring moon Through the oak leaves? Or of my uncertain window and the bare floor Spattered with moonlight? Your silly quirks and twists have nothing in them Of blossoming hawthorns, And this paper is dull, crisp, smooth, virgin of loveliness Beneath my hand. I am tired, Beloved, of chafing my heart against The want of you; Of squeezing it into little inkdrops, And posting it. And I scald alone, here, under the fire Of the great moon.
Publishing is a game of attrition. Don’t attrish.
- Fred Leebron
In a Personal Response essay on Hemingway’s “A Soldier’s Home”, this student typo:
After the war, herpes were not readily-welcomed stateside. In fact, by many, they weren’t even considered herpes.
7. There is no longer any beauty except the struggle. Any work of art that lacks a sense of aggression can never be a masterpiece. Poetry must be thought of as a violent assault upon the forces of the unknown with the intention of making them prostrate themselves at the feet of mankind.
“I used to be a hypochondriac, but I was a young man then,” he says. “Now I’m really sick.”
We went inside the house and we walked into the kitchen, and he offered up a Coke. That would be great. The fridge was already open, and out she came from behind the stainless-steel door. In my memory now, she is surrounded by cold mist and doves are flying around her head. “This is Penelope,” he said. She smiled, and she gave me a Coke.
I’m pretty sure my voice cracked when I said thanks for the most delicious Coke I will ever drink. She had just woken up, and she was fresh out of the shower. She wasn’t wearing makeup, but her skin was flawless. Her eyes were bright, and her teeth were perfect, and she was wearing a top that revealed her brown shoulders. It’s hard to write about how beautiful a woman is-especially another man’s new wife-without sounding like a creep or a pervert, but I defy any man to meet her and not wonder whether his Clarke’s nucleus has just exploded. No wonder Bardem thinks he’s dying. His heart must stop a thousand times a day.
- — Vertigo - At sea with Javier Barden by Chris Jones Esquire Oct 2010
How astonishing it is that language can almost mean,
and frightening that it does not quite.
- Jack Gilbert
Are the angels of her bed the angels
who come near me alone in mine?
Are the green trees in her window
the color I see in ripe plums?
If she always sees backward
and upside down without knowing it
what chance do we have? I am haunted
by the feeling that she is saying
melting lords of death, avalanches,
rivers and moments of passing through.
And I am replying, “Yes, yes.
Shoes and pudding.”
I grew up with horses and poems
when that was the time for that.
Then Ginsberg and Orlovsky
in the Fillmore West when
everybody was dancing. I sat
in the balcony with my legs
pushed through the railing,
watching Janis Joplin sing.
Women have houses now, and children.
I live alone in a kind of luxury.
I wake when I feel like it,
read what Rilke wrote to Tsvetaeva.
At night I watch the apartments
whose windows are still lit
after midnight. I fell in love.
I believed people. And even now
I love the yellow light shining
down on the dirty brick wall.
damndanm: You should probably watch the final twenty minutes of Road Trip a few times, ponder the wonder of DJ Qualls’ bone structure, have another bottle of wine, then BOOM! you’re Kevin Bacon-ing your way from Homer to the Twilight series in, like, twenty minutes and squeezing in a good night’s sleep.
When you figure out how to write that module, I’m pretty sure the government forgives any debt you might have accrued in pursuit of literature-related degrees, you’re bestowed an honorary Pulitzer, and the heavens part to show you an infinitely looping, sepia-toned shot of Dante and Sylvia Plath doing the Kid ‘n Play dance.
Which is all an asshole’s way of saying, “Holy hell, that sounds impossible. God speed, Amber.”
(Seriously though, we should all think big thoughts about DJ Qualls. That dude is…something to behold.)
Me: The whole damn module was worth your response.
Professional Development Update
(Otherwise known as: Things I’ll Do For Money)
I am writing the FastPacks English 6-12 tutorial for the State of Florida and the DOE. (I know, scary, right?) Anyway, this is the course that public school teachers, who are teaching “out of field”, can opt to take prior to testing for their alternative certification in English, which will enable them to legitimately continue to teach “out-of-field”. Example: A math teacher is thrown in to teaching English; however, current laws only allow him/her to teach for one academic year without further certification. So, I’m helping out with this in the hopes of preventing the swinging door of disengaged teachers through pitiful classrooms. And because they are paying me. Very well.
Problem: One of the modules requires that I develop a way to teach them the entire history of literature AND how to teach it - all in a one-day format.
Yes. All of literature. And how to teach it. In ONE day.
My right eye is twitching uncontrollably.
What my twitching lid thinks as it flutters?
- How does one get back at the DOE? (From the inside)
- The only other time I considered arson was when I learned of Monsanto.
- Why am I not working on an Analogies for Dummies handbook? Pttttffffff!
Nobody’s gonna hurt anybody. We’re gonna be like three little Fonzies here. And what’s Fonzie like? C’mon Yolanda…What’s Fonzie like?
- In working on comparison/contrast - argumentative essay building, I thought a group exercise would be helpful, whereby students in each row are assigned a position on a controversial subject and forced to defend it with reliable, relevant, accurate argumentation.
- Enter Park51.
- A student in the first row, who I regularly have to silence during class, raised her hand and said she was unfamiliar with the controversy. I provided a brief, (hopefully) unbiased summary of the events playing out, and she looked blankly at me.
- "What's wrong?" I asked her.
- "Well I don't understand: What is Ground Zero?"
- "You know, the site in lower Manhattan where the WTCs were attacked by terrorists and fell on 9/11."
- "Yeah, I don't really know anything about 9/11 - I was only 9."
- Blink. Blink. ....
- Crickets on the outside. Plaintive wailing on the inside.
Part of me loves and respects men so desperately, and part of me thinks they are so embarrassingly incompetent at life and in love. You have to teach them the very basics of emotional literacy. You have to teach them how to be there for you, and part of me feels tender toward them and gentle, and part of me is so afraid of them, afraid of any more violation.
-Anne Lamott, Bird by Bird