Always ethereal, always eclectic, I write as the mood strikes, when there intrigue reveals itself. Usually that means something controversial or adventure of some sort.

I've tried really hard to be unprovocative, but have as yet been unsuccessful.

Friday, 18 July 2008


riverrun, past Eve and Adam's, from swerve of shore to bend of bay, brings us by a commodius vicus of recirculation back to Howth Castle and Environs.

I just finished up my first week in the new job- not full time, only 14 hours a week, but it pays well. More importantly, I enjoy it. I'm back at teaching, teaching writing to 8th and 9th graders, and SAT writing to 10th and 12th graders. While it's not science or theatre, it is teaching, and I have so missed it- planning lessons, finding ways for students to learn in new and exciting ways. Sure, there was tutoring opportunities in Washington- but you have to be certified to tutor up there. Or to sub in public schools. California is a good deal more lax on those points, so even under NCLU (No Child Left Unrecruited), I can actually use my skills, despite not having a stamp saying I am certifiable. I mean certified.

So far we've been using the finest grammar book in all the world, Strunk & White; we've written some rather beautiful sonnets; and today I read to them Chaucer and Finnegans Wake. The last was to give them some real beauty, and also to argue that the book we are actually going to read (The Giver) is a good deal easier. Chaucer and Joyce share a love of the beauty of the word, recognizing that the sounds themselves have an ethereal quality. In Joyce's case, he picked the exact word that was best for both meaning and sound, out of some twenty languages. When he couldn't find the word, he made up his own. So to help the students broaden their ideas of what is possible in good writing, to see that writing isn't about grammar as much as art, I had them right their own Finnegans Wakes, using English, the languages they knew (Japanese, Chinese, Korean, and Vietnamese), and made-up languages. While it seemed odd to them at first, some of them really threw themselves into the exercise, and produced some great compilations.

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quaintance said...

Who is the teaching gig with?

@bdul muHib said...

A small outfit called Handsome Academy, here in Fountain Valley.

Benjamin Gorman said...

I will be stealing that idea. If it's not too late, please do tell them not to write like Joyce on their SAT essays, though. I recommend a passage from Stephen King's "On Writing" where he describes a writer's "toolbox". I use it to organize the beginning of my Creative Writing class.

I'm very glad you're teaching. We need smart people to make up for those of us who are trolling for ideas on blogs at three in the morning.

@bdul muHib said...

LOL! Do not fear- the SAT class and the one with the Joyce assignment are two different classes :-)

Feel free to steal, too. In truth I stole it as well- from my AP English teacher in high school.

@bdul muHib said...

Did you end up using the idea? If so, how did it go?