Oops . . . and Other Random Thoughts

So I really dropped the ball on posting last week, didn’t I? I blame school, and to a lesser extent society. Four more weeks to go before I’m outta here!

Speaking of outta here, it is official. Christina and I have signed and mailed the contracts–we have a job in China! We’ll be teaching at Anyang Normal University (nice to be normal) in the city of Anyang in the Henan Province. We need to be there by the middle of August. Our correspondent, Marvin, tells us we will have a newly renovated four-bedroom apartment waiting for us. Yay! He also apologized because Anyang is such a small city. The metropolitan area only has five million people in it . . .

Speaking of fiction writing (hmmm, not as smooth), my story, “Dick and Jane: A Love Story” (found in the sidebar) was workshopped in my fiction writing class last last Thursday. You may remember me wondering how my professor would respond to it. Well, now I know. He, in a word, didn’t. Yes. No comments. All he did was tell the class that whenever he reads a story with metafictional elements he feels like he doesn’t have the vocabulary to talk about it. So he doesn’t. Part of me can respect that, but then another, much larger, part of me wants to grab him by his writing utensil and yell, “Your the damn teacher–find a way to talk about it!” . . . I’m working through it. Actually, I set up a meeting with him this Tuesday to make him talk about it. ‘Cause that’s how I roll.

Speaking of rolling on and on with no clear end in sight while the entire country wants to pull its collective hair out and making the hurting finally stop . . . Hilary is still in the race! Y- . . . yaaaaay . . . ! But she’s not actually who I want to talk about. John McCain was recently on the Daily Show, and a few things he said really gave me pause. The first thing was how he spoke about Hamas. Jon brought up a comment that he made, saying that Hamas endorsed Barack Obama. Whether or not he was taking out of context, whatever a Hamas endorsement would mean, it was what he said next that really stopped me. He called them a “transcendent evil” who want “to destroy everything we believe in.” Now . . . I was under the impression that Hamas was a Palestinian resistance group fighting against their perceived occupation by Israel, which is continually supported by us. I didn’t realize that they aren’t really people, they’re just an abstract evil that needs to be destroyed. That’s cool, whatever. He continues, saying, “I think they think that I’m their worst nightmare,” something that he is proud of, and I wondered what kind of appeal he was trying to make by playing off xenophobic, anti-diplomatic, sentiments in the American people . . . Don’t we want peace in the Middle East? Maybe the ability to respectfully address one another and come to a resolution that fosters harmony between two suffering peoples? Maybe I was wrong again . . .

The second thing that got me was when Jon Stewart suggested a running mate for him. Hilary Clinton. After he overcame his shock, Johnny-boy stuttered that that was something that he had never considered before, but I thought wouldn’t that kinda be awesome? What would be a stronger show of bipartisanship than taking someone from the other side as your running mate? It reminded me of the early presidencies, when the vice presidency was given to the runner-up. Have we fallen so far from a common ground that that notion is seen as both ludicrous and disastrous?

Speaking of disastrous, Myanmar sure is turning out to be a shithole, ain’t it?

That’s all for now. I’ll be better about posting. I promise . . .

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4 thoughts on “Oops . . . and Other Random Thoughts

  1. Whoa! Back to China? I’m a little jealous. Should make for good blog posts.

    I know some funny poems about writing instructors. I’ll dig them up for you.

    Here’s how things are shaping up here. Sorry you missed it.

    • Noooo … did this post get sent out to you? No, no, no. This is from 2008. I’m staying in Chicago, at least for the time being. I was fiddling with my blog’s settings last night … hmm … I wonder if I did something. Oh well. Rest assured, I’m staying in America for a while.

      The movie looks great! I’m sorry I missed it too. I’ve never actually seen one being made. I look forward to any and all funny poems about writing instructors.

      • 2008? That’s funny. Myanmar is still a shit hole, strangely.

        Just a google reader peculiarity–old posts sometimes come up as new. Oops. I should pay closer attention.

        Here’s one poem I was thinking of:

        IN THE WORKSHOP AFTER I READ MY POEM ALOUD Don Colburn

        All at once everyone in the room says
        nothing. They continue doing this and I begin to know
        it is not because they are dumb. Finally

        the guy from the Bay Area who wears his chapbook
        on his sleeve says he likes the poem a lot
        but can’t really say why and silence

        starts all over until someone says she only has
        a couple of teeny suggestions such as taking out
        the first three stanzas along with

        all modifiers except “slippery” and “delicious”
        in the remaining four lines. A guy who
        hasn’t said a word in three days says

        he too likes the poem but wonders why
        it was written and since I don’t know either
        and don’t even know if I should

        I’m grateful there’s a rule
        I can’t say anything now. Somebody
        I think it’s the shrink from Seattle

        says the emotion is not earned and I wonder
        when is it ever. The woman on my left
        who just had a prose poem in Green Thumbs & Geoducks

        says the opening stanza is unbelievable
        and vindication comes for a sweet moment
        until I realize she means unbelievable.

        But I have my defenders too and the MFA from Iowa
        the one who thinks the you is an I
        and the they a we and the then a now

        wants to praise the way the essential nihilism
        of the poem’s occasion serves to undermine
        the formality of its diction. Just like your comment

        I say to myself. Another admires the zenlike polarity
        of the final image despite the mildly bathetic
        symbolism of sheep droppings and he loves how

        the three clichés in the penultimate stanza
        are rescued by the brazen self-exploiting risk.
        The teacher asks what about the last line

        and the guy with the chapbook volunteers it suits
        the poem’s unambitious purpose though he has to admit
        it could have been worded somewhat differently.

      • I think that I like this poem … which I suppose can be shortened to just: I like this poem. I certainly recognize the responses in the workshop, especially “the essential nihilism/of the poem’s occasion serves to undermine/the formality of its diction” … but because that was usually me.

        I think it’s the line breaks. I think they are what throw me. I don’t understand what to do with them. I wonder if I want to read it too straight. Why three line stanzas? …

        But I recognize the feeling, the situation that the writer is expressing. I’ve read it a few times. I’m trying to focus on that. I think of so many nagging questions when I try to parse the form. I guess it’s neat how the lines, by ignoring the grammatical structure, break up the sentences and form interesting juxtapositions which our minds would not normally pick out. (That’s me pulling back, getting abstract.)

        “I say to myself. Another admires the zenlike polarity”

        “nothing. They continue doing this and I begin to know”

        “he too likes the poem but wonders why”

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