Sweatpants Pedagogy

IMG_1580
This is my classroom now.

This week marks the start of the Spring semester for LACCD schools. It also marks the end of a long, lazy winter vacation wherein I became very well-acquainted with a pair of boy’s sweatpants from target and a fuzzy sweater that sheds incessantly but makes up for fuzzy lint trails in ultimate coziness. Sweats and a sweater have become my uniform and, now that I am teaching two ONLINE CLASSES, they’ve replaced my black pants / white shirt / black blazer professor look. This is gonna be weird.

One of the strangest things about teaching online is how much it’s made me aware of my email voice (as opposed to my texting voice, talking voice, joking voice, or teaching voice). I’ve noticed that, in an effort to come off as warm and not internet bot-like, I use an astonishing number of smiley faces. So many, in fact, that ruminating on emojis made its way into a recent full-time app cl. Not sure how that’ll go over, but I think I Tim Gunn’d it (made it work, yeah?).

In any case…these classes last 8 weeks. Only 8 weeks! What am I going to do with myself come April?! I might need a new pair of sweatpants…

Advertisements

reading, and other reasons to procrastinate

I’m in a class this semester–my last semester, thank goodness, jeez–on experimental fiction. Experimental fiction as in, you know, writing that doesn’t adhere to certain “normative structures” and refuses, essentially, to meet the demands a reader might place on the text.

 

You wanted a linear reading experience? Too bad!

You were looking for significant and detailed plot points and characterization? Bummer!

You want something comfortable and familiar? Barkin’ up the wrong tree, friend!

 

It’s been…interesting, to say the least.

e24082f6bfb3d04aa9e6eaf66e8bfac2I’m a person who was always into reading. You know that one kid in class who sat in the back of the classroom and read books tucked into her math textbook and always finished the required reading assignments during the summer. I was that kid. I think it’s safe to say that, in this wide, wide world of the internet, I am not alone, here.

So, when I read, I usually try to find something that I can dive into easily, that takes me to my happy place…not something that disrupts all that for the sake of, well, innovation. I get it, I think, what the appeal of reading books like The Activist or Cyclonopedia might be…but maybe I don’t. My instructor says he can’t read a book, or that he hates to read a book, that doesn’t make him feel frustrated, uncomfortable, or disoriented the entire time. We are not the same people, my professor and I…and I think it has to do with the fact that his experience as a young reader is pretty much the opposite of mine.

He got into reading because he became obsessed, apparently, with Jim Morrison, and so the first books he spent were gathered from a compiled list of every book ol’ J.M. had ever been influenced by. His whole initial approach to reading was research-oriented and expository…by no means was he the escapist I’ve always been.

I don’t know if that’s the reason he’s drawn to experimental writing, but I do know that I’m really getting a kick out of reading Silence of the Lambs, a perfect foil to the books I just mentioned (both of which are wildly experimental and very cool, but difficult to approach and navigate) and incredibly poorly written, if my teachers have anything to say about the subject. I’m not saying it’s high art, but it’s a fun, casual foray into serial killer pop culture, circa 1988.

 

zinefest & other shenanigans

IMG_6919I don’t know if you know this, but zines are awesome.

They’ve got this groovy history that dates back to 1930’s era science fiction nerds (I mean that in the nicest, most complimentary way possible) and found their footing in the punk movement back in the ’70s. My apologies if you knew this already…I just think it’s neat!

IMG_6916Anyway, they’ve always been a big part of my life, creatively speaking, and factor into my work as a writing instructor, too, particularly because they give students an opportunity to work with writing outside the prescriptive scope of traditional academic work. Mostly my zines focus on experimental poetry (la dee da, I know) and anecdotal observations about life, though I did just start one that is essentially doodles of dogs I’ve seen. It’s called Dog Zine: Some Dogs I’ve Seen. Because…come on. Dogs are perfect.

zine picIf you’re in the LA area this weekend and you don’t already know, ZINEFEST IS COMING. It’s happening this Sunday, from 11am to 6pm, and I will be there, zines in hand, waiting to meet you.

Pictured Zines: “Racial Tension,” “Barbara Walters” (part of the “Beards” series), and “That Joke Isn’t Funny Anymore,” featuring artwork by my groovy friend Shamara Jones. Other zines available for purchase include “Daddy Issues” and “Dog Zine: Some Dogs I’ve Seen.” Collages & poetry postcards available, too, plus some pins!

More info on zinefest HERE // email analogdandruff@gmail.com for questions, price inquiries, and commission requests