Now many are thought not only unexplained but inexplicable as language, sleep, madness, dreams, beasts, sex. Philosophically considered, the universe is composed of Nature and the Soul. Strictly speaking, therefore that is separate from us all which Philosophy distinguishes as the NOT ME, that is, both nature and art, all other men and my own body, must be ranked under this name, NATURE. —
Ralph Waldo Emerson in Nature, a Penguin books Great Ideas series. Finished last Thursday.
I’m reading this for my current project, and it gave me so many ideas, it’s deeply felt and I don’t think I would have been able to really tackle it if I wasn’t surrounded by woods and mountains, and, well, nature.
Have a good weekend! And Happy Fourth!
Rare David Foster Wallace Interview Found at Electric Literature -
This was an excellent interview. I especially like the last bit, about thirty three minutes in where Wallace talks about our interaction with screens and images and how we would rather interact with those than people.
The Sisters Brothers by Patrick deWitt, photo from his website. Finished June 16.
This was fun, not amazing, and enjoyable. I don’t read westerns very much so this was different with lines that were fun and a story that was a story that didn’t end in a way that I expected, but just ended without any great loss. It was a happy ending with a slightly. It was a fun read that is good if you’re looking for something painless and easy to read while you’re traveling. There’s a section where the brothers remove a boss from a small town in California:
‘You asked what I was thinking. Well, I will tell you. I was thinking that a man like myself, after suffering such a blow as you men have struck on this day, has two distinct paths he might travel in his life. He might walk out into the world with a wounded heart, intent on sharing his mad hatred with every person he passes; or, he might start out anew with an empty heart, and he should take care to fill it up with only proud things from then on, so as to nourish his desolate mind-set and cultivate something positive anew.’
It’s a vacation read.
Nick Cave's office -
From John Wray’s NYTimes profile:
Cave now lives in Brighton, England, with his wife and twin 14-year-old sons, in a residence that would have seemed, for a number of reasons, inconceivable to the scarecrow-haired punk he was back in Berlin. When I met him this winter, he was renting a…
One of the things that most infuriates me about modern American political bullshit-rhetoric, the canard that we, as we grow older and live longer, should not learn more. Who gives a good goddamn what you said/thought/did when you were twenty-two — who are you NOW? Investigate! Learn! Right? Like — stay curious. Where’s the shame in learning? In — shudder — admitting you’ve learned? — mattfractionblog in yesterday’s Milkfed Criminal Masterminds’ newsletter, which you should be getting delivered to your inbox. I look forward to it every week.
But I guess what I’m saying, mostly to myself, but also to you and to anyone else who might be struggling with this, is that you don’t need a book deal for your commitment to your writing to be valid, you do not need a grant or a residency or an MFA. All of those things are nice, and by all means you should go after them, but I guess what I’m saying is that you do not need permission. You give yourself permission, one day at a time, you find the hours and protect them, you treat them as important and they become important, you treat your work as valid and it becomes valid. The kind of resilience this requires is probably not natural, it certainly wasn’t to me. But I’ve found it can be learned, through repetition and routine, through the quiet power of habit and consistency. I still think the day I became a writer was not the day I sold my book, nor the day I was accepted to a la-di-da program. It was probably the first time I set an alarm and actually got out of bed, when I went to the kitchen and ground the beans and poured the water, and most importantly when I told myself to sit down and get to work because this mattered — Ted Thompson, thompsonted, on getting up every morning, and working, because this quote really meant quite a lot this morning.
I’m teaching an online Introduction to Graphic Novels class this summer that starts July 7, and I’m really excited about it, but there’s a problem. I need a few more students for my class to run. North Country Community College needs the class to have at least ten students, right now it has seven, so I’m asking you to spread the word, and—if you’re interested— take the class. It’s inexpensive, about $45, and you can get the books online easily.
Most of you know what ignited my passion for teaching was in the idea that comic books can be used in literature classes to help students who struggle with writing. North Country Community College, after two years of having me teach English Composition and being very patient with me and this wild idea I have for a graphic novels class is letting me run with this idea in a literature appreciation class. This is the first time any community college in the Adirondacks has offered a class like this.
That’s how we’re here. This course is designed for students who have a passing interest in comics, but really don’t know the full extent of their magic. Like it says in the title, it’s an introduction class so we’re reading Understanding Comics by Scott McCloud, Y: The Last Man by Brian K. Vaughan and Pia Guerra, and All-Star Superman by Grant Morrison and Frank Quitely. In six weeks, we’ll run the gamut of modern comic books. First by understanding how to read them, then going into science fiction, the superhero, and (hopefully) into narrative nonfiction to show that comic books can help us understand complex issues like feminism and a patriarchal society, what it means to be the best person you can be, and coming to terms with your identity. In other words: literature.
Here’s the complete description for the class:
“Harvey Pekar, author of American Splendor said, “Words and pictures, you can do anything with words and pictures.” Since the dawn of our species humans have communicated through spoken word and drawn symbol to tell our story. This has developed into the modern medium of graphic novels. Students in this class will explore comics as a mode of communicating story using books by Scott McCloud, Brian K. Vaughan, and Grant Morrison to acquire, practice, and master new literacies including visual and critical media literacy. The focus of the class will be on critical analysis as students consider graphic novels as literature and analyze the formal structure as it relates to race and heroism, while developing their skills as visual learners.
Now here’s the thing, as of right now my class has seven students enrolled, typically North Country Community College likes to have, at minimum, eight students so I need a few more to register for the class for it to run. It’s online, meaning it’s low cost, you can get the books through any available digital library, but I encourage you to use ComiXology, and there are no real deadlines, other than participating in discussion and doing the reading. There are three papers, on each book, and finally we’re going to learn how to make a comic book as our final.
Basically, it’s going to run like your favorite, but civil and grammatically correct, message board where we’re going to talk comics. I’m going to teach you some of what I’ve learned about comics and how they can make us better writers, and better people. It’s why I got into this teaching English thing—it’s so I could teach this class, so I hope you’ll join me.
If you have any questions I can be reached at email@example.com, and to register for the class contact firstname.lastname@example.org.
Back in Black: Shane Black Returns to Reboot the Unkillable ‘Predator’ Franchise.
This is the best.
Have a great weekend, ya’ll.