My Journey of Life and Learning (with occasional digressions)

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Monthly Archives: November 2015

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Insomnia – Cure for Writer’s Block

I really don’t get this one.

I spend all day in front of this computer screen or with my nose in a book, reading, analyzing, writing. THEN, when my brain is about worn out, I go and do “other things,” like tonight was my meeting with my two Counselors for Elders Quorum. Despite my head feeling like it was filled with cotton, we had a successful meeting. SO, I come home, thinking I’m ready to go to bed and get some sleep. NOPE…AIN’T HAPPENIN’!

I guess, other than what I wrote in my personal journal, Ford’s novel, The Good Soldier (TGS), is messing with my mind, just as he intended it. Lawrence’s Lady Chatterly’s Lover (LCL) is still fresh in my brain as well. All the fun theory that goes along with Composition and Composition Instructional Theory is in there as well, competing for space among my congested, semi-gelatinous brain. What shocks me is that I’m exhausted from reading and writing, but here I sit…once again in front of the screen. Ugh…

One point I noticed in both novels is the repetition of certain words. Nothing in the prompts, so far, has even mentioned that. Is it an indicator that I’m (even more) insane that I notice that?

Each chapter in LCL had some nested theme. There’s a specific literary term for that, but I don’t have my Dictionary of Literary Terms before me this very minute. TGS does something similar, but Ford will repeat the same word incessantly within the chapter, I suppose to tell how Dowell feels about everything. The irony in that lies that for much of the entire first chapter, the word is “nothing.” Dowell also uses “I don’t know” frequently and while doing research I found many papers focusing on “what he knew or didn’t know,” “is Dowell’s ignorance or knowledge more important,” and the like.

Ah, I just remembered the one main point I wanted to make. Henry James crafted his novels so that there was “nothing random” in his writings. Everything was there for a reason. I feel the same way about these two writers. My meaning with that is that James liked to play games – he would use hidden metaphors, similes and the like just to play with his readers, kind of a “GOTCHA” moment when the reader catches it. Since he predated Lawrence and Ford and since Ford liked James, I would say that there’s a very strong connection and that’s where some of the technique came from.

Well, I’ve been here for an hour now – between my personal journal and this. I’m finishing my “Sleepy Time Tea” that I mix with “Chamomile” and sweeten with honey, then back to bed.

If you read this, thank you and, as always, feel free to comment and good night!

Richard

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Week 8 – I have a TON to do, but I JUST GOTTA RANT!!

Already Week 8. So, just have this week and two more for this term. Should be excited, wouldn’t ya think?

Oh yeah, it would be so nice to be excited.  I’m not sure if I’ve named my university on here, and since I’m about to act like a whiney, little “Boo-Boo,” I won’t name the school in this post, especially cuz who I’m about to bitch about has totally been the exception. I’ve only got two classes this term. Seems as if two are all my old little mind can take anymore. So, two classes. Pretty sure I’ve made that clear.

One class, the professor works our (nope, gotta change that to MY, ownership and all that), okay, the professor assigns enough work that I feel like I’m working MY butt off to keep up, to complete readings, make posts and somehow try to absorb SOME of the subject matter. Back in language school, I had an actually HONEST instructor who admitted that they made a point of OVERLOADING us in order to get more to stick in our heads. Makes sense in a way. Since the Army was doing it, I’m sure there was a good amount of sadism mixed in, but I’ll admit it works to a degree. Another Army maxim, “If you throw enough shit at a wall, some of it will stick!” As usual, I digress. The professor I’m talking about right now, if he’s reading this he knows I’m talking about him, but this has been a great term! I mean I really don’t even care what my final grade is, and I mean that in the best possible way. If a student actually cares more about what they have learned and the journey they have ventured; that is immeasurably worth more than an “A, B, C, or F.” If you ARE reading this, I know I must sound like a total suck-up, but I believe in feedback. If I take time to tell you you’re a GREAT instructor, it’s real. I stopped kissing butt LONG AGO.

The other professor, here comes the rant, I know, you’ve been waiting for it like the “drop” on a “dubstep” tune, is, less than optimal. (Yes, I re-edited my post. Name calling isn’t appropriate regardless of the situation and I should rise above it.)  Don’t give me a syllabus, a reading list, an announcement that YOU apparently haven’t read yourself, a Discussion Board prompt that ISN’T BASED on what the Module allegedly addresses, mark me down for not writing what YOU wanted me to SAY, dock me ten points on a GOOD ESSAY without TELLING ME WHY…(There was originally a whole bunch of angry words here and I shouldn’t put down what I can’t or should ever HAVE to take back) Let me step down from my “rant-box,” become reasonable and try to explain myself. I believe that it’s wrong to bring an issue to light without offering a solution.

Okay (breathe, Richard, breathe.) Here’s the deal. I understand the school uses syllabi and course materials and assignments that are standardized and (from what I understand) given to the respective prof to use. I’m sure the profs have SOME allowance or wiggle room for how they teach, and that’s fine. I believe, though, that they have a DUTY to themselves as EDUCATORS and to us as STUDENTS to review what is given them. What I mean here is that there is a set rubric for many assignments. That set rubric, I believe, is a skeleton because I’ve seen other profs add information to it, not to the scoring system, but offer explanation of the assignment. This guy has just “pushed out” into the Rubric Folder the SAME SKELETAL RUBRIC HE LIKELY RECEIVED. Whenever I submit an assignment, I EXPECT FEEDBACK. I don’t care two cents if the “System had a malfunction.” SEND ME AN EMAIL TELLING ME WHERE MY POINTS WENT – TO ME, NO FEEDBACK MEANS A PERFECT PAPER, NO LESS. Whenever I provided feedback to my students, fellow military instructors I was mentoring, even Commanders and superiors I had to brief, I ALWAYS addressed, “What went right, what went wrong, what the result was and what we could do differently next time.” Hell, I learned that as a “drunk punk,” young sergeant in Germany. At the time, I didn’t even have my Associates Degree. Can anyone possibly justify or excuse a professor with a Doctorate in his subject from not doing that little? And NO, I will not accept, “He had a lot of students” or “He’s still learning the system.” No, those are not excuses. If I (or the Army) pay you to instruct me, I expect a return on the dollar.

(I deleted a paragraph here. I shouldn’t stoop to a level lower than I proclaim to be. And, again, name-calling is juvenile.)

Alright. I’m done. Sorry if I offended (most offensive words were removed on this edit) I feel I am legitimately working toward my degree. I have fear about what I’ll be able to do with it when I’m done. I’ve DREAMED of teaching for YEARS. Then I hear and read stuff about how terrible the classroom environment is, I get a prof that JUST DON’T CARE… Yeah….things that make me go “Hmmmmm….”

Back to the Anno Bib. I’m sure in “his” class I will do it wrong. Especially since the “example” Anno Bib is different from what I’ve seen in other courses, what I’ve turned in before and from what the MLA Handbook (HARDCOPY) shows. The “sources” I submitted with my “Thesis Proposal” should have appeared the same as on his “example,” but didn’t. Surprisingly he didn’t deduct or offer any comment on that. I guess he just had something better to do. It is so weird having two profs this term who are 180 degrees polar of each other. I guess that one that’s so difficult is teaching me twice as much, so I come out on top anyway. At least with “Student Surveys” coming up in a week or two I can state my case. I’ve been keeping notes PLUS examples. *devilish, self-righteous, grin*

I’ve Gotten A Bit Behind…

So for LIT511, I had to read Nietzsche then decide if D.H. Lawrence fit what Nietzsche considered decadence. I reckon I need to post it here, but my title for my Discussion Board post should be an indicator: “According to Nietzsche,  Decadence Cannot Exist.” I like to think I give my profs headaches or at least return the favor of making them think as much as I had to!
Here is my point on Nietzsche –
Essentially, religion evolved because mankind became “civilized” and began living in communities. If groups of people have to live together, they must suppress their instincts. As an example, just remember the last time you were stuck in traffic or got cut off. What did you do about it? Nothing! Now, because of that suppression, you internalized that anger. Where does it go? We can’t rage against ourselves, so we “surrender it to God.” Okay. No problem. And so we develop a belief system. It’s “bad” to want to hurt someone else, lie, steal, etc. If we do that, we feel guilt. Is it healthy for that guilt to build up? No. So, we have a diety who can alleviate that guilt.
Now, all these feelings are self imposed. God is merely a coping mechanism. So, if these feelings are self inflicted, we can “ignore” or not inflict then upon ourselves in the first place. By doing that,  there exists no need for laws or rules or government. Decadence, by definition, is the opposition of existing rules.  If rules should not exist, there is no way to act against them. Therfore, according to Nietzsche, there can be no decadence.