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Shelf Life - De File
Does Collecting Make You Feel Dirty?
cbertsch
cbertsch
Shelf Life
When I have appointments all day with my undergraduates, I eventually lose the desire to look at them. My mind is still focused on their papers, but my eyes are looking over their shoulders at the books on my gray-green shelves. I get the most intense cravings then, overwhelming desires to read books that I would otherwise care less about. Some of them I've read before. Others I've been saving for rain that only comes to the desert once every decade. In those moments, though, when I'm not looking at my students by looking at my books, the compulsion to read, say, a collection of Ambrose Bierce stories or that G. Gordon Liddy novel I keep visible to dismay my visitors becomes almost irresistible. It's all I can do to avoid reaching over the person I'm talking to to secure the object of my inexplicable, evanescent desire. And then, once she or he has exited my office, that desire suddenly slackens, rendering the memory of its force a puzzle to set right.

Mode: burgereoning
Muse: Drink To Me Babe Then - A.C. Newman - The Slow Wonder

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Comments
frostedfuckhead From: frostedfuckhead Date: April 13th, 2005 06:59 am (UTC) (LINK TO SPECIFIC ENTRY)

heh

You know once I tried to imagine myself as a professor, and what played out in my mind was scene after scene exactly as you describe here...

Honestly, sometimes I believe I would lose my mind.

My high school history teacher looked exactly like G Gordon Liddy. And now that I think about it, I vaguely recall being in your office and wondering what the hell Liddy was doing in there. I could be mashing memories tho...

I enjoyed the poem btw.




cbertsch From: cbertsch Date: April 13th, 2005 02:43 pm (UTC) (LINK TO SPECIFIC ENTRY)

Re: heh

Mashing memories! I like that formulation. It's not so bad. I just want to read more than I have time to read.

I've loved your experiment by the way. Too crazy to comment, but K and I both liked the first version of that "pop" poem a lot. I liked the second one too -- I don't think she saw it -- though I'm not sure it was better.
art_thirst From: art_thirst Date: April 13th, 2005 02:12 pm (UTC) (LINK TO SPECIFIC ENTRY)
Gawd, grading written papers is so sad... I'm doing it myself for our only two. I assigned two one-page gallery papers but, they don't seem to understand, even after being told, that a univ. scholarly type paper should NOT be a diaristic, running narrative of ones walk through the gallery. Too much, I, my and me. Too much, to me, in my opinion, and such. Too many subject-verb disagreements. Too many typos and grammatical errors. Even without proof-reading they still don't use a dictionary to find out the meaning of the words they're using. Totally misused words. I gave most papers a "C" and, they're up in arms talking about the content. Well, give me a paper that's written better! Again, some didn't even say what gallery they went to. A couple didn't even have their names on the papers! One wrote a paper and put the gallery in a different city then, claimed they were only a few blocks away. So? It's a different city. She also said the work seemed like porn only she didn't have a clue the organization was a gay/lesbian arts group AND, the work was reviewed and cleared for exhibition since it's in a county run facility AND, obviously NOT porn. She's all upset because I questioned her paper asking if she had done enough to find out about the exhibtion before writing the paper. I called the county facility on the phone and found out what was going on in about 5 min. Oh well...
cbertsch From: cbertsch Date: April 13th, 2005 02:41 pm (UTC) (LINK TO SPECIFIC ENTRY)
I'm sorry. I'm actually rather lucky this semester. Most of my students write decently, though they don't do much proofreading. But the experience of meeting with one after another makes me antsy after a couple hours. Way to stick to your non-violent "guns"!
art_thirst From: art_thirst Date: April 13th, 2005 07:04 pm (UTC) (LINK TO SPECIFIC ENTRY)
Well, this is a studio art course however, they should know what it means to write a paper for a college course, any college course. I mean, I told them (several times) "informal" in the univ. only means that a bibliography or citation listing was not required, not informal like two friends talking. And, just in general conversation during lectures or critiques, I said that as a university student they *should* be using the library (cringe) and, they *should* buy a dictionary for writing papers because they will need one (wince). Oh well, live and learn the hard way.
frostedfuckhead From: frostedfuckhead Date: April 13th, 2005 08:38 pm (UTC) (LINK TO SPECIFIC ENTRY)
My brother Troy is an artist/writer who graduated from the U of A a few years back. He told me in passing one day that 90% of the artists he knows are incapable of writing well, regardless of their artistic prowess.

Honestly, though, I really don't think the 90% figure is limited to just artists... Writing skills are just not up to snuff across the board, english majors included. I know the English/Linguistics department at U of A was all in a huff about it a few semesters ago...
art_thirst From: art_thirst Date: April 14th, 2005 03:35 am (UTC) (LINK TO SPECIFIC ENTRY)
That's not an excuse. It's just laziness. If a student knows they're having trouble writing they can get help from the Writing Center. What I'm talking about, for a one page paper, is that one needs to proof-read the paper before turning it in. If even that little bit of effort took place the papers would be MUCH better. Proof-reading means setting the paper down for a day then, pick it up and read it again. I ALWAYS have corrections to make when I do that. That's such a simple thing to do. I'm not talking about using complex sentence structure or, word usage of the theorist. For instance, if the student decides that they want to use jargon or arts speak, they should understand what they're saying.

The main concern I have is that if a student, or anyone, says they like a work of art, they need to say what and why they like it. In other words, they need to think about the things discussed during critiques (composition, balance, relationships of various elements, subject matter, ideational content, etc.) and say something intelligent. "I like it," doesn't cut it in an academic environment as ones only response.
cbertsch From: cbertsch Date: April 14th, 2005 04:58 am (UTC) (LINK TO SPECIFIC ENTRY)
I agree. Everything seems so rushed these days that half-assed work is everywhere. Students seem to follow the trend.
From: jodi3425 Date: April 14th, 2005 01:36 pm (UTC) (LINK TO SPECIFIC ENTRY)

grading is hell

My project over the last few years has been to do my best to act really interested. And, with the hideous papers, to tell the poor student that they have not been well served by the school if they write so horribly. But what is really getting me is that they think that every single they read is a novel--Locke's Second Treatise, a novel; Federalist Papers, a novel; Supreme Court opinion, you guessed it, a novel. And this means that I really need to take an acting class ....
cbertsch From: cbertsch Date: April 14th, 2005 07:38 pm (UTC) (LINK TO SPECIFIC ENTRY)

Re: grading is hell

Wait, you mean they aren't novels? I guess they forget to tell the English Department. . . :-)

Seriously, I often am at least somewhat interested in what they are saying. But I'm overwhelmed with an interest that trumps my professional interest.
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