Tuesday, March 30, 2010

Blasphemy From Your Lit Teacher

For the sake of the title on this post, we'll ignore the fact that I don't actually have a job teaching. I officially received my teaching certificate in the mail, so I'm a teacher dangit!

So here are some confessions about myself as a Literature scholar. I started college with this great intention of studying all kinds of different literature, but to be honest, I could only take the classes that would fit into my time schedule between working and going to school. That's a bit of a bummer, but what are you going to do right? There were a lot of classes I wanted to take, and maybe some day I will go back and take them just for the sake of taking them, but because of the way my schedule was structured, I ended up with a heavy emphasis on American Literature. This was surprising to me, since I hated American Literature in high school and much preferred the English Lit class I took. This could have something to do with us studying Paradise Lost, Macbeth and Wuthering Heights in the English Lit class. Interesting stuff, though I think I'm the only person I've ever met who lovedWuthering Heights, and it was somewhat foreign so there was something to sink our teeth into. When I took American Lit, we studied Whitman, Thoreau, Edith Wharton and Hawthorne. SNOOZE.

That brings me to my first real confession: I HATE WHITMAN AND THOREAU. Can you say that and still teach literature? I don't know. But I hate them. Like, hate hate hate them. I think I even made a joke about peeing in Walden Pond as we drove past it on our last trip to New England. I can't explain why I hate these guys so much, but I think some of it stems from my dislike of poetry in general, and the poetic lilt that their prose tends to have. Well, Whitman is outright poetry most of the time, but Thoreau is just kind of pretentious. The man wandered off into the woods to live in a cabin by himself and write. He's like ye olde Ted Kaczynski. And he's boring. And he wrote about removing himself from society, but felt it was still approrpriate to make commentary on that which he removed himself from in the first place. Snob.

Second confession: I made it all the way through college and I've never read any Faulkner, Melleville, Emerson, and I've never taken a thorough study in Shakespeare. Yeah. I know, I suck. But, I've read more Mark Twain than most people teaching American Literature have read. And I don't understand why we don't teach more Twain in high school.

And that brings me to another point, why do we teach REALLY boring stuff in high school? I mean, not everything I read was boring, and everyone's idea of boring is different, but Ethan Fromme was BORING. I read The Great Gatsby, which in another teacher's hands might not have been so boring, but that teacher has forever ruined the novel for me. I actually read it again in college for a class and still couldn't get past my ruined experience in high school. I had a hard time finishing the book. But, I will say, the college professor did make it a lot more bearable. In fact, I read a lot of really good American Lit in college, and not all of it was written in 17-something or 18-something. Some of it was written at the turn of the century and is far more relevent to the high school student today than Ethan Frome would be.

It wasn't until college that I discovered J.D. Salinger, and my question is WHY DIDN'T I DISCOVER THIS GUY UNTIL COLLEGE?! Seriously. Holden Caulfield is entirely relateable to teens, so why didn't I read it when I was a teen? In a way, I'm glad I didn't. I don't think I could have appreciated the book the same way as a 16 year old as I did as a 26 year old. Surprisingly, one of my colleagues at Borders was surprised that I could relate to the novel being both adult and female, but I loved it. I couldn't put it down. Many of my female classmates found it unrelateable, but I'm wondering if that's because they don't spend a lot of time with adolescent males, and I was working with a whole bunch of them in the drama department at the time. But, it was still relevent. I mean, if Holden were alive and real today, he'd be surrounded by the Paris Hilton's and Lindsay Lohan's of society, and he'd go stark raving mad, because as much as he postulates in the novel that everyone is a phoney, and we are asked to take pause and wonder if that's true, in today's society it absolutely is. I don't know, the commentary on society as a whole, as seen through the eyes of one very self centered young man, it just kind of made me smile because he wasn't wrong. Flawed in his character and his thinking? Absolutely, but not wrong necessarily.

So there are a couple of confessions. I hate Whitman and Thoreau, I've never read any Faulkner, I love Mark Twain, and I don't understand why Catcher in the Rye isn't taught in more high schools. Sure, there's that sex thing, but get over it. Why do we only pick the boring stuff? There's so much great stuff out there, why the hell aren't we using it?
Also, everyone should read Middlesex by Jeffrey Eugenides because it's fabulous.
Oh, and I've never read any Steinbeck either. Yes, I know that's bad.

Monday, March 29, 2010

Feeling Bloggy

Hope those of you who read my little manifesto on healthcare reform enjoyed it. That would be like....4 people, and none of them follow my blog regularly so....score to me I guess. Gaining followers one controversial topic at a time. Or maybe I'm just gaining one-time readers one controversial topic at a time. I'll take what I can get, I'm not picky. I've been trying to keep my blog relatively politics free, but to be honest, I'm a politically and socially minded person so it would be kind of like keeping part of my blog Becky-Free and well...being that I'm Becky and it's my blog, I sort of have to be here for this to work. So, I'll probably be adding more political and controversial posts here in my own little virtual soap box. Jason picked up some magazines yesterday with some pretty interesting and disturbing articles in them that I'm sure will give me bloggy fodder in the next few days, and since things are currently totally caught up here at work I find myself with time on my hands, and when I have time, you get blogs.

That's kind of a cop out. I have time to blog when I get home from work every night too, I just don't feel like it. I find that after sitting in front of a computer ALL DAY LONG, I don't necessarily want to be on the computer when I get home. Sure, I'll check my Facebook, but as far as writing e-mails and corresponding with people, I don't have the patience for it. I suck at life. It's not that I don't want to keep in touch, I do, I just don't want to type anything out when I could be just sitting on my sofa like a zombie. Incidentally, this job turns me into a zombie. It doesn't require me to think too much, so my brain is a perpetual jello-mold of brain tissue. It just sits there, feeling sluggish and sad. But, I need a paycheck, and I am getting a paycheck for working here so I'm happy to have at least that. But, the point is, I feel zombie-like, and I don't want to send e-mails. I actually think I might be getting a glimpse into what my life looks like when I don't have a million things to do at once. The exodus of my academic life coupled with my lack of ability to work with my drama kids, coupled with the job I'm currently doing seems to turn me into a slug. I think I'm that person who has to have a million things to do to be happy, but now I just have a job and that's it, and I'm a bit bored. And, oddly, I find I'm more tired at the end of the day now than I ever was when I was going to work and school and doing drama stuff. I tie it all back to the lack of brain activity. Must stimulate brain!
Side note: By stimulate brain I mean more than watching Life on Discovery Channel and Jeopardy while eating dinner every night.

So, speaking of jobs, update on the job situation is....there is no update. Nothing. I am actually getting really frustrated because I don't think that they're going to try to keep me on permanently here at my current job after June, which I knew going into this but I figured it wouldn't matter because that would give me 6 months to find a new job. Except that I haven't found a new job. I'm actually struggling to find jobs to post for when I do my daily search of EVERY JOB SITE IN THE HISTORY OF THE WORLD. So, that's frustrating and kind of nerve wracking. Jason's got a job subbing in a classroom until mid-April, although rumors are that they may keep him until the end of the school year, so that's some income we weren't expecting to have, but you can't be a sub in the summer when there is no school, so then it's back to the drawing board for him to find a job, and if I lose this job in June and he has no job starting in June well.....bad news bears. Needless to say, I'm worried. I'm hoping for the best though. I just hope I don't have to go be a cashier at Kroger just to pay my bills. People who are grocery shopping are cranky.

Other than giving myself ulcers worrying about job prospects, there isn't much going on in my world at the moment. Trying to find ways to not feel like a slug, but that's about it. Blah. I actually miss having to do grading and lesson planning from when I was student teaching because it made my brain work. Must reactivate brain! Must be productive!

Also, we bathed the pets this weekend. No pictures because I was too busy trying to keep my blood inside my body while bathing the cats, but they were not amused. Not at all. On the bright side, they all smell soooo nice.

The end.

Wednesday, March 24, 2010

To Your Health

It’s more important to save money than it is to save people.

$$ So I guess when your God said to worship no false idols, he was excluding the almighty dollar $$

The party of the Right, or should we say righteous? They fight to prevent sick children from being cared for.

I think their Christ would disagree.

Let’s fight reform to save the unborn babies, while the already born babies die of disease from lack of treatment.

Let’s knock out cancer, until it becomes too expensive, and it’s cheaper to let a person die than pay their premiums.

For the nation of progress, we become more regressive every day.

We cheer profit, because it can fit on a bank ledger, but we have no understanding of value or worth.

It is not socialism to take care of those who need it; it is called doing the right thing.

But not the Right thing, because that would mean fighting against progress to keep the dollars flowing in from the insurance companies who pay for your campaigns. You must worship the almighty reelection.

We spend a dollar to treat a disease but forget that we are treating a person, but it seems most would prefer we treat neither.

Pain and suffering are nothing to those who can pay to stem them, but for those who can’t, apparently they deserve that.

Perhaps Dickens wrote the first conservative, asking that people die and decrease the surplus population.

And some say they will move because we are doing the right thing, not the Right thing, because they are too blind to see that the greater good is more important than their money.

Please move, please leave, please pack your bags for the next 1st world industrialized nation that does not have healthcare for its people. Let us know when you find it.

But hey, if they leave, imagine how much money it will save when we don’t pay for their care.

We hold these truths to be self evident, that all men are created equal. Until they get sick. Then they’re a liability.

Some say it is unconstitutional to care for the people of a nation. More would argue that no one foresaw the greed this country would fall to. Our founders fought a war to fight oppression, and we wage a war to keep people oppressed.

So, to those who are out there, sick and suffering and without hope of any help, we can do the Right thing and just drink to your health. It’ll be aged Scotch, served in a crystal glass. You won’t mind.

Friday, March 12, 2010

So, I wrote this

And then I posted it.

I saw you today. Not the physical you, obviously, because that’s gone but I saw you just the same. It happened slowly, and then all at once, in one unexpected moment. You weren’t there, and then you were. You were in a smile I saw while in the checkout line at the grocery store, and then later in the laugh I heard from a baby being tickled, and then again later in the pile of clutter on my kitchen table that was both ordered and disordered at the same time. That’s where you were. You were in this habit I have of leaving pieces of myself all throughout the house, a trail of me to be followed so my path is unmistakable. You were in the way I yelled at the dog to stop barking out the window at the neighbors. And you were that nagging voice in the back of my head saying “If you learn to just leave things alone, you don’t stir up as much trouble”. Yes, I saw you. I didn’t think I would, but that’s how these things happen sometimes. Sometimes they only appear when you need them, or when you don’t even realize you need them. Sometimes they sneak up on you from inside a book, or from a page that slips from a photo album. And sometimes, sometimes they’re not there at all. Sometimes that’s ok. But today I saw you, and I’m glad I did. And, what’s more, today you helped me to see me.

Wednesday, March 10, 2010

Waxing Poetic

I'm not sure why, but every once in a while I get this intense urge to be creative. Usually it correlates with a change in the seasons, or it comes out of me working a lot and not having much time for other things. Usually I'm working with the plays at the high school, which pretty much curbs the desire for a creative outlet, but since I can't do that anymore I'm going a bit stir crazy lately. I feel like with things being a bit up in the air and chaotic when it comes to my work life, I really want to focus my home life and keep it as organized and un-chaotic as possible. This has, thus far, been an epic fail. Due to working 50+ hour work weeks at the temp job I hate, I haven't felt much like tackling my home life when I'm actually at home. We made some headway this weekend by hanging our cabinets in the laundry room and clearing some clutter out of the kitchen and living room, but life is far from un-chaotic. And once everything is organized and back to normal so that my house doesn't look like it exploded, I want to focus on doing something creative. I'm not sure what. At Christmas I did some DIY art projects around the house which turned out really well. In the spring I have big plans to do some photography stuff with the new niece and nephew as well as some nature photos I want to take to frame in the house (because why would I buy a black and white picture of a flower for $20 when I can take one and have it printed for $0.60?). I have some plans to build some things, because after my dad built me my bookcase and it turned out really well, I've decided I want to try to build something myself, so we'll see how that goes. I might have some talent for it! But, lately what's been sitting in the back of my mind is something that I used to do and haven't done in years. Did you know I can write? I don't mean like "Duh, obviously, you're writing this blog" but actually sit down and craft a story with plot and characters write. I used to be pretty good at it. I used to fill notebooks with little stories I made up, and I wrote my first play when I was 5. I didn't actaully write it down, I just forced my little sister to act out everything I told her and we performed it for my parents. It was a masterpiece. I don't remember what it was about but I remember I stuck clovers into Cindy's ears at some point. Genius.

Honestly though, I've been thinking about this writing thing. I don't want to make money from it, or sell anything, or even let anyone read it necessarily. I just sort of wonder if I still have any skill. It's disturbing to think you might have peaked at 17. *shudder* Sometimes I dig out one of my old notebooks (I didn't keep many, which might have been dumb in retrospect) and I'll be surprised that I actually wrote the stuff I'm reading. So, maybe I'll write something. Or maybe I won't. It's just something I've been thinking about.