Failed Audiences Part 2

Still feeling as if writing and reading does not matter to my students this morning with only one cup of coffee in my belly. But I am starting to lighten up with the worry. Starting to let it go. I felt the same way about math and science back in the day. What do I need to learn this for I would think in Life Science class and even chemistry and biology. (It wasn’t until I read CP Snow’s the Two Cultures that I started to think about the way I think and they way academia is organized.)

But as a teacher and writer I am frustrated with the differing skill level. I have only a few students who swim with Joan Didion and love more advanced essays–others resist the length and depth of the essays. But I am a believer in giving them more advanced work. Maybe I am selfish. And I am more and more wanting to go over material that interests me in class. Probably why I dropped fiction from the 112 course and picked up only creative non-fiction. I love fiction but I feel the non-fiction serves them better and I also make them write a similar literary analysis. I find myself wanting to have those discussions more and more. Discussions of literary journalism and discussions of interviews and also discussions of persona and analysis of fictive elements applied to non-fiction or factual writing.

But I worry if it is too advanced for the student here. D says don’t worry about it–like Mike Rose argues they will rise to the level you set. Like Stand and Deliver–calculus to high school students in order to better serve them. And I do feel they need to experience different sorts of texts and appreciate what we read in RollingStone and Outside magazine–what I read in Hunter S. and also Didion.

Like Hugo states, every minute of class I am unintentionally trying to make them write–and I assume also read–like me. So maybe I will move into next week and the discussion of Chuck Palahnuik’s Stranger Than Fiction collection of essays with hope. Hope they will appreciate just how much I obsess over these classes and the content–the course schedule.

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john paul jaramillo

John Paul Jaramillo’s debut story collection The House of Order was named a 2013 Int’l Latino Book Award Finalist, and his most recent work Little Mocos is now available from Twelve Winters Press. In 2013 Latino Boom: An Anthology of U.S. Latino Literature listed Jaramillo as one of its Top 10 New Latino Authors to Watch and Read. He is currently a professor of composition and literature at Lincoln Land College-Springfield, Illinois.

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