Exhibit 1.7.13



Apparently the only people more obsessed with my Chris O’Donnell-in-the-mid-90s-like locks than Mathias were all in my literature class last fall. We read work from Colson Whitehead, Anne Carson, Zadie Smith, Joseph O’Neill, Selah Saterstrom, and many, many amazing writers, but when I got my evaluations back, a theme emerged not related to the fracturing of the self in contemporary fiction:












And in case you think this is some kind of bragging and not the result of deep-seeded frustration to have made a real impact on the intellectual lives of many of my students, know that it wasn’t all positive:



Sometimes I worry even my own students won’t get my forthcoming experimental novel I Am Your Haircut.

1 Comment / Posted in Fiction, Mathiases, Teaching

Exhibit 1.1.5

Where I’m At

This is the subject line of an email sent to the creative writing program listserve:

This is not a joke. Some foundation at the university bought a shrimp boat and the CWP is really, really excited about it. And in case you think I’m somehow making fun of this enthusiasm for shrimp boat-based writing pedagogy, I’m not, not as long as the course is one long series of metaphors about being the captain of one’s own writing, navigating the treacherous waters of revision, and fishing for inspiration. Also, the final exam should probably cover port and starboard.

If you’re interested, there is–shockingly–still room in the class. O, and by room in the class, I mean berths in the class.

Shrimp boat!

Disclaimer: I’m sure the shrimp boat is actually a great idea for connecting with the local gulf community or whatever the rationale is. I just happen to think the phrase shrimp boat is funny. Please don’t pull my funding. I love you, CWP Shrimp Boat.

1 Comment / Posted in Shrimp Boat, Teaching, Unanswered questions

Exhibit 27.21


If you witnessed my student conferences, you would hear me say the following things approximately exactly 52 times:

1. The papers will be graded by Friday.

2. Remember when we talked about triangles?

3. Z.Z. Packer’s essay was not the one about shooting an elephant.

4. This might be Mr. Ruder’s office, at least if he’s that guy who eats soup here all the time. Does he sometimes smell like soup?

5. [incomprehensibly hand gestures meant to demonstrate structure]

6. Literacy narratives can totally be about middle school basketball.

7. O, this is her office, too. Don’t worry, she’s not silently judging you.

8. I don’t know, what do you think teaching assistant means?

9. The papers will be graded by Friday. Um, no, not this Friday.

10. Interesting, interesting, I like this idea, no, not that, stop talking, go back to what you said before, not that far back, look, just make something up.

Comment / Posted in Conferences, School, Teaching

Exhibit 24.23


This was only the second time I’ve gone to AWP (a conference for writers/writing programs/men with western shirts), but that’s enough to recognize this feeling of anti-personhood I’ve brought home. I’ve got to go teach now. Of course, I don’t know what to teach my students other than how to erase themselves with static.

What I’m trying to say is, I’m tired. Be gentle.

Comment / Posted in Conferences, Erasure, Teaching

Exhibit 24.11

What It’s Like to Have a Student Conference with Me, Pt. 5

You: When are we going to get our essays back?
Me: I think maybe I talk about the basketball team too much.

Comment / Posted in Basketball, Conferences, Teaching

Exhibit 24.10

What It’s Like to Have a Student Conference with Me, Pt. 4

Me: Sorry, I share this office. Ignore that other conference.
You: Okay.
Me: Did you hear that?
You: What?
Me: I think she said enthymeme.
You: What’s that?
Me: I don’t know. I don’t even know how to pronounce it.
Me: En-time-ee.
You: That’s not how she said it.
Me: Man, she seems like a great teacher. You should try to transfer into her class.
You: It’s too late for that.
Me: En-ta-mean.

Comment / Posted in Conferences, Teaching, Transfer

Exhibit 24.9

What It’s Like to Have a Student Conference with Me, Pt. 3

Me: [here]
You: [not]
Me: I’m so alone.
You: [frantic email]

1 Comment / Posted in Conferences, Email, Teaching

Exhibit 24.8

What It’s Like to Have a Student Conference with Me, Pt. 2

You: Good morning.
Me: Are you my first student?
You: Yep.
Me: Do you have a key to my office?
You: No.
Me: [knocks, waits]
Me: This conference is cancelled.

Comment / Posted in Conferences, Keys, Teaching

Exhibit 24.7

What It’s Like to Have a Student Conference with Me

Me: Essay?
You: Which one?
Me: The first one. No, we’ll do the second one first.
You: Okay.
Me: [looks at notebook for thirty seconds]
You: Did you have a question about it?
Me: Stop being racist.
You: What?
Me: Wait, you’re not Sara.

Comment / Posted in Conferences, Saras, Teaching

Exhibit 22.20

The Post Where I Paste Things from Twilight Wikipedia Pages

* “In the months that follow, Bella learns thrill-seeking activities, such as motorcycle riding…”

* “Meanwhile, a series of miscommunications leads Edward to believe that Bella has killed herself.”

* “The story opens with the revelation that Seattle, Washington is being plagued by a string of unsolved murders, which Edward suspects is caused by a new vampire that is unable to control its thirst for human blood. As Edward and Bella apply to colleges…”

* “Bella explains to Jacob that while she loves him, her love for Edward is greater. After receiving a wedding invitation from Edward, Jacob runs away in his wolf form to escape his pain…”

* “Edward, concerned for Bella’s life and convinced that the fetus is a monster as it continues to develop with unnatural rapidity, urges her to have an abortion. However, Bella feels a pull towards the child and refuses to go through with the procedure.”

* “Jacob, who was present for the birth, almost immediately ‘imprints’—an involuntary response in which a werewolf finds his soul mate—on Edward and Bella’s newborn daughter, Renesmee.”

I needed to read all of that for my teaching. Well, not all of it. I’m just, you know, dedicated.

Seriously though, I had no idea those books were about an centenarian who picks up a 14-year-old, gets her pregnant, then urges her to “take in an Astros game.” I would say the girl should have chosen the other guy, but the other guy somehow tops that by claiming her demon baby as his bride the minute it’s born. So, um, I don’t know, maybe she should try online dating. There must be some normal dude who likes motorcycles out there.

I have thought about this too much. I might need a new hobby. Or to be a worse teacher. Yeah, I’ll go with that one.

2 Comments / Posted in Bad Ideas, Teaching, Vampires