It is those deep, far-away things in him, those occasional flashings-forth of...– Herman Melville on Shakespeare, from Hawthorne and His Mosses
That's Just Like, Your Opinion, Man
One of the most popular units I teach is a pairing of A Confederacy of Dunces and the film The Big Lebowski, for my Literature and Film course (the unit is on cult classics). It follows on the heels of reading and watching The Big Sleep (which Lebowski is loosely based on) alongside other noir classics. Most teachers do a double-take when they hear that I show The Big Lebowski in class. I am...
Tell them there are no holes for your fingers in the masks of men. Tell them how could you ever even hope to love what you can’t grab onto. —David Foster Wallace I dreamed she married the only man I’ve ever truly loved. I’m sorry, she apologized with flashing green eyes, behind which something sinister swivels on a certain pivot we only sometimes glimpse and whisper...
It’s a basic inside/outside problem. I don’t know where I end and the world begins. My best guess? Skin. It’s the only actual boundary between the body and the world, between a body and any other body. Crush, at its core, is about rupture. The desire to touch, the gesture of touching, becomes dangerous, damaging, after the hand, withheld for so long, finally makes an attempt at contact....
At approximately 4:52pm, the following took place in the front office of a private high school: Me: How was your meeting with the head of the Education PhD program at [redacted prestigious university down the road]? A: [motions me over, in hushed tones] Well….it was unnerving? Me: Because it was [redacted prestigious university down the road]? A: Well….actually…I walked into...
How Finland Became an Educational Leader →
How did Finland manage to elevate the role of teacher in the eyes of the population to something that is not just an honorable profession, but a revered profession, whereas in the United States, teachers are so regularly denigrated? They really think about teachers as scientists and the classrooms are their laboratories. So, as I mentioned — every teacher has to have a masters degree, and...
Doubling in the Middle →
Roger Angell, a writer for the New Yorker since the 1940s, once described palindromes as “a literary form in which the story line is controlled by the words rather than by the author.” My sense is that Duncan would probably say that’s a description of other people’s palindromes. Because part of what makes him a master is his refusal to cede control. When things are going really well with a Barry...
I think people who enjoy short stories have a special gland, one that responds...– Adam Marek, from “Short Circuit”