So this isn’t really a love letter to George Orwell. Maybe I’ll write one this weekend once I’ve finished the remaining final exam essays (they’re slowgoing folks, but I’ll enter the scores as soon as I finish them all) but I won’t make any promises. I also have a confession to make: my obsession with Orwell is maybe slightly inflated for the good of the class. I’m more obsessed with Didion. And Alexie. And Bernard Cooper. And Annie Dillard. And Mike Rose. OH MY GOD, MIKE ROSE! You guys, you still probably don’t believe me or care when I tell you how incredible and revered the authors published in your 50 Essays book are. But they are great! They are outstanding! Learn from them. Carry them with you in your pocket. Let them whisper sweet nothings to you when you sit down to write your next paper for whatever class you walk into next week. Carry your voice into that classroom too. Carry your close reading skills and your knowledge of Orwell’s advice and Didion’s attention detail.
Evidently this just turned into a love letter to 50 Essays.
Truthfully, though, I want to say thanks. Thanks for humoring me with weird font assignments and mysterious instructions. Thanks for not throwing a tantrum in the middle of the floor when you learned of a new assignment (I’m sure you saved it for your parents) and for not lacing your essays with anthrax. I hope that in the process of “murdering your GPA” (as you like to say) this class taught you a thing or two that you didn’t know before and will undoubtedly need in the future, because rhetoric is EVERYTHING. Regardless of what you go on to study, where you go to college, where you end up working, and what you end up doing, in your adult lives you’ll be forced to decipher arguments every day (every moment, really) and defend your views and express yourself. I sincerely hope you see that this class has given you some tools for that and I sincerely hope you continue to write. Guess where you can do that?
ON YOUR BLOG!
I’ve heard a number of you say that you’re “totally going to keep blogging” because you’ve become just a little bit obsessed with it and after studying those super awesome blogs (some of which make their authors a pretty penny) you want to write like they do. You want to be funny and clever and personable like your bloggers. You want to sit down to your computer every day and write: DEAR INTERNET… You say you’re gonna do it because you’ve finally begun to write with voice and you want to keep working on it. You’re gonna do it!
You will get sidetracked. You will get busy. You will get stressed about your next class and make erroneous claims about GPA murder and sabotage. (And anyone within earshot who graduated from AP comp will cry FALLACY!) You will forget. You will give it up. And then maybe sometime in the future you will pick it up again. I have five blogs. I only write on this one these days, but the other ones had their fifteen minutes of fame too. One became a place to house all of my poetry, one became one of those delightfully random blogs about cooking and yoga and girl sass and politics and being married and being a twentysomething. It’s nice to be able to “try on” writing identities with blogs because you can maintain an anonymous real identity so there’s no risk. But if you remember our chats about risk and writing, you’ll smell a problem here. When your real name is attached, there’s something at stake. When there’s something at stake, you’re invested. When you’re invested, you’re less likely to give up. So, invest. Keep blogging.
On that note, I want to keep you all linked to my blog so I can spy on you and your writing, but out of respect for your privacy, I won’t. Unless you tell me I can keep you. Then I will!
But before I unlink you all, I’m going to “assign” you one more blog post: open topic. Go find some cool stuff and link it. Write about how much you
hate love me. Write about writing. Re-do a “Why I Write” post. Whatever you want. Or blow it off because it’s not a real assignment, but you have no homework this weekend, so come on. Oh, and it looks like Prokott posted THREE TIMES TODAY so that’s cool (nerd). I was at the U of M sitting in my class talking about cognitive dissonance and sociolinguistics so I couldn’t sit around and blog. But she probably wrote some of the same things I wrote here. Go check it out.
While you’re off checking things out, if you never explored the things I have linked on you blog here (let’s talk about typos, shall we? I don’t even know what I was trying to type when that gem emerged, but I’m pretty sure it should say on the blog or on my blog or something) you should do that. Especially this, this, this, and this.
I’m directing you to funny things because I get really awkward when I try to talk about emotional things like appreciating my students and being sad that I won’t see them all on Monday and blah blah blah so, fine, I’ll miss you. Despite how it may have seemed on my crabbier days, I enjoyed you all very much and wish you the best.