Extended Blog Assignment

Later on this term, we are going to work on a narrative that requires some detailed observations you are going to make this weekend. You don’t have a ton of AP homework over Thanksgiving. You do have this really fun extended blog.

Task: OBSERVE & RECORD.

Oftentimes, on Thanksgiving, family and friends gather and eat and celebrate. It sounds fantastic. Sometimes. You’ll learn more about this as you get older, but a common irony of family get-togethers to celebrate is that family can be incredibly annoying and dysfunctional at times. Watch the Thanksgiving film Home for the Holidays with Holly Hunter, and you’ll know what I mean.

Anyway. I pretty much just want you to tell me about your family. Record your observations, tell stories, note traditions. Write a lot. I want you to write a lot more than you’ve been writing for your previous blog posts. This is an extended journal. Like, you should be writing for at least an hour.

You can do this in multiple posts, or one big post-information-dump. It should be narrative, or descriptive, or in a list, or include pictures–it should be personal and funny and beautiful; but most important it just has to be. This is your forethought, your brainstorming, where you get it all down (remember, that’s Lammott’s advice, first in Shitty First Drafts–this is your down draft). It might not be the essay you come back to later. Or, you might find it’s about Christmas or some other holiday that’s not Thanksgiving, or some other thing about family that’s not even about the holiday that it’s “about” on the surface. 

Tell me about your Thanksgiving. Tell me what you observe this weekend, and then let the reflections that come directly from those observations inform what else you include in your post.

Be observant. Maybe you’re noticing secret metaphors that live around your house, like the only pictures your mother hangs are in black and white, or your father is always in charge of the turkey, because it turns out your mother burned it the first year they were married and has been embarrassed about it ever since. Maybe you always play canasta. Maybe you go shopping with your friends on black Friday and only buy presents for yourselves. Maybe you decorate your tree.

Create round characters of your family members: maybe your uncle Jim always wears that yellow shirt with the airpit stains that match the same brown as your grandmother’s gravy.

Reflect on the essay we read today: Barry’s Lost/Turkeys in the Kitchen. His essay, turns out, is pretty significant, a character- and image-driven piece that defines a tradition and comments on social dynamics and gender roles. Another piece that you should read that we didn’t have time for is Grace by Kevin Kling. It’s on Moodle and my website. Go find it. Go read it. I bet both Kling and Barry wrote a blog post just like this one before they wrote those essays.

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Other work: Remember that you won’t get class time to work on your blog study. Because your only other homework is this really fun and awesome blog post, you should be tracking your blog and keeping up with your journals. Don’t procrastinate on this. Just don’t. You’ll regret it so hard come January if you do.

BLA reading.

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What else? Happy Thanksgiving! Check each other’s blogs over break–comment and joke and enjoy. I’ll probably be blogging, too.

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