Monday, June 16, 2008

These Historic Times

Folks, a very exciting day in Detroit and Flint -- Barack Obama came through the area and he received Al Gore's endorsement. I was particularly impressed, during the Flint speech (I haven't heard all of the Detroit speech yet), when Barack recalled how Abraham Lincoln advocated, during wartime, a number of sweeping, farsighted ideas like the Homestead Act and the Land Grant school system (of course, he also ended slavery in the South as a wartime measure). Too, Barack Obama brought up a number of FDR's programs during the Great Depression. I think this gives us a glimpse of how much impact he plans to have in this time of national crisis, should he win the election in November.

At the same time, John McCain admits he doesn't know how to turn on a computer, let alone navigate the internet. Is this the modern guy Americans want immediately after G.W. Bush? Look carefully at John McCain's hands, by the way, and let me know what you see.

Since I'm teaching basic composition this summer, here's a grab bag of writing prompts used in the past (many shared by or with other instructors as tried and true):

Write about . . .

A person, place, thing or event that changed your life for better or for worse
The story of a scar
A relationship that changed
Conflict: Choosing between two or more courses of action
A secret revealed or uncovered and its consequences
An altered state
Fave/least fave holiday or special occasion
Tattoo/piercing story
Conflict at work/school/home/etc.
Gender specifics/contrasts
A superstition or supernatural event
Election issue of personal importance
If you had 30 days with expenses paid to go anywhere – where? Why?
Visitor, roommate or guest who turned out better or worse than expected
Something you wanted, then once you had it, didn’t want; or, a bad gift
A place you shouldn’t have been
Detroit: past, present or future
When words matter -- a time when someone said something to you that affected you.
Write about a situation where you felt pressured to lie and the consequences
Write about a holiday experience
An experience with either pain or illness

Other matters. Gay marriages in California began today: very historic and, also, amusing to see some of the apoplectic responses by those who feel threatened by the idea and now reality of them. Good luck to the newlyweds! It'll be interesting to see how the divorce rates turn out over time, too. What's especially cool is that these California marriages will be valid throughout the USA. Buckle your seat belts!

Finally for now, John Dufresne's Requiem, Mass.: A Novel (W. W. Norton) comes out on July 21, 2008 (cover pictured above). I look forward to it! Dufresne is a favorite.

Today's Rune: Breakthrough.


JR's Thumbprints said...

I read a John Dufresne "How-to-Write" book and didn't find it very helpful--it seemed too silly and not serious enough. Maybe his fiction is better.

As for McCain not knowing how to use the internet, or turn on a computer -- are you kidding? In this day and age. He should go into denial mode and act like an expert on the subject.

lulu said...

I have about 50 "how to" books about writing, but have always found my best prompts online on teacher websites.

Charles Gramlich said...

"The Story of a Scar" is a great title. I might have to steal that one.

McClain can't navigate the internet? OK, game over.

the walking man said...

b b b ut he was in a horror of a prison camp being a hero when you kids were snot nose wet behind the ears prepubescent neophytes playing with your Tandy 1000's.

Glad to see Obama finally made the party. There was an interesting Op-Ed Piece in the Free Press about how MI has been a swing state for so long, always at the teat party but the first guest to be shown the door afterwards once the nominee goes to president. It is going to take massive Government investment in the nuts and bolts of the infrastructure to pull this nation and its working people out of the hole. Is everyone ready for the ride on the mega coaster called starting over?

Damn Erik!! you should of told me you were teaching basic comp I could have used another 3 credits towards a degree and learned something more about writing. Of course I do believe Prof. Brooks may have warned you off letting me in,

Where are you teaching at or is it a state secret?

"An Altered State" I was hemming my pants when the air raid siren started shrieking. It looked like an air raid siren but I thought it a hive, the way I kept getting stung by the hornets flying out from there...

Erik Donald France said...

Haha ;->

Danken alles for zee comments.

Dufresne's Love Warps the Mind a Little is a good place to start.

Charles, steal away!

Mark/WM: Macomb South, an 1180
(118) this summer. Winter was 1190.
1180 is a lot more fun as far as prompts go.

GObama! He has an elegant plan to boost community colleges with tax breaks for students, among other good ideas.