Bookmarked The Consecrated Heretic, Down Under (Snakes and Ladders)

An explanation of these contradictions may come from the other end of the world. The sociologist Pierre Bourdieu has argued that France produces, from time to time, a peculiar kind of figure whom he calls the “consecrated heretic.” Voltaire is one example; Rousseau another; Sartre a third. The consecrated heretic is an artist or intellectual who plants his feet firmly in the riverbed and faces the social current upstream, refusing to be carried along by it. He mocks conventional wisdom; he scandalizes ordinary people by what he believes, what he says, how he acts. Of course, many people do this, but only a tiny handful are celebrated for it, are seen as indispensable threads in the social fabric. The passionate earnestness of these few is acknowledged; they are clearly dedicated in their own perverse way to the common good. Eventually the nation’s major institutions seek to bestow high honors on such heretics, who of course turn aside disdainfully, which makes them treasured all the more. Les Murray is the chief consecrated heretic of Australia.

Alan Jacobs discusses the work on the late Les Murray.
Replied to Bell work: ensuring students write every lesson (Bianca Hewes)

Students will work on these mini writing tasks whilst I mark the role and log in to GSuite… just getting myself organised for the lesson. This time is usually just wasted as kids saunter in, chat to each other, muck around on their laptops and phones. I have had great success with my juniors reading quietly for the first 10 minutes of each lesson, and I wanted something similar to settle and focus year 12.

I love these short provocations Bianca. I remember teaching VCE English when they brought in themes and it really challenged people about how learning is structured. I like how using the ‘bell work’ allows you to explore a range of ideas and genres.
Liked Cory Doctorow’s ‘Radicalized’ reveals our dystopian technological future in four tales (latimes.com)

Science fiction author Cory Doctorow talks about “Radicalized,” his new collection of novellas that take on political and social themes relevant now.

Marginalia

I have nothing but respect for Charlie, but this stuff doesn’t bother me in the way it bothers him. I think of [sci fi] as a reflective literature, not a predictive one. Moreover, I think the themes of the novellas in this book are sadly evergreen, even if the particulars change.

Replied to Getting Comfortable with Being Uncomfortable | Learning & Leading by an author

To borrow from my previous post I mentioned that Riss had led us through the “writing process” and shared the the 5 core steps in that process;

  1. Pre writing planning,
  2. Drafting,
  3. Revising,
  4. Editing,
  5. Publishing.

Fair call to say that I skipped step one and went directly to step two. My plan is to now ‘revise’ the above piece (which i’ll be more comfortable in sharing albeit still uncomfortable in doing so), and then edit, and finally publish.

Enjoying your return to the blogosphere Corrie. I was left thinking about you rush to write and wonder if there is still a place for such activities to help stimulate thoughts and ideas? Sometimes having something as a start allows you to easily identify what might be missing and other opportunities that might be available.
Bookmarked What Shakespeare Left Out by an author (The Mary Sue)

While many of his words are indelible in the mind, I’d like to see artists treat Shakespeare’s works the way he approached his many source stories, with a sense of play and transformation. We continue to perform these plays again and again, rehearsing and reiterating this language, even though our strict adherence to what’s set down on the page (even if it appears in several versions) is a fairly recent development. New works in the Shakespearean sphere can take the basics of what the Bard gave us and transform those elements into something that better speaks to our world, giving back some of what he left out.

Katherine Duckett reflects on Shakespeare’s legacy and discusses some of the elements that he left out. Her topics include successful rebellions, healthy relationships, mother’s and independent women. It is an interesting excercise to stop and consider what an author chooses not to cover in a particular text.
Replied to The Personal Essay Project (Bianca Hewes)

This year we are embarking on transdisciplinary learning for the first time. What is transdisciplinary learning, you ask? Well, it feels like what we sometimes call cross-curricula or multi-discipl…

I often find myself getting trapped in the thinking that PBL needs to be ‘practical’, what you capture here Bianca is the ability to take ‘personal’ action by finding voice. Thank you for sharing.
Liked How The Very Hungry Caterpillar Became a Classic (The Atlantic)

Part of why both kids and parents love The Very Hungry Caterpillar is because it’s an educational book that doesn’t feel like a capital-E Educational book. Traditionally, children’s literature is a didactic genre: “It teaches something,” Martin says, “but the best children’s books teach without kids knowing that they’re learning something.” In The Very Hungry Caterpillar, she adds, “you learn the days of the week. You learn colors. You learn the fruits. You learn junk-food names. In the end, you learn a little bit about nutrition, too: If you eat a whole bunch of junk food, you’re not going to feel that great.” Yet, crucially, none of the valuable information being presented ever feels “in your face,” Martin says.

Liked Toni Morrison on ‘Beloved’ (Shondaland)

Beloved originated as a general question, and was launched by a newspaper clipping. The general question (remember, this was the early eighties) centered on how — other than equal rights, access, pay, etc. — does the women’s movement define the freedom being sought? One principal area of fierce debate was control of one’s own body — an argument that is as rife now as it was then. Many women were convinced that such rights extended to choosing to be a mother, suggesting that not being a mother was not a deficit and choosing motherlessness (for however long) could be added to a list of freedoms; that is, one could choose to live a life free of and from child- bearing and no negative or value judgment need apply.

An excerpt from the celebrated author’s latest book, “The Source of Self-Regard.”
Liked 10 Contemporary “Dickensian” Novels (Literary Hub)

So, despite the fact that it’s often inaccurate and reductive and possibly immoral, I understand why we like to call novels “Dickensian.” Over 200 years after the writer’s death, we’re just looking to recapture the feeling his canonical works gave us in some of our contemporary literature. If that sounds like something you’re interested in, some suggestions below.

Bookmarked The Trouble With Autism in Novels by an author (nytimes.com)

The disorder is poorly understood. Should novelists be able to make it mean whatever they want?

Marie Myung-Ok Lee reflects on the place of autism within literature and discusses some of the issues with this.

The crux of the issue is that with autism there is often, not metaphorically but literally, a lack of voice, which renders the person a tabula rasa on which a writer can inscribe and project almost anything: Autism is a gift, a curse, super intelligence, mental retardation, mystical, repellent, morally edifying, a parent’s worst nightmare. As a writer, I say go ahead and write what you want. As a parent, I find this terrifying, given the way neurotypical people project false motives and feelings onto the actions of others every day.

Interestingly, Myung-Ok Lee does not mention Mark Haddon’s The Curious Incident of the Dog in the Night-Time. I remember reading Haddon’s thoughts on the matter in a review:

I think it’s true there are two types of kids as school. One type probably breezes through school like gazelles across the veldt. For the more troubled types on the edge of the playground, how you get from one day to the next is a mystery. All writers come from the latter, because only if you’re in that group does the working of the human mind become an object of interest.”

Bookmarked A New Approach for Listening by an author

I am not into frameworks so these are just suggestions for an approach to listening. It may not be rocket science but these are my thoughts…it starts with recognizing that our listening is limited by what we hear (how widely we are exposed to diverse ideas and how deeply we interact with them) and also how we hear (how open we are, how aware of our own biases and where others are coming from) and how we notice what we don’t hear (silence, between lines).

Maha Bali reflects on the different approaches to listening, including widely, deeply, openly, repeatedly, outside, inside, to silence, between the lines and to take action. On the flip side, Bali warns about lip service listening.
Liked WALL·E by an author (Typeset in the Future)

From a trash-filled Earth to the futuristic Axiom and back again, WALL·E is a finely crafted balance between consumerist dystopia and sixties space-race optimism. Please join me, then, for a detailed dive into the uniquely robotic future of a remarkably human film, as seen through the eyes of its eponymous hero, WALL·E.

Liked The Avid Reader: Helen Schulman on As I Lay Dying (Literary Hub)

More astonishing to me was that in mining his characters’ thoughts and private struggles, Faulkner used elevated maximalist language, the poetic and truest manifestation of these poor country people’s psyches and souls—and not the inarticulate staccato utterances that we hear realistically employed in active dialogue in scenes. This lashing together of characters and readers, through the tongues of the angels, is I think the most brilliant of all his moves. I felt as if knew each one to the marrow, their secrets and their sorrows, and most intriguingly to me their selfish inner motivations, the motors that made them run.

Bookmarked What the earliest fragments of English reveal (bbc.com)

The earliest fragments of English reveal how interconnected Europe has been for centuries, finds Cameron Laux. He traces a history of the language through 10 objects and manuscripts.

This collection of historical artefacts is insightful both from the perspective of language, as well as the origins associated with each. It seems that every piece involves some element of luck as to how it survived that it makes you wonder the texts that have been lost over time and how this may impact our appreciation of the past.
Bookmarked If you want to be a writer, you have to be a reader first by an author

It’s been said a million times — it’s one of the main points of my books Steal Like An Artist and Show Your Work! — and yet, it still seems to be controversial or confusing to young people who are starting out: If you want to be a writer, you have to be a reader first.

Austin Kleon provides a collection of quotes outlining the importance of reading before writing. It is interesting to think about this in regards to J. Hillis Miller’s argument that reading itself is an act of writing:

As we read we compose, without thinking about it, a kind of running commentary or marginal jotting that adds more words to the words on the page. There is always already writing as the accompaniment to reading.

Liked On Reading (Julian Stodd’s Learning Blog)

Reading is the process of gently breaking yourself: eroding dogma, undermining opinion, fracturing certainty. It’s a continual process of renewal: evaluating the things that we are sure are true, against new evidence that our certainty maybe unfounded, leaving us with the choice of growth, or stagnation. It’s an aggregated activity: we may not read one page that changes us, but the pages, in aggregate, change us immeasurably. If we are open to the opportunity.