Hello my lovelies, I hope you are all safe and warm on this dreary, dark night in the middle of January.
I am sharing this sweet little interview clip (below) with Danish actor, poet, and painter, Viggo Mortensen -- otherwise known as my favorite actor who I'll never see in a movie (his films are too intense for me). Why am I sharing this clip? In celebration of getting accepted to present at 1st Annual Learning and Teaching Conference at the Des Moines Area Community College. Yay!
Upon learning this news I texted my MFA classmate-in-the-know to double check things. Do I need to actually write an academic paper on my topic? She texted back, yes. A twist of nerves bungled up inside me. Not that I can't write this paper, I can. It's a matter of that commodity that I lack, let's all say it together: time. Bob says I can do it. Viggo, I'm sure would agree. My kids? When I'm happy, they're happy. When I'm busy, they're happy. When I'm not harping on them, they're happy. So I guess its settled, I'm writing an academic paper for fun in my spare time.
So why Viggo? Because he plays the role of the protagonist in the movie that I'll never see, based on the book that I never seem to escape, "The Road" by Cormac McCarthy. But I'm so thankful for this opportunity. Here's what I submitted in my proposal:
Sugar Cookies and Post-Apocalypse: Examining Cormac McCarthy’s “The Road” as a Medium for Teaching Composition
If it’s true that good writing can be taught through good reading, then “The Road,” a novel by Cormac McCarthy, provides a composition instructor with a one stop shop to teach beginning students a myriad of writing tools. In this proposed workshop, we will discuss ways to apply “The Road” as a unit in a composition curriculum, integrating lessons on metaphor, dialogue, setting, character, style, imagery, evaluation, research, and MLA format. The book offers a learning medium that is both exquisite and accessible with stylistic features such as rich language, ample white space, and short sequences.
While it can be daunting to approach McCarthy’s bleak subject matter in the darkness of a three hour night class, or any time of the day, this workshop will encourage instructors to sugar coat the discussion by encouraging classroom participants to bring treats! Dark subject matter can also help teachers to remind students that the goal is more about analysis and less about world view. (Although consideration of the immense themes packed tightly into McCarthy’s writing may provide an extra boost in the overall learning process for students and instructor alike.) Whether workshop attendees are familiar with, or even like “The Road” or not, this workshop will be relevant to their teaching.
Workshop attendees will be invited to bring their own ideas and experience in applying a creative work (including essay and film) to composition instruction. I promise to bring the cookies if invited to present at the 1st Annual Teaching and Learning Conference of the Des Moines Area Community College. Thank you for the opportunity to propose a workshop. Respectfully submitted by Terri Mork Speirs, Instructor, English 105, DMACC Ankeny
Come! I'm hoping some of my students will also join me in the presentation, to give their take on the highs and lows of using this book to learn. (Or maybe to say what a stupid unit it was. Either way, I'm game.)
Thanks for checking out my blog. Cheers to you. Countdown to spring break.
With love from yours truly,
Natural Born Bleeding Heart