Week 3 video for 20th Century Women's Writers



testing testing testing 1 2 3 4 5 hi students this is Professor Gordon at the end of week three last time I was online I didn't see much activity in the forum and really great journal posts but not a lot of them considering how big a class we are so I'm concerned and I know we got off to a bumpy start as I told you I agreed to do this course a little last minute I've been wanting to do one like this for a while I taught a similar course at university of at Bard College Simon's Rock at University of Scranton where I taught for about six years in two different stints as an adjunct I taught at Marist College but not this course and I taught a similar course at University of Massachusetts all those courses however were in person and what I've taught online at Northampton for about 15 years well in person for about eight years and then I moved up away and I continued to do it online for seven or eight years what I've taught is writing one and two so those are writing classes and we do have we do have good discussions but it's not discussion based and I'm struggling to make this course work with last minute and also with I'm I'm I'm a stand-up I'm a performance poet I was gonna say I'm a stand-up comedian I'm not I'm funny my brother is and I'm I like me in the discussion in the classroom and if this class is digging in and they hate a piece or they're just so everybody's overworked and busy and they don't want to talk about poetry I'm usually good at bringing energy and and finding a way to make the semester work with the material and the material can be adapted because the literature course there's so much we can choose from that's why I'm asking suggestions from you for writers you love films we could work in a lot of films we can find you know free online or a couple of dollars if it was really worth it I would ask people to buy it so I'm seeking feedback from you and I'll for the bumpy start this is gonna sound like an excuse and I usually don't give technical excuses to students because then it comes back at me but when I said I would do the course I was told the shell would be there and I would go there and and the whole course would be there and I would you know move people through it and read the essays and join in the discussion but it wasn't there was nothing there so I had very little time to generate content and in the online setting you need a lot of lectures and you need it takes longer to generate content an in-person class I could walk in and you know say what did you think of the Yellow Wallpaper and I've taught it so many times and read it so many times that the content is in me so to speak but all the content that's in me from my studies and reading and life experience it's hard to translate it into text so I'm going to be relying on video more I might need a better webcam and I'm gonna plead with you to get into the forum tell me what you think about those pieces I have a thread this week that was born of a comment someone made in a journal saying where are you going where have you been is a victim-blaming story and I brought that in I've taught it I haven't taught it for a few years but when I teach it I try to say well she's not meaning to blame the victim she's you know all teenagers are kind of goofy and they disrespect their parents sometimes and they flirt sometimes and nobody deserves to have anything bad happens to them because they're flirting or because they're wearing makeup you know that's or any reason you know and whereas the person pointed out in their journal victim-blaming happens all the time we live in a context when when a woman is raped or attacked we live in a context where people often go first to her what was she wearing why was she there on a Tuesday on a Thursday in July you know so I hear that and I want to have more discussion of that is this a story that we should stop teaching it's it's wonderfully written but there's other wonderfully written stories I have had students say should you should keep teaching this this was I love this the power of it and what happens to her at the end Jewish carol oates really is one of those writers that Springs you from bounces you like a trampoline from the story and the people to a higher contemplation of the meaning of things it's like lovely bones you know where we're hearing their narration of someone who's you know I don't want to blow that has everybody seen that someone who's you know been brutally killed we have her perspective the story is told from her perspective so it's like a brilliant literary device and there's much beauty in it you know her vision the the tree and all that and there's much love in it her protecting her sister being so worried about her sister and it's a very satisfying plot at the end and in case you haven't seen that I won't blow that part but so get into that thread if you don't think I should teach the Yellow Wallpaper anymore or that it's not really a feminist icon as people say it is argue for that what should we be reading we have I have the first five weeks planned and then I have some wiggle room Xin the later weeks now as I said in an earlier post which was on my phone given my lateness getting in and the rough start and how I don't have things laid out for you I'm not gonna grade hard I'm not gonna be jumping on you what I need to see is participation in the journal and the forum you need to be in there every week if you can get 60 points every week because they're both 30 and I'll give that 30 I'll give 25 I'll give 20 easily and I'll give 25 if there's a little thinking and I'll give 30 if there's any you know anything that you know makes me raise my eyebrows or you know that is interesting well you just do more work you get that 30 so you get 60 points a week in 10 weeks you got 600 points that's a passing grade even before you wrote any of the essays talk about taking the pressure off okay in other courses that I've set up writing 1 and writing 2 there's a quiz every week on the reading and that's one that's how I can see and they're not that hard most people score high and that's how I can see people are doing most of the reading in this course I haven't had time to set that up so I you need to be in the forum with that that Britta the brainstorm reading check that shows me read at least one piece because you can come up with good questions on it and then you you answer one question by another student and that shows me you read at least two pieces and in the the journal you could do your journal post on one of those too or you could do it on a third one so I'll be like wow this person's reading and thinking a lot or viewing and thinking a lot so but you really need to get in that form and be active and if you hate forms you're taking six online classes and it's it starts to seem empty or like busywork email me that fact and we'll do something else you know if if a lot of people don't like that brainstorms thread that works well and writing one and writing two and a couple people are like oh god you know it's it is hard to think of a new one but the idea is to just stimulate your thinking like if you have to think of ten questions on a ten line poem you're gonna you're gonna be forced to think about the context the writer what they were thinking of the words that are on the page the order of the words you just push to think a little more deeply and a little outside the box on things so I'm inviting that I'm inviting you to embrace this structure you know all your writing tasks but especially in this course or a literature course is to to when you think about a piece think of it in from three different angles the content what's in it the character and the plot the stories the composition how is it put together where does it start why does it start there where is it where does it end is it in three chunks is it in two parts what is the writer style is it very florid is it you know like Virginia Woolf long sentences that you can get lost in if you're not used to reading that very high level of prose and by very high level of prose I just mean her thinking was complex she was she's considered one the first stream-of-consciousness writer James Joyce is a male writing at the same time and he often gets to wear that badge she doesn't care if she's stream-of-consciousness she was writing to survive she was writing her thoughts she was streaming and going the the wonderful omniscient narrator into the lighthouse where she's she's going into mrs. Ramsey's experience and then BAM as somebody said I didn't expect that she goes into her son's port the narration goes into the sons point of view and the sons like I'm I want to kill my father you know he's only four and he's like very graphically imagines it and her skill as a writer is very impressive is and I want you to take a twentieth century women writers course and not be dipped in Virginia Woolf that said maybe too much maybe the two essays maybe a Room of One's Own maybe that's too much for some people and giving it give it a try you get halfway through you can write about that in your journal I got halfway through and this thing that she said here's the quote what just turned me off and you know I'm thinking I didn't want to read more that's interesting so be real be engaged to come to the course maybe three times a week if you spend one day spend a few hours here reading and posting about what you read or viewed you really don't need one piece that amazed you to get the points that week right and then if you one or two pieces every week amaze you when it comes up to the essays you'll have lots to write about it'll all be there in the journals and when I'm reading the journals I'm like oh this this is your intro for your first essay oh this these two here you're talking about this film and and the the the SHA you're comparing it to Schindler's List or where life is beautiful that's amazing I mean that's interesting I mean that that could be a paper you know so I'll say that in the journal I'm on it I want to do a tutorial coaching type thing when you send me rough drafts I'm not trying to jump on it and score you low trying to give B's and C's to everybody and A's to the people who are here every week to do all the work and write three pretty good essays okay you have to be an amazing great writer I have a rewrite option you turn in a rough draft and I get feedback on that you can see what other people did if you if your rough draft is way off base I'll just let you know like this this is not going to work for you but mostly I'm gonna work with you I'm gonna say what is this because I'm a writer I'm teaching adjunct in part-time for years and years I also over I also edit things from some company in China I'm piecing stuff together so I can work as a writer and be a writer and I'm speaking as a writer and the questions I'm interested in are from a writer's perspective and some of the questions you're interested in are from a writer's perspective but not all of them so I'm keeping I wrote them all out I have them on a piece of paper here and I'm looking at them when I'm planning the five weeks that we have wiggle room in and as I'm thinking about how to make this course work for you I'm thinking of your big questions and I'm I'm giving you lots of good writing with good content well-constructed and from an interesting context and I forgot to mention context is the third see there but good writing that makes us think about the society makes us think about our society and our families and our ideals and our purposes so I'm giving you a lot of good writing so that your questions can be more specific and have more texture and get more interesting they can become more more focused and relevant when I said context it may be thought of something else I want to tell you it which is to me good writing doesn't have an agenda unless it's like an editorial or a political speech or an essay about a political topic you know that's trying to persuade people everybody should vote and here's an essay on that you know you political writing tries to persuade us great writing literature and good teaching which I aspire to it does not have an agenda does not have a political agenda so we might read an amazing anti-abortion story we might read an amazing story that is very pro-abortion but by choosing a story I'm not saying this is who I want you to be I'm saying this is what I want you to think about this is what I want you to respond to okay so you don't have to be any kind of way I felt like the first weeks journals second weeks were amazing the first weeks were a little kissy you know a little like what does she want me to say and that's okay because I hadn't given you enough to give me back that much so they were a little bit general and abstract and you know those amazing women who gave us rights and women's literature is wonderful and I wonder how how women's 20th century women writers have given us more rights and all that so you don't you don't have to think anyway or be anyway to do well in this course in fact I like essays that you know disagree with something I've said or with something that's been said in something we read or viewed that gives you gives you a little tension and it's not that you know a typical kind of empty bland essay where you feel like I don't think the person you know really enjoyed writing this which is okay you're not all writers you know you're you're great amazing people who are great at other things too and some of you are great at those other things and not great at writing I don't care what I want is for you to have a good experience to think about this interesting material to get into the form and be talking and to use the journal to develop your ideas and we'll do back and forth there so you that you write it's only three essays it's only a 10-week semester so your write three essays you can be proud of one is a response to a piece from weeks 1 2 3 we're posting a rough draft of that by Friday one person has already posted and I've already given him feedback I mean I'm looking for more well I haven't been there since about 1 o'clock today so I'm gonna go back it's now it's almost 7 I'm gonna go back and see what's there so you're gonna post the rough draft by Friday and I made it do I usually have it do Sunday but I want you to have more time to process feedback so it's due the end of the day on Monday and there's um it's due midnight on Monday and there's a three-hour grace period because we could be in different time zones and you can if you turn it in after that there's only 10-point penalty so out of a thousand points for the semester so the grade book should be up the way it needs to be soon but it's a thousand point semester so it's something's worth a hundred points you know that's 10 percent of the grade and the syllabus lays it down like that which reminds me I did flee flip weeks two and three sorry if that confused people but I thought the reading for week three would work better and I was worried I was losing you in week one because I wasn't getting a in week two I wasn't getting a lot of activity and I wasn't sure why something like I think this reading from week three is better because most of you'll find essays harder than stories and poems so and I did the same for the weeks coming I moved the essential essays to back a week and move the week that was behind it forward and that's next week where we focus on pieces about mothers and daughters and what's amazing about 20th century literature and art is that we have centuries before that of men focusing on all topics some of which you know if two people focus on focus on ping-pong I don't know I don't think it would be different male/female but maybe it would depending on each person's experience but for all of western literature anyway we have what do men think about mothers what do men think about daughters what do men think about war what do men think about growing up what is it like to grow up mail and that's interesting and that's part of the human experience I'm glad I read the great books that I read and the great movies I've seen by men about men but that left a big emptiness and it left unclarity and I want to see women working things out I want to see what a mother does under duress I want to see what a what daughters do when they have a bullying mother what are you daughters do when they have an amazing great mother who who dies young or leaves the family all those things so we have we have all those questions that we're going to focus on and when I mentioned films I thought of the Bechdel test you know about the Bechdel test that's was created by a cartoonist graphic artist Allison Bechtel and here's the back tail test and it applies to movies but you could apply it to written fiction as well she says a movie passes the Bechdel test if it's got two female characters in it who have names that's the first criteria the second criteria is they have to have at least one conversation during the film and the third criteria is that one conversation or at least one should be about something other than the male lead and if you apply the Bechtel test to all the films you like all the films you've ever seen all the films that are out there now you will see how many of them fail it does that mean they're awful films no it just means when that's all you get you're getting a limited view ditto if you're getting all one culture if every other music and films and books you've read are all from one subculture or ethnic group you're gonna learn about that one but you're going to be limited so this is about education I'm trying to keep all my talks to under 20 minutes I have a minute to say let's make this work and I'm gonna be making under 20 minute discussions of all the week to pieces because some people are writing their essays on those better late than never right and on the week three pieces and I'll do that I'll have like one featured piece that I go into in depth in a video and that I might mention other pieces and if there's activity in the forum I will be reading that and bringing it into my discussion my video discussion every week okay so that went okay I've done this so many times and I had all these notes and I'm like let me just tell them what I need to tell them without the notes maybe I should tell you something more about myself in less than one minute so eight years ago I discovered slam poetry that changed my life and made my life more multicultural than it already was which was it was it was pretty multicultural gift for a lot of reasons choices that I made and I was a member of Albany's nitty gritty slam team the first the founding team and then several other teams and I also went to New York City and slammed in New York City and had some nice wins they have a little I don't show that to you but I'm a writer I've published two books of poetry and one a narrative nonfiction which just means a true story but told like a novel to try to make it interesting like a novel if anyone's interested I'll say they're both on Amazon I published them under Elizabeth Kay Gordon and I have some other publications you know in literary journals and so on but it's been a struggle and part of it part of it as I reread the great woman's essays and fiction I just went over 20 minutes I just want to say I need the stuff I'm assigning I've needed it but I also want to read stuff that you need you have needed that you found nourishes you in some way because we're all creative people you know just to keep an ER running is a creative activity just to run a family is a highly creative activity just to manage an office or design a building or drive a bus all day and deal with the people on the bus all those are very creative and we need to find ways to nurture ourselves and strengthen and empower ourselves and the people the men and women and children and pets in our lives and the non-binary people in our lives we need to nurture all of them so and we so let's share what we have found that nurtures and empowers us so let's communicate more so I want 21 sorry all right I hope I can get this posted without technical BS all right bye it's summer let's do this and let's have it be low stress all right see

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