on procrastination

Right now I need to be finishing up another non-blog writing project. It has a non-negotiable and pretty urgent deadline. So, what have I been doing today instead? Yep, writing several blog posts and avoiding, at all costs, what I’m actually supposed to be doing. Sadly, even as I recognize my acts of avoidance, I can find ways to justify them. Like: One purpose of this blog (and my twitter feed) is to document the writing process. That includes the painful non-writing, procrastinating parts. I need to archive those experiences for future reference! Ha!

Here’s what I just tweeted:

To save time, I just took a screen shot of the four tweets. Here’s a link to the New Yorker article on procrastination.

Word count: 122 words

Duel 1971

I just saw Duel for the first time on Saturday night. It’s Stephen Spielberg’s first film…and his best. This film seems like a good one to archive for the trouble blog; it provides a lot of critical commentary on the rapidly slipping position of the white, privileged, heterosexual male in the U.S in the 1970s and the trouble (anxiety, fear, terror) that this caused. Maybe I should amend my statement about this providing critical commentary–I don’t necessarily think that Spielberg intended it, but this film says a lot about gender, race, class and the limits of the American (capitalist) dream. He’s doesn’t so much offer up his own critical commentary as he provides, through this story about a man terrorized by a truck who relentlessly and inexplicably chases him on a remote highway in southern California, a space for the viewer to critically reflect. When I was in grad school , I took an awesome film class on Masculinity and Violence in 1970s Westerns, War and Boxing films. Duel would be a great one to watch for the western section. Hmm….now I want to dig up some of my notes from class.

Here’s an extended clip from Duel. I hope to return to this film and write more after the semester is over.

Word count: 168 words

Caring (about) as sacred

Yesterday was a beautiful day. So beautiful that I decided to bike over to the library and pick up a book that I found via an article (“The Embodied City“) in Transformations: Teaching with Joy. Educational Practices for the Twenty-first Century. I’m excited to read it; especially after noticing (and wondering about, ha!) an article by Jinx Watson entitled, “The Invitation to Notice and Wonder: Caring about Ideas.” So cool. My vision of troublemaking as a form of care centers on the value of noticing, wondering and caring. So far I have only had time to quickly glance at the essay, but I’m struck by the connection Watson makes between learning, caring and the sacred (their essay is in a section of the book entitled, The Sacred Word). I really like the idea of linking teaching/learning with spiritual well-being. I’d like to read this book in conversation with bell hooks and her many discussions of bringing the whole self into spaces where we learn, teach and engage.

Here’s a question I want to ponder for the next few days: What class activities can I develop that encourage students to notice (pay attention) and wonder (be curious and ask questions)?

Word Count: 199 Words

Can you ever have too much trouble?

The semester has begun–two weeks done already!?  Anyway, I am once again making trouble by pushing at the limits of how to engage with ideas inside and outside of the classroom. I’m also pushing at the limits of what I, as the instructor, can manage in the semester. In a recent tweet, I wrote: “Is managing and writing on 4 blogs and 3 twitter accounts too much? Not sure yet.” I’m not too worried…yet. The beginning of the semester is always crazy as I adjust to new students, new classrooms and new assignments.

I plan to regularly revisit this question of taking on too much trouble throughout the semester. I think it is a really important one as I think about the limits and possibilities of social media in the classroom (which is a key theme for both classes).  Here are the links to my course blogs:

Every year I increase my participation on the course blogs. More comments, more entries, and now, more tweets. But, will I be able to keep up with my own personal blogs? I really hope so!

Word Count: 184

Troubling Clowns

I want this book! I saw it today at the Wild Rumpus, an awesome kids’ bookstore not too far from my house. Okay, do I really want this book–I’m not sure, but it made me laugh (a lot) at the store. I could see it making a lot of trouble for kids and adults. It reminds me of this freaky art installation at the Art Institute of Chicago on clowns that I saw this past fall (AMP, can you remember this installation and the name of the artist who did it?).

SPOILER ALERT: Here’s the “pop-up” surprise in the middle of the book:

Now, there are lots of ways to connect clowns with troublemaking–excessive parody, playfulness, comedy, laughter. Maybe I should read more about clowns this summer…or, maybe not. I don’t need these clowns haunting my dreams!

Word count: 137 words