Thursday, June 19, 2008

The Last Day of Class

One thing I love about academia is that every once in awhile, you get to start over. This builds in an element of optimism and refreshment that is simply not replicable in any other profession that I know of.

I loved my spring semester students: they were grownups, grad students who did what I asked and more. They were wonderful writers, deep readers, critical thinkers. They were talkative and funny and they seemed to bond with each other. I can't believe I get paid for this -- they were great. The class, called "Green Ink: Writing the Earth" took them into substantial considerations of their own memories and relationship with nature, and they read classic essays by Emerson, Thoreau, Fritjof Capra, Wendell Berry, William Cronon, Barry Lopez, Lame Deer, Joy Williams, Terry Tempest Williams, Gary Snyder, Edward Abbey, Joyce Carol Oates, Ursula LeGuin, and many others. They attended and critiqued a conference featuring Whole Communities founder Peter Forbes, whom they found pleasant enough but unsatisfyingly general. They met Michigan poets Keith Taylor, Alison Swan and Terry Wooten. They remembered and examined many experiences with their changing worlds: a lake losing its water in Northern Michigan, a run-in with zebra mussels, a patio that became the focal point of a dying marriage...they were heroic in their writing.

And after class tonight, I stopped by East Village Magazine and had a couple of fingers of Irish with my friend Gary. Two days before the Summer Solstice, the sun took its time setting over our really beautiful blue collar town. I'm very fond of this old burg tonight. Now it's time to gear up for the big shift to the City of Angels.


Mitch said...

I had a last day of classes yesterday, too, but it wasn't the last last-day for me for this term. I will have another one on Monday. And that will be the very last for a while. I do love the cyclical nature of teaching. What could be better than starting fresh several times a year?

greg rappleye said...


Have fun in LA.