I sit in the nook where I often write and think.. about the final submissions, and what I hope you hope to gain from it, from the process; reading and researching and finally composing… At this stage, you should be brainstorming, scribbling furiously in the caverns of your Composition books and toying with the possibilities of idea direction. If you are in fact organizing these thoughts, well done! Just don’t consume yourself with formal composition just yet! And this may be difficult to do, restraining your own Self and ideas, especially if they pulsate aggressively, ordering you to sit and type! But my counsel to you, for our collective record, is to wait. Let it develop, ferment, and then if it has stayed with you over a couple days, or eve a week or so, then throw yourself to page.
And, with research, be playful with what you search for and how you search for ‘It’. For example, if you were to do a paper on ‘Morality’, or ‘Wellness’, or even Jack Kerouac, start outside the topic, or “reach” as I’ve said all semester, then work your way backwards. For example, if I’m going to write a paper on Jack Kerouac, wanting to argue that ‘he was his own genre’, I could start with something connected to him, like travel (as a theme in his work), then research the benefits of travel, or travel logs, then start looking into jazz music and connect the movement of jazz to the movement of travel, then come back to JK and show how in his writings (‘Road’ and some of his poems, maybe some short prose pieces which I can lend you) it makes this ‘genre’ of his. Something like that, I don’t know….. I just don’t want you all worrying about this last paper, and there’s no need to! It’s about you and your ideas and how you mold them.. I want you to assume the role, nearly, of an investigative journalist, a true scholar hellbent on making his/her point known!
And as the semester closes, I’m quite aware, “easier said than done”. No? I get it, believe me. That’s why I urge you to balance everything, schedule, and schedule dimensions of your life in a way that works for you! You determine what your standard of Wellness is! And no one can break you from that if you truly have ‘faith’ in your vision (vision of you professionally, personally, academically, or…). I humbly wish you all to be well, and composed, and successful in these final weeks of the term. Let us promise each other that we’ll end not only on a “strong” note, but a memorable one, and enriching one, a distinguished one!
Well… Time to go to work. Do you ever wish you could just stay home, relax, be it through reading or writing or exercising, or just drinking your coffee (if you drink coffee, or tea like some young scholars I know–) and reading the Times? Well, not the reality for this teacher, this morning. Readying for work, and thinking of my students, what else we can teach each other in these concluding pages of our academic calendar.
Contact me if you need anything, be it with ideas, the assignments, the reading, or this letter.