Sequential Smarts
Wednesday, June 22, 2005
Matt Haughey on writing
From part 1 of his interview with Rebecca Blood:
Do you have a background in writing?

Nope, not at all. In fact, I struggled with every writing and literature course I've taken in school. I nearly failed some of them, and fought hard just to get a C in most. It wasn't until I started writing every day that I actually figured out how to write and read literature.

In fact, if you saw my SAT and GRE scores, you'd wonder if I was a native speaker of English. Seriously, I was an absolutely dreadful writer until years of daily email and blogging let me practice to the point at which I finally feel I can write well and express myself.

Writing everyday improved my ability to communicate significantly. I can feel it when I'm emailing work colleagues, drafting a holiday letter to extended family, or simply talking to others. Writing and reading blogs has really let me hone my communication skills.

Saturday, May 14, 2005
Papers & grades
The first batch of your papers will begin returning in just a few moments now. It will take me several days to work through all of your essays, and I appreciate your patience.

The second papers will come back ungraded, as with the first papers; I will try to remember to give you a quick breakdown of your grade when I return your third paper. I am making some marginal responses on these second essays - nothing especially deep, but just a quick sense of what compositional problems I observe recurring in your.

I will try to give you slightly more substantive feedback on your third essays; while I will probably eschew end comments, I will put more detail into my marginal notes so you get a targeted sense of what parts of your paper still trip up your reader, and what parts are especially strong.

After I have turned in your final grades - they are due on the 18th - you are absolutely welcome to ask me for more detailed feedback: if my marginal comments aren't quite cohesive enough, or if you have specific questions for me to answer, I'm delighted to give you some directed comments about your writing.

I hope your summers are all beginning wonderfully!
Tuesday, May 10, 2005
Two last examples of marvelous writing

Friday, May 06, 2005
A few more...
You guys need to work on writing cleverer titles, but there are tons of fantastic short essays coming in:You'll notice that those hebs run from Yessenia's strangely formal analysis of the sociological consequences of J-Lo's ass to Nikki and Tenzin's meditative (and somewhat cynical) articulations of liveable philosophies. All these example are argumentative in design, but each approaches the idea of argument in an authentic voice; what you guys have grown to do really impresses me.
Sunday, May 01, 2005
Hebdomas mirabilis
In the past few weeks, it has been an absolute pleasure to read your hebdomadals: as a class, you have become proficient at writing meaningfully and concisely within that 300 to 500 word limit and you have internalized the kinds of argumentation our class is all about. I want to highlight some of the truly great recent blog entries here:
Brie has also given me permission to post her most recent, masterful hebdomadal online:
The relationship I had with my mother was something I never took pride in when I was growing up. She seemed to me to be the anti-Christ with her trenchant comments and her insanely difficult attitude. When I was twelve I promised myself I would get counseling, break the cycle and never treat others the way my mother treated me. I would have never thought the effects that she had on me may not have all been negative.

I remember walking with my mother into a small class room during orientation. A skinny little blonde girl that was tan as California grabbed my hand and did that high screechy slash excited hello that made me feel she was legitimately excited I was there. After that we talked, our mothers talked, and we ended up spending the whole night together. I watched this girl interact with her mom, laughing and fighting like sisters. It caused such a sad feeling in me because that was more then could ever be expected out of my mother and me. We weren’t friends like that; she was a stern force in my life, never approving, never liking who I was or wanted to be, always challenging me. This girl seemed to have it all; their relationship was beautiful to me. Her mother almost idolized her: they spoke the same, wore the same shoes, and had the same jeans on. They were alike and I thought it was spectacular.

This girl ended up being my roommate for this first year in college. The roles our mothers played in our polar opposite lives became apparent very quickly. She started having relationship issues with her boyfriend very early on and she would always call her “mommy” and ask for advice. I kept expecting her to get better but she only got worse. She would sob and sleep and be on the phone with him constantly. She would say things like she would rather die than deal with being with out him and how he was the only thing in life. This is normal talk for emotional girls, but this continued and is still going on eight months later!! All she wanted was to marry him and have his “babies”. Her mother, a housewife, always encouraged her to work things out with him. My mom would have driven to Madison and beat me (not literally) if I let somebody walk all over me like that. I would tell my mom about the whole insane situation and she was in shock. I was just so frustrated because I couldn’t even relate to her unhealthy dependency.

I was pacing the halls the other day to get away from my screaming (literally) room of hell while talking to my mother. I was venting about how I can’t even be in my room because she is always hysterical. My mother answered me in a simple life changing statement. “Aren’t you glad I raised you to be strong?” I stopped pacing. “Yes mom, thank God, I owe you”. And I do. I owe her. Everything she had done only pushed me to be strong, independent, and full of integrity. My mother fights hard and she’s tough; she doesn’t take no for an answer and she is proud of who she is. She may not have been my best friend but she made me fight for a place in this world and taught me more about myself then I knew until I saw the differences between my roommate and me.

I don’t need counseling; there is no cycle to break. I am exactly like my mother and that is beautiful.

Sunday, April 24, 2005
Peer review groups, 3.1
If you don't have your peers' email addresses already, shoot me an email and I'll let you know.
  1. Brie, Mark, Nikki
  2. Ashley, Katie, Nicole
  3. Dan, Kelly, Reza
  4. Laura, Ronak, Yessenia
  5. Leslie, Pasha, Tenzin
  6. Adam D., Adam H., Chetan, Megan

Wednesday, April 20, 2005
Peering into the future, and other obligatory puns
Our final bit of peer review begins on Monday, and by this point you should have a very strong sense of with whom you work best. Shoot me an email letting me know what sort of peer review group you would like (three people? four?) and whom you would like to work with particularly.
Paper 3 Conference Schedule
All conferences meet in the Open Book Cafe. Please bring a hard copy of your most recent work, including all my and your peer reviewers' comments.

Friday 4/22
1:00 pm - Laura
1:30 - Brie
2:00 - Adam D.
2:30 - Yessenia
3:00 - Chetan

Monday 4/25
3:30 pm - Katie
4:00 - Megan
4:30 - Pasha
5:00 -

Tuesday 4/26
9:30 am - Ronak
10:00 - Reza

Wednesday 4/27
11:00 am - Adam H.
3:30 pm - Nikki
4:00 - Dan
4:30 - Leslie

Friday 4/29
11:00 am - Chetan
1:00 pm - Kelly
1:30 - Nicole
2:00 - Mark
2:30 - Ashley
3:00 - Tenzin

Tuesday 5/3
12:45 pm - Brie
1:15 - Laura
1:45 - Dan

Wednesday 5/4
1:45 pm - Pasha
3:30 - Nikki
4:00 -
4:30 - Chetan

Friday 5/6
3:30 pm - Adam H.
4:00 - Reza
4:30 - Tenzin

Monday 5/9
9:30 am - Chetan
10:00 - Megan
10:30 - Adam D.
11:00 - Kelly
3:30 pm - Nikki

Tuesday 5/10
10:00 am - Ronak
10:30 - Ashley
11:00 - Katie

Wednesday 5/11
10:00 am - Yessenia
10:30 - Nicole
11:00 - Mark

Thursday 5/12
11:00 am - Pasha

I am extremely flexible during finals week; email me if you would like to schedule an appointment for a time you don't see listed here.
Monday, April 18, 2005
Les dernieres semaines
Updated 4/27!

Monday 4/18 Wednesday 4/20 Friday 4/22 Monday 4/25 Wednesday 4/27 Friday 4/29 Monday 5/2 Wednesday 5/4 Friday 5/6
Wednesday's reading
Ken Macrorie - "What is good writing?"

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