Showing posts with label Louisvile. Show all posts
Showing posts with label Louisvile. Show all posts

06 January, 2016

Don't get no respect: back to school, wobbly-style

 I'm heading back to campus today to line up the last bit of what I need to do in order to teach on Thursday. Between the usual decline in course offerings and my separation from the local alternative dining and concert guide*, this winter, like most every, will be a tight one. I'm always on the look for more work, and I'm going to be diving into some projects and working on my poetry and fiction. I'm uncharacteristically prepared for the semester to begin, actually... primarily because I'm simplifying my teaching methods and focusing on what's really important in a writing class.


People ask me all the time what I teach. When they're kind, or when they know I write poetry, they immediately ask if I teach creative writing**. I have to, for the sake of conversation, clarify that I teach academic writing***, tossing in some scholarly research methods and some interesting stories and little known history. I've been using Labor History the last few years as the subject matter for my Intermediate classes; I think it's important try and highlight little known facts of history that get overlooked in the narrative of manifest destiny.

This semester, I'm trying something a bit different because what I find in teaching labor history is that many of my students are incredibly disconnected from the events I wanted to talk about and the stories I wanted to tell.  I also found that in my attempts to ensure I was doing my job that I lost some the fundamental elements of my teaching style that made it fun and interesting.

One of the things I'm doing is simply changing research topics, for a while. My classes are going to be examining some events from local history: the 1855 Bloody Monday Election Riots, The 1937 Ohio River Flood, and river stories and myths. We're going to talk about how these narratives -- and the narratives of more current events -- impact ourselves as individuals, as a city, and as a larger culture.

So basically -- I'm going to tell stories, read and talk about essay drafts, and focus the important stuff.

And, you know, take attendance. Can't escape the all the tedium.

But I am grateful to have some kind of work
*The latest article of important was about how Louisvillians in their 20's move to Germantown, where the rent is cheap. You know... like they have for the past 20 years.
**I have written before about how the term "creative writing" annoys me because it implies that some kinds of writing isn't creative or part of a creative process.
*** Academic writing, apparently, has no creative process. Don't get me started.

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01 December, 2015

Compassionate City, Continued and Gator Man Strikes Again

Conservative, n: A statesman who is enamored of existing evils, as distinguished from the Liberal who wishes to replace them with others. - Ambrose Bierce

Compassionate city, continued

The thing people need to remember is Louisville is, first and foremost, a port town -- spawned by the river and maintained by the descendants of slimy critters that crawled out of it. There is no amount of brand-name creating, gentrifying, or white-washing in the name of economic development that will remake this town into anything but the den of vice, passion, and delusion that it is. Someone really should tell the mayor he can change the window dressing all he wants, but the actual nature of River City is what it is -- beautiful and perverse, both corrupt and incorruptible.

Of course, if someone did tell Mayor Fischer all of that, he'd just run out and buy more paint to cover it all up. The most popular color used to cover Louisville's swollen twigs and berries is police blue.

This past Sunday I went the folks at Fed with Faith to deliver food, sleeping bags, sterno and propane, and thermal underwear to River City's homeless population. We went to a new camp* with supplies, and took down their information. I rode around with Jean, one of the founders of Fed with Faith, and did what I could to help. He's either discovered the secret to endless energy or he mainlines coffee, but I did have a good night anyway.

The people living in the new camp ranged in age from their late 40's to barely 20. Some of them had family -- we ask in case they turn up dead and someone needs to be called -- but most of them didn't. A couple of them are in the process of finding housing, and there were some other issues around self-medication that always rings familiar to me.**

We ran into another guy who was eating out of garbage can near the downtown convention center. He said he used to play in the NFL. He also said he lived in New Jersey in 1988 during an earthquake that opened a hole where the Taliban was. We also ran into a kid who couldn't get into the shelter because he didn't have any ID, but who had no business being out. We had to hang around a bit to make sure a group of guys from the shelter didn't jump him for the food and stuff we gave him.

I also met Bob and Chris, and Prince Albert^.

One interesting tidbit I learned about our "compassionate city." It's illegal to move a camp. If you're caught moving a camp, you get cited form illegal dumping. Let that one sink in for a minute. So, while being homeless isn't technically illegal, according to the LMPD Press Information Office, they manage to criminalize everything BUT, and dehumanize their fellow humans in the process.

But it's all about the brand... right?

The gator man strikes again

As a result of me posting the article LEO refused to print and me accusing them, rightfully so, of wanting homeless porn^^, I no longer write for them. I wasn't full-time anyway, just another hired gun, working piecemeal and being told to wait for the sweet by and by.  Of course, my work with them was getting hyper-scrutinized anyway, ever since I asked to be more than the mixaphorical+ brides' maid. The truth about freelance writing is the same truth about being an adjunct college instructor --

why hire you on full-time when they can screw you for pennies?

This isn't getting me down, however. Thanks to my break-up with LEO, I've decided to break out on my own. Just because I'm not getting underpaid by them to drag important news out of the muck and into the light, doesn't mean I can't underpay myself.

This time, however, it will be in form of a weekly podcast, The KENTUCKY MUCK. We're still putting our pints and quarts together, and you can expect to get word of it soon. The Kentucky Muck Podcast will cover News, politics, arts, and culture that need to be dragged out into the light. We will be engaged actively in #bevinwatch, as Matt "no-cock fight is too dirty for me" Bevin takes the oath of office and starts doing to Kentucky what Scott Walker has done to Wisconsin -- but with that carpetbagger flair that only comes wrapped in a flag with a prayer on its lips.+++

I'm also closer to announcing the first release of Dirty River Press, which will probably be a chapbook.

In our little south end bunker, we're also working on a storytelling podcast concept called Falls City Storytelling. That one will be fun of a different sort.

And there's more... but I hate to spoil a surprise.

You may have noticed I've put a donation button on the webpage. Back when  I wrote under the American Re:Visionary blog, I had a tip jar. At the time, I used the tip jar for travelling money. Now, I'm asking that if you like what you read that you help me continue to write it. The more you give, the less I have to work a day job and devote to you, Dear Friends and Readers.

Thanks. Expect more soon.
*Nope, not going to tell you where, and for all the reasons I mentioned in my previous post.
** I have gotten away (for the most part) from daily self-medication. But if there really was salvation in a bottle, I'd have found it by now.
^Prince Albert says he's a direct descendant of King Edward. He also claims to have walked 43,000 from Florida to Louisville. Having travelled and lived out some myself, I can see where it would fee that way.
^^I apparently impugned the "integrity of the paper" and probably hurt the feelsies of the gatekeeper in calling them out publicly. But since the current publisher claims to be a Liberal and does business like Jay Gould++, I feel less than terrible about either. Their current cover story -- about the methane plant deal in the West End -- misses the mark by about 20 football fields. But the lead is journalistically "correct." And, their concert listings will be spot on. In a related note, there was a huge Black Lives Matter protest at the Old Jail House in downtown Louisville yesterday. They protested in support of Judge Olu Stevens and his reported decision to dismiss a jury during a drug case on the basis that the jury was not racially diverse enough.
+ mixaphorical, adj: an apt mash-up of generally isolated metaphors. From PDOUWP, Compendium Ed.
++Jay Gould was a rank capitalist most famous for saying "I can hire one half of the working class to shoot the other." He did. It worked. It still works to this day, since capitalists and powermongers are not so much creative as they are repetitive.
+++ i.e., fascism.