David Foster Wallace’s commencement address to the 2005 graduating class of Kenyon College has long been a holy text for me; something I turn to when I need to be reminded that learning is so much more than the ability to memorize and regurgitate facts.
As DFW states, “the real value of education has nothing to do with knowledge and everything to do with simple awareness”.
It’s good to see that this will now be reaching a wider audience , albeit in an abridged form, thanks to California-based video company The Glossary. View full article »
Grammar is the cabbage of language learning. You know that it’s good for you, but it’s hard to work up much enthusiasm about actually consuming it.
I always introduce the G word cautiously in class; I’m all too aware how easy it is for students’ eyes to glaze over in unison as they gamely seek to absorb the endless rules and soul-destroying exceptions.
The choice of material for English language teachers is overwhelming – there are books, podcasts, videos, Cd ROMs, Apps and websites which, when push comes to shove, are all basically explaining the same thing. View full article »
‘Paradoxymoron’ (1996) by Patrick Hughes in the British Library.
How would you define a bookworm?
Most dictionaries will tell you that it is someone who reads a lot but I think it means more than merely being an avid reader.
It isn’t just the love of books, it’s the thought that they are so fundamental to existence that without them you’d go insane or die or both.
The Italian translation is “topo di biblioteca” (a ‘library mouse’) which makes it sound like part of a nasty rodent infestation or else a misanthrope who survives the trauma of the modern world by hiding away in the shelves and shadows of a public building. View full article »
I read Although Of Course You End Up Becoming Yourself – A Road Trip With David Foster Wallace by David Lipsky (see yesterday’s blog post) conscious that I was on the lookout for quotable lines.
I was eager to find clues as to what it felt like to be David Foster Wallace.
Here are some I highlighted:
- “Sitting alone with a piece of paper is what’s real to me”.
- “If a writer does his job right, what he basically does is remind the reader of how smart the reader is”.
- “The harder it is to make a reader feel like it’s worthwhile to read your stuff, the better a chance you’ve got of making real art”.
- “The main job of entertainment is to separate you from your cash somehow”.
- “Why are we – and by ‘we’ I mean people like you and me: mostly white, upper middle class or upper class, obscenely well educated, doing really interesting jobs, sitting in really expensive chairs, watching the best, you know, watching the most sophisticated electronic equipment money can buy – why do we feel empty and unhappy?”
- “I think one of the things that makes TV seductive, is that it gives the illusion of relationships with people”.
- “I’d like to be the sort of person who can enjoy things at the time instead of having to go back in my head and enjoy them then”.
- “I don’t think writers are any smarter than other people. I think they may be more compelling in their stupidity or in their confusion”.
- “When I’m in a room alone, and have enough time. I can be really smart”.
- “If you write stuff that’s intimate and weird, weird people tend to feel they’re intimate with you”.
- “Maybe I’m a minimalist, in a perverse way”.