Wednesday, January 9, 2008

Citizen Shipped Across the Curriculum

Dear Colleagues
and Students of this Spring’s American Literature
(Survey and 19th c. Authors) courses, as well as
Dialogue and Dialectic

Courses Without Borders series.
Citizenship Across the Curriculum.

PreLude (which means literally: prior to the game,
before the play, foreplay is what a prelude is)

Get Real.

Like a bolt from the blue? Sudden EUREKA:
“I’ve Got It!” (she gets it; he doesn’t!) A click-
switch epiphanic oooomygawd kind of a deal?

How do you characterize what-is-meant when
someone says Get Real! for crying out loud?

Always my hope & fantasy: certainly for my
own self at least if not for the environmental
studies of fellow travelers.

That, too, would be good—but beyond me,
damnit. Out of my presumed sense of

Keeping IT Real

A course of another color. Sustainability!
A capacity to maintain a sense of the real
while always swimming in an atmosphere
of unreality (so to speak).

Like Joe Fish: I’m soaking wet; and so:
clueless as to fluid drive. (No basis for
comparison.) How am I going to Keep
IT Real let alone Get IT: Ab-solut (dry)
Really! I’m asking.

These are Liberal Art questions, issues,
concerns. Getting IT and then Keeping IT
Real. Life-long sport & X treme & not to
be collapsed, conflated, & confused with
the liberal arts: your physics and your
chemistries, biologies & socio logic,
histories & psychologies, religions
& philosophies: stuff you major
in, take COURSES in: quizzes
& exams: the disciplines. Get
R done. Take the credit
and run.

Or you characterize IT your way.
Liberal Art & liberal arts; Getting Real &
Keeping IT Real. We can argue. Improve
our terms and images—or what’s a
college for?

[Argue: from Indo. European—arg, argo:
to shine in the heart of darkness. Edification—
to build up a common gleam. A good thing!]

IN my courses I hope to use and abuse literature
(I call it freeze-dried Mind on a Page: mop) in
order to wonder about mind minding mindfully
and the relationship & play of


in inventory and invention: the making of new ideas
and images and representations (basis of our
communication, true? how we represent!
how DO we represent!)

I take Get Real and Keep IT Real
(& ooooomygawd!!! as well as awesome
for crying out loud…) as more than mere
exclamations of frustrations & amazement,
anxiety & panic, delight & desire.

Those notions signify my motives for fooling
around with Literature (dialogue & dialectic)
& putting IT in play. What I like to do.

IT, I said.

Do I have to be spelling IT out?

If I’m making sense here, I got lucky—is all.
IT’s not a unilateral deal: the making of sense.
IT’s mutual, reciprocal—a manner of relationship.

Play and Be Played.
School and Be Schooled.

This is foreplay.
This is presumptuous.
This is prelude to our study of
literature and the practice of dialogue & dialectic
as I try to frame IT. Contextuallize. Consider or ignore.

Reply (to all) if you feel like it.
Best, Sam

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