Tuesday, December 4, 2012

Blog Hop

My friend Amy Gentry over at The Oeditrix linked to my blog (Gracias, Amy!) in something called a "blog hop," which she analogizes to a chain letter for blogs, but "without the threats of supernatural punishment should you fail to do it in a timely fashion." Doesn't she have a way with words? She's a superb writer and blogs about feminism, young adult literature, teaching, and being an ex-academic (just like me!) I highly suggest that you head over there if you're reading.

So the idea is for me to answer these questions about myself, and then mention a few blogs you might not have heard of, and then they'll link back to me. Everybody wins, just like in a Ponzi scheme...

What do you write about and why?
I write about my life teaching in CPS, but it might be clearer if I just put it this way: I am FOR kids, love, and knowledge, and I am AGAINST injustice and ignorance, the Tweedle Dum and Tweedle Dee of American History. I mostly write about how much I love my students, how awesome they are, and how much I hate the way education policy in this country treats them. I usually write about myself and my own experiences, but I also sometimes comment on education policy, or talk like an academic and write about the "big three": race, class, and gender inequality, and how they are all still very much with us.

Where besides the blog do you write?
Nowhere, really. I started the blog because I missed writing. I was recently published (with my friend Charlie Tocci) in Catalyst-Chicago and Teachers College Record. I want to publish my dissertation, which is about black theatre and politics in the mid-20th century, but doesn't everyone want to publish her dissertation (especially right when it's finished)? I might one day turn my blog into a book of essays, but lots of people try to do that. I have a tendency to start big projects and not finish them, except for my dissertation, so I like blogging, because it feels relatively low stakes to me, and I'm a perfectionist, and I can (and do) always revise posts over the course of a few days. I also tweet @mochiteach, but usually I just post articles and other things from the education blogosphere there. 140 characters is not enough for this gal!

What do you do besides writing this blog?
I rewrote this question a little bit from Amy's version to make it more applicable to me. My #1 job: I'm a CPS teacher. I was a CTU delegate, but I stopped doing that a couple of months ago because it was too much work. I play ultimate frisbee, I love TV and reading, I knit, when I have time, which is rarely (see job #1). I like to go see plays. I have a spouse and a dog, and I like to spend time with them, too.

Which authors do you find inspiring?
I am inspired by authors who care about eloquence and wit and who use/d their writing to fight ignorance and injustice. Amy divided these into dead and living, and so will I...

Dead: James Baldwin, Gwendolyn Brooks, Alice Childress, Langston Hughes, George Orwell, Martin Luther King, Jr., Zora Neale Hurston, E.B. White
Living: Joan Didion, Charles Payne, Gary Rubenstein, Andrew Solomon, Jonathan Kozol

What is your writing process?
Verbal diarrhea followed by many, many rounds of editing. I like for things eventually to be organized into paragraphs that begin and end, but there tends to be more of a flow than an organization to the paragraphs. When compelled, I make things even more organized and try to use a lot of sign-posting to be extra clear. Orwell, Didion, and White are my heroes there.

What blogs are you going to give shout outs to?
I haven't really befriended many bloggers, but I have friends who write blogs (are they bloggers? I don't know. I don't consider myself a "blogger," more just a person who writes on a blog). Amy mentioned them already, but I'll mention them again (and thus the chain letter swirls into Charybdis and gets swallowed up).

Incremental Catastrophe Ben Blattberg, another ex-academic, using his amazing critical chops and hilariously clever writing to talk about movies and stuff.

Aptal Yabanci Michael Meeuwis, the funniest academic (and one of the funniest people) I've ever met (sorry, Ben and Amy, you're up there too!), blogging about his life as an English professor in Istanbul.

The last one really is a blog...
The CTU blog, maintained by Kenzo Shibata and others. Kenzo also tweets @kenzoshibata