Sunday, November 27, 2016


Oh what a fun idea it seemed when the professor said we'd be writing journals for this fall's course on Paradigm Shifts in Western Civilization. Journals -- the word conjured up those old five-year diaries I used to keep. Passing thoughts tossed lightly off; for an avid reader/writer like me, what could be easier?

Many things, it turns out. The word journal turned into "mini-essay" with all that entails. Three to four pages, with thesis, arguments and conclusion on nine texts and one film. The thing about essays is that you actually have to absorb the material to write one, no matter how short. Very clever on the part of the professor. Very gruelling for the students.

I will never confess how long these things are taking me, but let's just say I don't know how classmates who are still working full time are doing it all. As for me, friends know my efforts expand to fill the allotted time. So the journals -- plus the main 15-20-page essay -- will be done by deadline. But not a second sooner.

My latest so-called journal is a nine-page essay on violence and colonialism. It combines the works of 1700s writer/philosopher Denis Diderot, 1960s revolutionary writer Frantz Fanon and Gillo Pontecorvo's 1966 film, The Battle of Algiers. I'm not saying how many journals/essays are still on the drawing board.

1 comment:

  1. Certainly not what I would call a journal either. I'm sure it's all good for the soul :)