Friday, October 27, 2006


Peppers from Ted Whisnant
I am sitting at my desk in my office, 124 Founders Hall, Francis Marion University, Florence, SC. This is Advising Week, when students visit their advisors to preregister for spring semester. In English, we have few advisees per person in comparison to the more populated majors such as Political Science, Biology, and Business. We typically spend hours each week grading compositions and conferring with students about their writing, but this is one week when our colleagues in other disciplines outwork us. A young, bright-eyed woman bounces in as though she belongs here and asks, "Are you the undecided advisor?"
I try to place her and realize she's probably a first-semester freshman reporting to me for preregistration for the first time. I get her name, and she says, "I'm tired of being undecided."
"Shall I sign you up to be an English major?"
"No. I just don't want to be undecided any more."
"Do you have a major in mind?"
"No. Not really. Maybe Education."
I ask her to sit down, suggest that she needn't be in a hurry to select a major, and get her to sign up for a conference next week on a day when freshman are allowed to preregister. She shakes my hand before leaving.
Top 40 Magazine Covers Ever
Suzan-Lori Parks wrote a short play a day for a year. Starting Nov. 13, the project she calls "365 Days/365 Plays" will begin, a series of productions involving about 700 theatres in 30 cities.
"When you wake up, and look at your lover or husband, or whatever, that's a way of honoring your commitment. But then you get out of bed and say another kind of prayer when you sit down at your desk. I wake up every day and say, 'Yes! I'm a writer!' When you make that commitment, all sorts of things move toward you."
-- Suzan-Lori Parks in "The Show-Woman," Hilton Als, The New Yorker (10/30/06)

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