This week is Fall Break. Well the students are off Monday, Tuesday, and Wednesday whereas I’m only taking Wednesday off. I’m checking in early because I may be taking some professional development courses tomorrow which might keep me from updating.
The first thing I want to dig into is the author Haruki Murakami. I’ve mentioned him before on the blog, but he has overlapped with my work and personal reading lives several times recently so he will get another mention.
I assigned Murakami’s short story On Seeing the 100% Perfect Girl to my online composition two students, and I read some really interesting papers analyzing the story. I asked the students to only use the text and their own personal responses. For their revisions they are supposed to go out and find other sources to tie in. Maybe they will find another person who has written about it, or perhaps they can write about the time frame of the story, or compare/contrast the story to other works (including those by the same author).
In some ways I was doing the assignment as well as I found I had the book Norwegian Wood in my to read stack. I decided to read it, and then I watched the film based on it. I liked the book – ok – it isn’t my favorite by Murakami, but I left the book wondering: how on earth would they turn that into a film? The book is very low-key. It revolves around 20 somethings so there is a lot of talk of sex, but also the melancholy that can come with being a young person. I know we can all become melancholy but there is something about youth that makes you pine more it seems. I had not even added on the extra layer of the Beatles song by the same title until after. Keep on going down the rabbit hole . . .
The movie was also very understated. I can’t say I liked it more or less than the book, but I did come away feeling I understood the female characters a bit more after watching the film rather than how they were portrayed in the book especially their motivations. Sometimes you just have to “see” what someone is thinking.
Speaking of other layers. I’m teaching a section of “Freakonomics” again this semester, but I ended up watching a documentary called Children Underground based on another section of the “Freakonomics” book and documentary that deal with birth control and the idea of unwanted/unplanned children.
And, one more layer? I mentioned in a previous post how I went to an art gallery recently to hear one of my former professors read from his poem. He (Alan Michael Parker) worked on this fascinating project with visual artist Herb Jackson that they called 10 Days. I picked up a copy of the book and totally loved the reading paired with a showing of the art, and the Q & A that followed. I won’t dig in to describing the project but you could google around and perhaps give a collaborative project a try?