All the Pretty Horses

My favorite American author is Cormac McCarthy. I was a member of the Cormac McCarthy Society for a year, and will join again as soon as I get a little slack in my checkbook. (Teaching school in Louisiana is an exercise in humility and poverty). I’ve read everything he’s written that’s in print. I’m requiring my seniors in my AP class to read All the Pretty Horses. A beautiful novel that was made into a beautiful movie. Below are are couple of quotes from it I like.

Movie Quote of the Day:

“He’d half meant to speak but those eyes had altered the world forever in the space of a heartbeat.”

(John Grady) “You’re fixin to get me in trouble.”
(Alejandra) “You are in trouble.”

General Thoughts and Schedule

Today, I’m giving vocabulary tests to my honors and gifted students, and we’re filing papers and busy work like that. My room is a wreck. Imagine a writer’s study used as a classroom and you’ll get a good visual image. Books piled everywhere, scattered papers, etc. I imagine there are some writers who have clean workplaces: I salute them.

The holiday season is going to be busy. I must attend a production of Scrooge tonight–no graceful way out of it. I have a 3-4 hour editing project I must finish,

Courtly Love in the Days of Arthur

Soon, I’ll be teaching my sophomores the myths and legend of King Arthur. One important lesson of this unit concerns Courtly Love as it was practiced in the Middle Ages. I make the point of how this doctrine of the Code of Chivalry placed woman on a pedastel, and how much (sometimes how little) courtly love has influenced modern ideas of romance. I point out how marriages then were matters of practicality, issues of power, and how if a person wanted to experience true love, it had to be found outside of marriage. I wrote this poem after thinking about how a knight would feel about the object of his adoration in such a relationship.

A Queen

A Song for E.B.D.

My muse has been active lately. I thought I’d try my hand on a song. The lyrics seem to work, though like everything I write, need editing, but the song has a feel I like. Now must get to work on a melody.

In my new silence of living
I have no regrets,
For the magnet of your love
That still pulls upon me yet.


Out of Africa

Yesterday, I saw a stack of blank maps of Africa in my classroom. If you teach English in this culturally illiterate age, you learn that you have to teach other subjects (across the curriculum is the jargon) also in order for the students to truly grasp the literature. So, I make use of history and maps constantly. The blank ones I use for various assignments, usually for the gifted students to map out colonial Africa. Anyway, when I saw these maps, I thought of two books: Heart of Darkness and Out of Africa. I thought some more on this and realized that books become points of reference. I still remember my first reading of both of these books, so they’ve become part of my mind calendar. Books and movies: the two greatest influences on my mind these days. I also remember seeing the 1985 movie version of Out of Africa. That made me think of this quotation, which I so identify with these days.

Movie Quote of the Day: I’ve got this little thing that I’ve learned to do lately. When it gets so bad…and I think I can’t go on…I try to make it worse. –from Out of Africa

There are many other memorable quotes in this movie. You can find the script for Out of Africa here:

On Deadly Ground

I’ve always been a fan of the martial arts, so as I was wrapping up my evening, I couldn’t resist watching a few minutes of Stevan Segal in On Deadly Ground. The bar fight scene has always fascinated me, as has the title of the movie, which is obviously an allusion to Sun Tzu’s The Art of War. There are many sites devoted to this military classic. One is here:

I don’t watch TV much at all, but I am quite addicted to movies, especially if they can give me some memorable lines.

MOVIE QUOTE OF THE DAY: “What does it take to change the essence of a man?”–Forrest Taft, in On Deadly Ground.

Battleground Louisiana: Civil War Events and Experiences

Beginning February 22, on Thursday nights I’ll be the facilitator for this series sponsored by Louisiana Endowment for the Humanities. It is a pilot program–meaning there’s no syllabus, and an experiement–but the five books are well-chosen and will certainly activate lively discussion, especially if the participants are as excited about the War Between the States as I am. The series will run from 6:00-8:00 pm each Thursday until March 29 and will be held at the Franklin Parish Library. It is part of the RELIC Library Programs the Endowment sponsors.

The books chosen are: Brokenburn: The Journal of Kate Stone, 1861-1868; One Damn Blunder from Beginning to End: The Red River Campaign; The Civil War in Louisiana; The Louisiana Native Guards: The Black Military Experience during the Civil War; and When the Devil Came down to Dixie: Ben Butler in New Orleans.

The reading load is reasonable, but there will be a good bit of preparation required on my part, but I am very excited. I’ll probably have another posting on this topic later.

MOVIE QUOTE OF THE DAY: “I will love you always. I will love you as my queen, and as the wife of my best friend, and while you live, I will love no other.” –Sir Lancelot in Excalibur.

Thanksgiving Over

Story Ideas: Movie Quote of the Day:
Isolde: If things were different. If we lived in a place without duty … would you be with me?
Tristan: That place does not exist.
Isolde: I’ll pretend it’s you.
–From Tristan and Isolde.

Well, a week of vacation has flown by once again. I spent Thanksgiving with my brother in Fort Worth. It was the first time I had seen him in years. It was good having my brother and I and our parents all together. Tempus Fugit. Now the Thanksgiving holiday is gone and the ghosts of Christmas past, present, and future now crowd and haunt us. We are now the third week into the third six weeks of our first semester. Before tomorrow, I must grade papers. I