Friday, February 8, 2008

Read This

Because two years ago I taught a class called English Comp to the most amazing group of students. Most of them didn’t really want to be in the class but they realized pretty quickly that I am a sucker and a few of them even took it semi-seriously. In the end they wrote some truly incredible essays and even paragraphs that still knock the wind out of me.

When I was working with English Comp, I couldn’t teach what I normally taught and I had no curriculum to follow. I dug through boxes of tattered essays and shelves of dog-eared books. I tried it all (who knew they'd hate On the Road? I was schooled. sorry, guys...) What I learned is this: they needed to read something that was written to them—in a voice that was clear and wise and sharp and entertaining and challenging all at once. They needed to read someone who spoke to what they were living that very day and did so with beauty and grace and without condescension. And, most importantly, with an understanding of their secrets.

Because I wish I knew about Jason Brown then. Because what is more raw and real and intense than the moments he captures here? I don’t know. You tell me.

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