the buzz: Get 'em to Read
One of the running jokes we’ve had on our tour over the years is how any piece of literature that is dirty or offensive, gets banned, gets a lot of criticisms for obscenity or lewdness….well they tend to sell very well. This continues to be tried and true.
Howl by Allen Ginsberg,
Edna St. Vincent Millay’s a Few Figs from Thistles
Of Mice and Men by John Steinbeck (still often on the top 10 most banned books in the last decade)
It kind of goes on and on. In fact our running gag is saying if you want kids to read literature, forbid them from doing so. Put Shakespeare on the highest shelf, tell them there’s too much sex and violence, that they are not allowed to read it. They’ll have it memorized.
I’ve often wondered, had I been a high school English teacher, what if I assigned a Free Reading book- students choice, put a big list of books on the chalkboard and then clearly and succinctly inform them they were in no way whatsoever allowed to pick any book or author on that list….would they read them? Obviously wouldn’t put that in for the assignment, but could you actually influence kids to read more literature outside of the curriculum this way?
Several years back we did a tour for 120 high school kids. Obviously we did not go to bars (well, the guides did afterwards to commiserate, but not on the actual tour). We broke them up into 4 groups and walked them through the village.
They were hands in pocket-eye-rolling-heel-dragging bored about as much as a high school kid could be. (As a former high school kid, I can testify that we can get super bored). We reached an Edna St. Vincent Millay house, and on a whim I tried something. I said (approximately)
“Millay wrote a lot about feminism, she wrote a lot about female sexuality and lesbianism, about love affairs and…..oh geez actually I probably shouldn't be talking about this. Let’s keep moving, don’t tell you folks or your teachers, I probably shouldn’t have come here.”
And we continued the tour. At the end of the tour the chaperones came up and told me that almost every kid in my group asked them for the name of that poet, who it was that I was talking about.
So teachers, we already have a problem with kids and adults not reading. Why not? Give it a try? Forbid them from reading some great works, and lets see what happens. You might just reach a couple kids.
And then maybe they’ll come on our tour.
5/15/2018 02:54:55 pm
Try proofreading your writing before you post, and then I’ll take your suggestions seriously.
Literary Pub Crawl
5/15/2018 03:57:15 pm
Oof. First sentence was rough. Good catch. I blame autocorrect and whiskey #saucedguides
5/15/2018 04:21:44 pm
Ha! Burn! Maybe don’t write blog posts immediately after drinking on the tour!
Literary Pub Crawl
5/15/2018 04:59:39 pm
I guess its the whole dating rule. Don't call or text her as soon as you get home from the bar. Wait at least until the next day.
5/15/2018 03:13:25 pm
5/15/2018 05:03:00 pm
I was all in, until I read the last sentence. DAMNIT.
I'm not drunk! I'M ENHANCED!!
5/16/2018 11:30:39 am
I think you are setting unreasonable expectations. No one could meet all these crazy restrictions. furthermore...Oh, hold on...they just ran out of tequila...I'm gonna have to switch to Mezcal...
5/17/2018 10:38:41 am
5/15/2018 04:22:42 pm
As Truman Capote once said "That's not writing, that's typing!"
5/15/2018 04:36:45 pm
So... don't write drunk, edit sober? Guess you had some hair of the dog this afternoon as a pick-me-up after International Dylan Thomas Day celebrations last night! Hehe :)
Literary Pub Crawl
5/15/2018 05:03:31 pm
Well to hear you say it, I guess if everyone followed that rule almost nothing would be written.
5/17/2018 10:40:41 am
Plus, no good story ever started with, "So guys, I was soooooo sober...."
5/15/2018 04:43:19 pm
That's not writing. That's typing.
5/15/2018 06:01:46 pm
“And then there is that other thing: when you think you are reading proof, whereas you are merely reading your own mind; your statement of the thing is full of holes & vacancies but you don't know it, because you are filling them from your mind as you go along. Sometimes -- but not often enough -- the printer's proof-reader saves you -- & offends you -- with this cold sign in the margin: (?) & you search the passage & find that the insulter is right -- it doesn't say what you thought it did: the gas-fixtures are there, but you didn't light the jets.”
5/17/2018 10:37:29 am
There is nothing to writing. All you do is sit down at a typewriter and bleed.
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