FIfty-four Days until Halloween


Good morning from Starbucks in the Commons,

This semester I have all my office hours in coffee shops. While I have done part of my life that way (both in an out of school), it is not because of the coffee or other forms of caffiene that I spend what might seem to be an inordinate amount of time here, it is because I get a lot accomplished. They seem to be productive spaces for me. Back in Wisconsin (and surrounding area) there is a chain called #Caribou. I appreciate them for their commitment to the communities in which they live and their work toward using #fairtrade coffees. I did hear this past summer they were bought out and I need to check that out. I am always concerned when start-up companies get bought out. Sometimes their commitment to what got them started goes by the wayside.

While I seem to get a better response from students coming to see me, I am also able to get reading and work done. I sometimes put in earbuds (like now as I listen to Celtic Music), but even without them, I am able to block out most of the sound around me and just get work done. It has been that way since I was in graduate school. There is a whole string of coffee shops from #Motherlode (circa 1994) to my first stint in Starbucks when I left and went to the Detroit area, where I also had my introduction to Panera Bread (1999). There was the #Wide-Awake Coffee Bar (and #Uncle John’s Record Shop, which I first frequented in high school and I am not going to provide a date for that) in my hometown of Sioux City, IA. I went to Starbucks when I lived in Texas and then got back to the Upper Peninsula, where I finished my graduate work. There was a new coffee shop called the Cyberia Cafe (2000-2003). Moving to Menomonie in 2003 (amazing that it was 10 years ago this fall) I found a local coffee place directly across the street from Harvey Hall, but it closed. It was that October that Caribou came to Menomonie. I wrote the majority of my dissertation there. Now, as many here know, if you want to find me, hang out in the coffee shops and sooner or later, I will appear. Most likely, sooner.

I spend almost my entire weekend working on school things, and while I made a significant dent, what is coming seems overwhelming at the moment. I think the idea of full-time school is certainly understated at this point. However, I merely need to keep plugging away. I have been doing the reading I assigned my #Writing for the #Internet class and the eccosee text is really interesting to me because it forces me to rethink the idea of #rhetorical #analysis once again. I think thereason most students are less effective than they hope with their #writing or #designing or #communicating is because they fail to adequately analysis the rhetorical situation in which they are operating. I think my students probably get tired of hearing “audience” or “purpose” coming out of my mouth, but it is fundamental to good communication. Dobrin and Morey write that “the imagery of language is not a visual image” (eccosee 5). What an interesting statement. One, I think needs some unpacking. Yet we almost always seem to accompany words with images and I am not sure we separate them very carefully or intentionally. In fact, it seems that we are more dependent on that connection than ever before. As we have moved toward more and more electronic forms of communicating and with our ability to attach images to almost everything, we seldom see one without the other. I can attach photos to my texts (and often do) or my tweets, or now with Instagram, I take the picture first and add my description or my #s. Things for me to ponder in my classes and in my work.

Over the weekend, driving down Lightstreet, I saw the first really clear sign of fall. The sumac bushes along the road were bright red, orange, and yellow. It was beautiful, but it also reminded me of just how quickly the summer passed. Maybe I found myself in that place of #”brown study”, or at least perhaps I wish I was. I would have gotten more of my own writing done. It is amazing to me how already it seems like it is necessary to accomplish just what is on the list next to keep my nose above the waterline.

Finally, I guess I should comment on my title, one of my favorite holidays is Halloween and I need to start planning my work for the fall. I did get a number of things done last fall, but I want to take it to another level this Halloween. I did see a Halloween store had opened in the area. It might have to be a destination point soon. In the meanwhile, I think I will work on my classes, my other work, and have my Pumpkin muffin (yah!! Halloween rocks!).

Thanks for reading,

Michael (aka: Dr. Martin)

Published by thewritingprofessor55

As I move toward the end of a teaching career in the academy, I find myself questioning the value and worth of so many things in our changing world. My blog is the place I am able to ponder, question, and share my thoughts about a variety of topics. It is the place I make sense of our sometimes senseless world. I believe in a caring and compassionate creator, but struggle to know how to be faithful to the same. I hope you find what is shared here something that might resonate with you and give you hope.

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