Monday, April 16, 2007

Bits of Fluff

There will be no bullets in this entry, though there might as well be for all the randomness about to ensue.

So, you all know I've been participating in the Blog Exchange for a few months now. I've greatly enjoyed it, and met some great bloggers through it, including the hostess, Kristen, of Motherhood Uncensored. A while back, Kristen asked for volunteers for a segment on her Blog Talk Radio program - "Letting it all hang out: Are blogs going too far?" She wanted to get a couple bloggers with differing opinions about how much of our personal lives and privacy to give up to the blogosphere. Being a very open blogger, I, of course, fall towards the "open book" end of the sharing spectrum. Meg, of Simply Nutmeg, plays her hand a little closer, so it should be interesting to discuss our respective choices and the reasons for them.

The show will be from about 6-7pm (PST) tomorrow (Tuesday). If you'd like to listen to me babble incoherently, here's a handy button you can use!

Listen Live

Or you can go later and get the archived version. Come on, you know those of you who only know me through the computer box want to hear the dulcet tones of my voice coming through your cheap-ass speakers. ;)


We're into the last few weeks of the year at my school, which for my class means we're into the mad sprint towards the AP Exam. Today in class, we gave the students a pre-assessment to figure out what we should review in detail and what the kids were pretty good at already. Number five on their assessment said, "Write an example of a metaphor." Our kids rolled their eyes when we first made them put similes and metaphors on the lists of terms to know, since they had been "doing this stuff since, like, sixth grade or something." But we figured they're important basics of analyzing language, so we should include them.

Out of 22 kids in first period, how many do you think could actually write a metaphor correctly? Five. Yep, five of my 11th-grade AP students can correctly use a metaphor.

Is this normal? Can you write a metaphor? It seems like it shouldn't be that hard if you know what it is (which all the students do - they can rattle off the definition without a problem), but maybe my expectations are unreasonable. Seriously, post a comment and write a metaphor for me. Redeem my faith in speakers of the English language.


And, just because no one seems to really care one way or the other, another poem.

April 7, 2007
"There is something of beauty in a silent piano"

There is something of beauty in a silent piano,
wrapped in whispers of emptiness
like a fog encircling where once was sound;
Where once poured forth
- music -
from a vessel of thought;
- passion -
from a vessel of reason.

Silence settles on the keys like a blanket -
not too heavy, but just enough to cover.
And the sounds of black
and white
wait patiently for a moment.
One moment.

I look and I see
a blank canvas, or
an empty stage -
a world waiting to be written.
And all I have to do to write the world is-

- break the silence.


jittacatgirl said...

nice dunce cap, monkey.

Anonymous said...

A simile is like a reserved, operatic butler: it steps forward, carefully clears its throat, and then launches into "La donna e mobile" or maybe "Light my candle". A good metaphor takes you down with a quick Tani Otoshi.

I like tonight's poem. I wish more people knew of the beauty in the silence that follows live classical music, particularly chamber music, and would refrain from applauding for a good minute.

Dallas Blue said...

I don't like poetry. Sorry. It's not just yours, it's most! Talk to my english teachers... They know well my look of scorn and rolled eyes when it's time for the poetry unit.

However, my love for you is bigger than all the poems I've ever rolled my eyes at, so I will say for you that I rather enjoy your poetry.

mama in waiting said...

as a young budding pianist, i used to visualize myself playing (perfectly and without mistakes of course) for huge audiences. and even in my wildest imaginations, it was the silence (before i laid fingers to keys, after the last notes range out and before thunderous applause) that i relished the most...

Dee said...

I'll definitely listen to you on Blog Talk Radio, although it will have to be after the fact.

No metaphor from me today because I am too tired to remember what a metaphor is right now.

Anonymous said...

"You are my sunshine, my only sunshine..."

That's my metaphor. :) I'm headed off to work for day 7 in a row, but I will try to catch up with you in the next couple of days. Love you!

Anonymous said...

That kid is such a shit.

There's my metaphor! He isn't LIKE a shit (a la simile); he IS a shit.

Anonymous said...

I am a growling grizzly at progress report time. That's not a metaphor; it's the truth. I really change into a growling, snarling, furry beast when I have to calculate and record student averages at midterm.


Caffeinated Librarian said...

"La-ra's getting famous!"

*clap clap, clap clap clap*

"La-ra's getting famous!"

*clap clap, clap clap clap*

*grin* So, did you have fun doing the pod-cast? Oh, and didn't I have a few metaphors on my last post? Can those be my offerings please? It's 12:40 a.m. here and I'm to tired to be all poetical.

Jeni said...

great piano poem.

Lara said...

jitta - poor monkey.

metaphor man - *fanfare* um, there wasn't really a metaphor in there. there was an excellent simile, as well as personification, but no metaphor. and i'm glad you enjoyed the poem. the silence is sometimes as important as the sound, i've found.

sassy - do you roll your eyes at my poems? it's okay, you can admit it. :-P

kd - yes, i love running my fingers lightly over the keys and hearing my own breathing, just before i start to play. every once in a while, i feel like my playing actually just gets in the way.

dee - let me know what you think after you listen. and no metaphors necessary for one so tuckered out. :)

seeser - "you are the sunshine of my life!" and you are overworked, too. call me when you're less booked.

betsy - ha! poor kid. but ha! anyway. ;)

tense teacher - boy, remind me to stay out of your way when it's grading time, then. :-P

caffeinated librarian - i wouldn't say i'm getting "famous," but perhaps "less unknown" would be a fair term. i had a blast doing the show, and would love to do it again sometime, if the topic were another one i had strong opinions about.

blogwhore - thanks much! (i'm interested to read your blog, but it's protected. if you come back and decide you're willing, i'd love to come read!)

Anonymous said...

Personification is a type of metaphor. For that matter, so is a simile. The terms "simile" and "metaphor" operate on different levels: the first describes a specific syntactic structure, while the second is a complex idea that has motivated considerable linguistic research. Google, for example, "George Lakoff", who is a linguistics professor at Berkeley.

The problem with getting too specific about language is that the subject does not enjoy any sort of uniqueness properties that are fundamental to fields such as math.

Lara said...

m.m. - fair enough. unfortunately, we have to teach to the specifications of the AP Language/Comp exam. which are stupid. very, very stupid. and the AP readers? also stupid. such is life in a high school classroom.

Anonymous said...

That's it? That's your reponse: "fair enough"? I was all set to call up my friend Ophelia the Ostrich for some backup in what I thought was an impending linguistics debate.

Lara said...

m.m. - this is an issue of nuances, and i've learned that many of my students aren't ready to handle nuanced issues yet. i have to state things as blanket rules even when there may be many exceptions, and i have to narrow concepts that may be quite broad. they have to learn the rules before they can break them, and they have to learn things in black and white before they can look at the gray.

TSM Oregon said...

Well, since the only metaphor I feel I could confidently submit involves a strong tower of manly expression, I think I'd best skip it.

Well, til bedtime that is.

And your students would do much better than TSM on 3 glasses of wine.

alex. said...

how are they with metonymy and synecdoche? do they know the difference between pars pro toto and totum pro parte? little punks. in my day...and on my continent...