they ask write anything after i say write anything so i say it again write anything and they say but what do you mean and i say anything like words on a page anything and they say but like what about and i say anything and they say anything and i say anything and then they write words on a page one after the other and no one writes the word anything and i am happy about that but they also write words like good and pretty and those words are not good are not pretty and they write words like nice and beautiful and those words are not pretty are not good are not nice are not beautiful and i want anything to mean anything but words that don’t mean anything but anything means anything and i can’t complain that they wrote anything even though they wrote good and pretty and nice and beautiful because they finally got it they followed the instructions they hesitated but they did it and now they need to do crossword puzzles to build vocabulary.
that’s how i learned what an aerie is. who mel ott is. what is jai alai. how to fill in the blanks for ___-Magnon, Mauna _____. all the parts of Q. E. D.
will this be on the final? is there a final on the syllabus? no. then no.
the freedom of the language suffers them greatly. smothers them to the end of the sentence. they fear the fragment, those who know what it is, and those who don’t fear the paper itself.
will this be on the midterm? is there a midterm on the syllabus? no. then no.
can we curse? yes if it’s meaningful. fuck! fuck yeah.
no one says fuck ever again.
when does the semester end? not soon enough. do you hate us? no. not you. i like you. you are very nice people.
said with sincerity. meant with sincerity. in this instance.
syllables. syllabus. syllables. syllabus. syllables. syllabus. syllables. syllabus. syllables. syllabus. syllables. sellable. sailable. salient. silent. silence.
You know those word searches? If you go letter by letter, circle around each letter to see if it starts a word, you’ll find all the words eventually. It’s devastatingly detail-oriented. Orientated? Oriented? Converse? Conversate? Conversating? Conversationing? Those word searches sometimes have words they don’t mean to have. They have those words that you didn’t know were words until you played Words With Friends and found out that za is an acceptable word even though Word underlines it in a red squiggle.
this is a portfolio. it’s a fancy folder. fill it with the words you made. fill it with drafts and redrafts. please do not use plastic holders. fill it with orange. fill it with pear. fill it with saliva. please use a portfolio and not an envelope. fill it with the fifteen weeks. fill it with leftover teen angst. fill it with numbers. please do not hand in a stack of unattached papers. please do not do not. fill it with what you don’t realize is grief. fill it with the do not dos. fill it with the doing.
Image from Miami University Libraries.