e-mail me at billdeg@umich.edu



Two weeks into the term and so far I've made good on my plan to spend part of Mondays and Wednesdays writing at the coffeeshop. Plugging away at the empathy project--trying to theorize empathy at once as a material rhetoric and a pedagogy--and making a firm commitment to (stop staring at interview data and) start writing up the service learning data from last year.

I read the Detroit Free Press, skim the Times, maybe do the crossword, drink coffee, and the start writing. Distractions are anything but. I like the noise, the coffee smell that gets into the fabric of my backpack, most of all the mix of old and young faces. Always law and medical students lost in expensive books. The elderly guy with the accent (Eastern European?) who just asked me for my copy of the NYTimes. Sometimes he uses coffee stirrers to eat little packs of jelly from the condiment cart. Usually at least one person reading a Bible and taking notes. Dude who has loudly used the word "asshole" a half dozen times: "you can't find a parking space at the market because of cell phone assholes." Elderly guy has given him a section of my Times, I think to shut him up, but he's on a first-name basis with the subjects of each item he reads: Tiny Fey is "Tina," Alan Greenspan is "Alan."

Why write here? Because I constantly take breaks (sometimes a break is just a moment to look around) and the faces, the sounds, the smells, fill those breaks and become the next sentence on the page.

1 comment:

Jonathan Benda said...

Our semester just started this week--I think I need to get a plan like this going, too. I'm already behind!

Your empathy project sounds really interesting. Wish I could go to CCCC to hear more about it.