At the Get Lit 2008 reading a few nights ago, a bunch of my students were there, one of whom is in my Israeli and Palestinian literatures class. Today, he said, surprised, "I thought you were a Jew." Same-difference, I said. In my heart, though, I was glad. It made me feel as if I were really teaching the students well, that they couldn't "guess" my identity or perspectives (and thus, try to appeal to me with imitating my points of view). On the final day, I always talk about the conflict from my personal experiences, but I believe I make them work harder if they can't guess how to please me. The only thing that pleases me is to see them struggle to understand, to go beyond the limits.
Here was one of my student's impromptu reports on the reading:
Attending “Get Lit” on Thursday, March 6, 2008 was such a wonderful experience for me. I did not intend on laughing and be entertained as much as I was. Not once did I want any of the speakers to stop reading their work nor was I ever bored. I feel honored and privileged to go to an institution that has such successful professors. The respect that I have developed for the professors at John Carroll has increased significantly and I was very impressed by the professors’ work at “Get Lit.” Being able to see professors outside of class in a more relaxed environment, helped to get to know them, even if it wasn’t in a direct manner. This was another thing I enjoyed about “Get Lit.” I feel as though the work they presented was a way of letting the audience know what kind of person they are, especially if the work was personal.
Steve Hayward was the first to speak for the night. His work was very funny which kept me entertained and on my feet. I also enjoyed how some of his references were of some people that I know of (i.e. Jim Morrison). I don’t think that the main character meant to be funny but it came out that way because his family was “unique.” Also, it was interesting and creative how he managed to find out about many other Jim Morrisons – I don’t think there are that many Sammar Sharbeks, if any others at all.
Having a piece of writing made into a movie is a very high honor and I was very impressed that Sarah Willis achieved this. Her story was very interesting because I’m sure there are a lot of teenagers that are in the position the main character, Janie, was in. The story was sort of emotional because you begin to feel bad for the characters and the position they have been put in, especially when Ray would yell, “I’m sorry.” I also found it interesting how Ray continued to call the car his brothers only for the reason of not jinxing him – that was clever.
George Bilgere was next to present his poetry. He also had a good sense of humor and it was definitely visible in his poems. I especially liked the poem about his ex-wife, I don’t know why, but it was just entertaining. When he read that poem it made me feel like I could imagine everything that he was talking about in my mind. Even though it was a poem, it still seemed like a story.
Following George Bilgere was Paula McLain. Here book was also entertaining because I could imagine my friends and me doing some of the things that her main character was doing (i.e. lay in the sun with baby oil). While she was reading, it seemed like she put herself into that character – her tone of voice, body language, etc. This made her reading very interesting because it seemed like the main character of the story was standing right in front of me.
Lastly, Dr. Philip Metres read some of his poems. Before he started to read his poetry, Paula McLain mentioned how high of an honor it is to have a book of poems published but when I heard some of his poems, it wasn’t hard to figure out why they were published. The first poem that he read was in the alphabet format. I can’t imagine how hard that must have been to come up with a poem in that way. What was even more impressive about it was that it was funny as well. I liked how he gave an introduction to his poems because it gave the audience some background before listening to it. The poem that told the story about his last name was also interesting. People think that my mother is of another ethnicity as well and I found it a coincidence how I could relate her experience to his experience. The ending of Dr. Metres’ reading was something that I have never witnessed in my life and I am glad that I did tonight. I realized that I had to concentrate on each individual person to find out what they were saying. The way that this poem was presented was so unique and added such a different style to poetry from what I’m normally familiar with.
Overall, I am very glad that I attended “Get Lit.” I saw JCU professors in a whole different light and I enjoyed what I heard. The amount of respect that I have for their accomplishments has been doubled. Also, the amount of laughing that I did within that hour time span was a perk as well.