What follows is a series of writings I wrote during the course of ENG 310. I’ll be the first to admit they’re pretty clumsy, much like this introduction, which I am writing at six o’clock in the morning after a night of four hours of sleep and before a shift of substitute teaching in a high school English class full of kids who probably got a similar amount of sleep but are handling it much better than I am because they are full of energy drinks. I don’t do energy drinks, bro.
However, it’s important to show students that not everything they write is going to win a Pulitzer or a Nobel prize for literature or even just a “Nice work!” from their future English teacher, which is me. (I would never lie to them.) Most things writers write, even good writers, are not very good. I am a published writer. I’ve written good things. That’s how I got them published. But for every one of those good things, there are dozens upon dozens of things that have been relegated to the Windows recycle bin of history, which is different from the regular Windows recycle bin in that it is only metaphorical. However, they were also relegated to the regular Windows recycle bin.
I’ll allow you, the reader, to decide which of these things are good, and which are not. Not that you needed my permission. You would have done it anyway. You are your own person, and I am proud of you for that. Before you begin reading them, however, I will add one more thought: For a significant length of time, I considered myself primarily a writer of humor. Then I stopped being pretentious and considered myself a writer a comedy. There is not much comedy in these pieces, though, because they came on the heels of a particularly difficult year. That year was 2020. You know what happened in 2020. You were there. You also didn’t enjoy it. So, there is a certain bleakness to the pieces included here, but I promise you: I’m OK. Don’t worry about me. I’ve got three shots of vaccine in me, and I’m ready to roll.
This poem is one of the first things I wrote for the class. I don’t write a lot of poems, because they are not my forté. This poem is from the perspective of a fictional narrator, and it was mostly an excuse to write the last stanza, which popped into my head and made me think, “Boy, that’s hot stuff.”
Review: The Jeremy Clymer Show
Season 42 – Episode 10
I wrote this piece later in the semester. I tend to think of a lot of things in pop cultural terms (it was the running theme of my blog for a while), so it seemed like a natural fit to write about my life as if it were a TV show. It was meant to be funny, but since I was writing mostly about 2020, it ended up not being quite as funny as I intended.
ADHD Is Real, and It’s Underdiagnosed
We read a book for this class titled The War of Art, by Steven Pressfield. Partway into the book, Pressfield says the following: “Attention Deficit Disorder, Seasonal Affect Disorder, Social Anxiety Disorder. These aren’t diseases, they’re marketing ploys. Doctors didn’t discover them, copywriters did. Marketing departments did. Drug companies did.”
That nonsense made me angry, so I wrote about it.
Shin Godzilla Predicted Our Response to the COVID-19 Pandemic
Not too long ago, I rewatched the movie Shin Godzilla, which I contend is the best Godzilla movie since the original Godzilla. While watching it, it struck me that it had a downright EERIE amount of parallels to our current world situation, so I wrote about those parallels. It was only afterward that I thought to do a Google search to see if anyone else had made similar comparisons. It turns out that yeah, EVERYONE had made similar comparisons. Whoops! I promptly canceled my plans to pitch it to several entertainment websites.
How Tall I Am
This is a more recent piece that I wrote while substituting in a classroom where the students were all very well behaved and thus I did not have much to do. It’s about how Middle Schoolers Ask Me the Craziest Things (trademark pending). I figured it would be nice to have a lighter piece in the portfolio to counteract some of the gloomier ones.
I wrote this piece around the same time I wrote the last one. Misophonia is a condition that is relatively common among the neurodiverse. In a nutshell: there are some sounds that drive me absolutely up the wall to an unreasonable degree. For instance: the sound of someone chewing with their mouth open. Also: my elderly cat’s constant screeching. I had been thinking about how being stuck at home in near-total isolation for a year and a half had made me more susceptible to sensory issues such as that one, and it turns out substitute teaching is a great antidote to that because it is often QUITE INTENSE on multiple sensory fronts, and you have no choice but to just deal with it.
This is another very short poem. It’s about how as you are trying to make forward progress in your life, you are fighting against waves of nostalgia-induced sadness about everything you are leaving behind. And by “you,” I mean “me.” Boy, isn’t poetry better when the author over-explains it to you???