The Temptation to just Post “the Best is Yet to Come” is Real.
And yet, we’re going to choose to be bigger than that. Big bois, bigger than Frank Sinatra and down for original musings. Writing, and writing, and writing our hearts out until the end of time. And the end of time does approach. In 48 hours this post will be obsolete in the way memories are; flowing in rivers always downstream sometimes with driftwood and smoothing stones into polished moments. You’ll find I don’t know how to end things, or start things, only how to do them when I am compelled to. It leads to bad introductions and a line in the middle of prose that is “killer”. I’m also bad at goodbyes. So then, to end this semester with a rhyme, I’ll do my best to recall all of your names.
There is no end to the gratitude I have for your instruction and empathy. I cannot begin to understand the strength that it takes to, on no sleep, come give a lecture in the space of losing a family member and close friend. I can barely finish finals in the space of a distant death. And yet, you’ve powered through loss and the ongoing threat of Covid-19 in order to ensure that our Senior Seminar is the best class we’ve taken at VCU. I think I speak for all of us when I say thank you. Even with circumstances truly, fast, cheap, and out of control this has been the most meaningful educational experience of my lifetime. I truly hope that one day I can be as inspirational to my students as you are to me.
Did you hear Nicholas Cage is Joe exotic? It’s off topic but I figure that fits. Adam, you’ve made me laugh in ways I genuinely appreciate. I’m a fairly dry person, I think, and I often come into lectures exhausted from people around people all day. You’re a real energizing force, even for an introvert like me. I sincerely wish we could have watched National Treasure if nothing else because I would have loved to hear your commentary. Course’ reducing your contributions to mere laughter would be irresponsible – If I recall, you brought up the discussion that lead to a whole day of Bakhtin. Honestly, one of the best discussions of the semester. If there’s something to loved in the world, I suspect you’ll have a unique ability to find it. Maybe that thing is Nicholas Cage. Maybe it’s bad Zoom backgrounds. Unclear, but good luck. Bob’s my uncle.
We’ve been through a lot adjacent to each other, haven’t we? You’ve been an intellectual presence in my life since I decided Forensic Science wasn’t the call for me. We survived Pangallo’s ridiculously high expectations together, I think we took Lingold’s brilliant Caribbean Lit together, and now (of course) Errol Morris. I don’t know how to fully display my admiration for your particular perspective on literature; suffice to say I think you’re brilliant. I’ve given a lot of thought to your comments on Mr. Death especially and your insight has spawned many a discussion for me on what constitutes platforming. I think you’ve been on to something with that film. There’s a lack of the refined quality that makes later Morris interviews clearly tenable. I digress. It will be odd not having classes with you anymore. I think part of me expects you’ll just be at University of Wisconsin Milwaukee when I arrive. To say I’ll miss your insight is an understatement.
Joe – you remember saying that you thought the Ashtray was poorly written in spots? I still disagree with you but you’re a fine person to disagree with. You bring a unique and intensely personal perspective to discussions and it’s refreshing. There’s an attribute you and Matt share that always surprises me. The Sad robot, an emergent symbol of our seminar (in my mind), is one of those things. I wouldn’t have ever even considered it. In fact, I took it for granted. But you shined a spotlight on it and I’m still thinking about it. What is the sad robot? Will we ever fully know? Also, and this is true, you have amazing hair. I don’t know why I’m putting that here, but it’s a good look for you.
You know, naked mole rats are cute. I don’t care what anyone says, you’re absolutely right. But O’possoms are nasty disgusting creatures. I don’t know what you think about them, maybe we agree. Jackie, I really appreciate a lot of things about you. Firstly that you kept the hello world post up on your rampages, bold move. Secondly, that your fascination with Fast Cheap and Out of Control is contagious. And by that I mean even just reviewing your blog posts makes me want to go watch it again, and pay detailed attention to the words themselves. You have a fullness of perspective when it comes to media that I don’t think I have. I think I focus on one leg of the chair in a way that’s obsessive – you seem to have a way of identifying a grander design. Your comments make me want to be a better English student. Honestly, that means a lot to me.
There was a time when we argued on my Thin Blue Line post. We were blog rivals to romanticize it. I kid; discussions with you were always fruitful because I knew I’d have to defend myself. It was genuinely shocking to hear you didn’t know how I was using remediation until the presentation – I had constructed this version of “Matt” that knew everything I did and a vast amount more. I still contend that you know a fair bit more about all of this stuff than I do, and you’re ability to convey ideas is second to none. In that regard, I have a substantial respect for you. That made the chance to know that I had made something more understandable to you all the more fulfilling. You’ve taught me a lot, including not to over-engineer a haiku or a blog post. Good luck in graduate school, and if you ever need to argue with someone hit me up.
Speaking of Haikus, thank you for bringing the Errol Morris haiku to my attention, giving me the experience of hearing about Cicada 3301 in my undergrad, and blowing my mind with your collage theory. I was talking to Dr.C last week about how I feel as-though there’s something in your concept of collage lens that I absolutely need to understand if I want to work further with Morris and media forms. I’m actually thinking about proposing a CCCC 2021 presentation on Morris and Remediation as a form of objective correlative. I feel like Collage and object correlative have a sort of necessary association themselves. This is a long winded way of saying, let’s talk.
We were going to throw a pizza party and look where it got us. It’s been brilliant to get to know you, try to play video games, and fail to have our schedules line up. You’re very soft spoken but I feel as though you speak with purpose in a way I don’t. I talk too much for it to be as meaningful, dilute words or something like that. Not to mention, your artistic ability and knowledge of skelletor are second to none. I’m genuinely glad I met you and got to experience your flashes of inspiring brilliance.
Wiley, you always had the best blog post name and excellent taste in music. It’s just a fact. Your posting of Errol Morris’s tweets brought levity in the hardest moments of this course. I definitely ended up following him on twitter but it’s not as fun to get your information from the source. I don’t know, is it weird to say I look up to your titles? You’re brilliant to titling things. It’s the hardest part, and yet everything you title is just resonant. It’s a good natural skill to have. Honestly, I wish we had talked more.
I fully and completely appreciate anyone who brings House of Leaves to the table of any class. You are the only person who has done this in my entire time at VCU. I’m not crazy right, it’s the best book! You could teach a whole seminar on just that book! I also appreciate anyone who chooses the route of commenting on matters of hermanutics. I cannot. I know so little of religious meaning making. As with all I don’t know, it’s awe inspiring. Thank you for bringing me to consider Morris in a way I would otherwise never venture to.
Greg, let me give you a superlative. Most likely to get this damn degree? Best at taglines? No, something else. How about, most likely to do extra work in way that makes the final moments of a brilliant class even more brilliant. Your discussion of noir was deeply engaging, your application of film theory even more so. I really loved your post about Wormwood’s camera apparatus. If you ever make a film, I’d watch it. The best compliment I can give you is that you seem like a natural director. A natural visionary.
And so, We have Come to a Logical End.
In an ideal world, I would stay in touch with you all. Each of you have been the best of colleagues and dare I say friends. I have been moved by your thoughts for the better part of four months, and that’s a true honor. So, if you fancy, you can follow me on twitter @poemsandplay, add me discord The Trickster#4574, or send me an email at email@example.com. I’ll be at University of Wisconsin Milwaukee next year and freezing in the fall snow, so, your companionship and insight will be a thawing force. There’s a terrible amount more to say, but I want to let you all know that I appreciate you instead of babbling about my own next steps. Suffice to say this summer will be busy I’ll keep you in the loop.
-Yours Turly, Wren