Monday, 22 October 2007

Not with a bang, but a whimper

And so it came to pass that thy trusty author, haggard and footsore, approached the end of the Semester of Doom. Only one lecture remained, and she had vague and ignoble intentions of making it a repeat performance of the technicolour oration she had spun this very morning (on all manner of notions, including a reader-response theory of genre, the dangers of matching one's bustier to one's bloomers [i.e., puts one at considerable risk of being mistaken for an Easter egg], the derivation of the word "diet" [from the Latin for day, "dies", because diets were never meant to go for more than 24 hours], and, hey look, is that the time?).

I've just collected informal course evaluation surveys from my worthy third year students, one of whom, to the question, "Is there anything you disliked about the course?", has replied, "I didn't like you being interrupted in the lecture". Bless you, worthy third year student, though you know not what you say. It's my being interrupted in the lecture, my anticipation of, and growing reliance on, being interrupted in the lecture, that has enabled me to prepare a good 6.3 minutes less material per week, thus ensuring the salutary kip that has kept me in such excellent health and spirits and saved me from deliquescing utterly into a puddle of reader-response theory and underpant commentary and sentences like this one.

But they don't like me being interrupted in the lectures (they being those who don't themselves interrupt), and I feel like it behoves me to respond in timely fashion and prepare a final and uninterruptable lecture for Wednesday. So (yawn), if you've got any suggestions (yawn) about (yawn) what I might say (yawn) in a final first year blather about autobiography, suggest away. Pleeeeeeeease.


TimT said...

Therefore, in conclusion, effusion, and furthermore, my students, just as cottage pie is a pie made out of cottages, Russian Caravan tea is tea made out of Russian Caravans, the Tweed River is flowing with old brown jumpers, so to is an autobiography the set of memoirs written by a car.

And that is all I have to say on the matter, as well as being the end.

TimT said...

"I was about to say, before I was interrupted..." was the immortal beginning to Oliver Wendell-Holmes book 'The Autocrat of the Breakfast Table'. The interruption lasted, as he explained, a number of decades.

alexis said...

Excellent. Repeat 120 times and I've got my hour.

Martin Kingsley said...

What I know about the art of penning an autobiography (having, in a fit of sudden and near-fatal idiocy, elected to attempt further screen-writing practice rather than take your class, a choice I continue to lament loudly and insistently up to the present day) can be written on one side of the squashed-up remains of Oscar Wilde's left ear.

The Life and Times of George Foreman, Once a Heavy Weight, Now a Cashed Up Culinary Crusader, a Gastronomic Grilling Genius? It's a good story. The grills aren't bad, either, they do a good job on veggies!

And, in line with their claims, they Knock Out the Fat. What the Fat has to say about this, is not recorded.

blue_haired_jennifer said...

Speaking as a third-year student, though with worthiness undefined, I recommend that you pepper the thing incredibly liberally with puns. First-years have ears so filled with wax and impacted dust that it's impossible to get into them without copious use of paronomasia; it's pundamental.

Metaphors be with you.

Russian Caravan totaller said...

The answer is simple. You do a highlights package of all the other lectures you have given this semester, possibly a highlights package consisting of the third paragraph of each one (or another numbered paragraph of your choice). Alternatively, you could put together a highlights package of all the interruptions, featuring the things you wish you had said in response to said interruptions but didn't think of saying at the time. You could even have a digression upon the role of interruption in autobiography.

wool spaniel said...

What about a lecture on the autobiographical significance of the minor coincidence?

For example, just two days ago I enjoyed a witty conversation with some of my excellent siblings about punny autonyms used by Thai restaurants and hairdressing salons. (Not to mention houses of ill repute.)

And then today some ABC radio presenter had a phone-in competition to see whether Thai restaurants or hairdressing salons sport the punnier names!!! (It was nearly a tie, but the Thai restaurants narrowly won the day with such Thai-riffic examples as Thai-rannosaurus, N-Thai-Sing, Thai-tanic, etc etc. This clearly beat the Alley Barber, Cut Above, Short and Curly, The Dandy Ruff, and so on.)

Coincidence? Or are we at The Cutting Edge of daytime radio culture with all its Banala-thai?

bernhilde said...

Ooooh! Oooooh!

Lexi, I say you put the BIO back in autobiography. Give them the intimate details of, say, the way your toes grow all the up to the quick of your nails so that you've always got them in spades. Or maybe some other smattering of biological wonderment - and express your admiration that it all happens AUTOmatically. Throw in a couple of GRAPHS and you've got yerself a killer lecture.

Sleep for you, love, and well done on this morning's lecture effort!

Maria said...

In a blather about autobiography?

"Once upon a time, there was a happy Volvo. It was very happy for about a year, and it played it quite safe, until one day it met a rather menacing Ferrari..."

JahTeh said...

Why don't you tell them you've got religion and start speaking in tongues. It should be a good twenty minutes before they realize you're taking the piss.

TimT said...

Deliver a fifty minute lecture on the development of sewers through the ages, in ancient Sumerian.

Okay, okay, I know the moment has passed, but it would impress the hell out of your students.

alexis said...

You are all super, you folk. Thanks for the suggestions. You'll be pleased to hear that the lecture is done and dusted, and has now sunk into the collective unmemory.


Jahteh, if I could speak in tongues, I would. As it is, the best I can do is veer wildly between my Russian, German, Glaswegian, Texan and Wessex pirate accents.

Jennifer, you get a special mention for excellence in punditry (as do you, Wool Spaniel). "Metaphors be with you" is my new favourite sentence. I'll be using it early and often.

Russian Caravan, you da lady. I will make a habit of seeking advice from yr goodly self.

Tim, I am myself a person of Sumeria, especially after I've eaten too much.

Bernhilde and Maria, I am glad you're in my life, I am.