Why do oatmeal raisin cookies smell so good and taste so bad?

I’ve been thinking for a long time about this blog post and how just generally awesome it is. I am preparing to write a research paper on some to-be-determined aspect of teaching writing (well, technically, right now I’m “working”) and my mind keeps referring me to Aunt B.’s reasons for making high school students read literature, about how it creates a community of people who have all read The Scarlet Letter. I had thought these thoughts but had never known how to articulate them.

It’s been nearly two months since I first read that post, and I’ve read it countless times since then. If you want to know the truth, I printed it out and sort of carry it around in my bag like ammo, like nothing can touch me, like I cannot be discouraged because I have Aunt B. in my bag.

See, first she talks about Huck Finn, and then she talks about America and then before you know it, you’re reading part of a Carole Maso essay that you vaguely remember reading because before you carried around blog posts to ward off evil spirits, you carried Break Every Rule with you. (And now you can’t even find it because your apartment is so cluttered and you had to, shamefully, go check it out of the library so you can use it for research for this paper you’re supposed to be writing right this very moment.)

Then, I started thinking about how really effective blog posts are essentially hypertext. The links take you to more information about the subject. It’s putting your citations right into your paper. What better way to get kids to understand the point of citing their sources than to show them really genuis blog posts?

Last week, in my Teaching Composition class, we were talking about “real world” applications and how to answer the “when am I EVER going to use this?” questions. I am, of course, not all that interested in the real world, and I think that’s one of my more obvious traits. I think my students, if they have pulses, will get very quickly that I am not concerned about the real world, that it does not factor into my life at all, and that my claims about the real world application of the knowledge and skills I will bestow upon them may be somewhat lacking in authenticity. I wonder if I tell them that mad writing skills can help them blog like Aunt B., if that will resonate at all. Something tells me that in this MySpace-crazy world, those who maintain standards of writing even when writing on the internet do so because of the strengths of their characters and not because some W131 instructor held them down and forced them to examine their weak sentence structures.

I think I’m going to write my paper about the challenges of teaching grammar even though I want to do something about how really good blog posts are like mini research papers. (That notion is still too fresh in my mind and I have to cite scholarly sources and blah, blah, blah.) I want to be able to demonstrate that grammar is freedom, that if you know how to do it, the world of composition just opens right up.