Friday, November 24, 2006

Wednesday's Lesson Plan

English 70 Lesson Plan Day 43, Wednesday

  1. Introduction:

  • Section 1—How This Started

  • Sample from 05

  • Section 2—Mission, What We Were Looking For, Theme

  • Sample from 05

  • Section 3—Two Lessons—One example.

  • Section 4—The Run Down: Facts and Synopsis

2. Outlines

  • Section 4: 13-19

  • Sample from Auster

  • Sample from Mott, Barajas

  • A look at the writers and the stories. Demographics etc.

  • Gender

  • Age

  • Where you are from.

  • Where you live.

  • Former jobs

  • Current job

  • Career goals

  • Theme statement that captures the main idea of the stories in your Antholgoy.

  • Also, for Monday: Quiz on Best Stories

Tuesday, 11.28
Rough draft of introductions due.
Peer edit introductions.

Wednesday 11.29
Peer Edit essay you’d like to revise for improved score.
Best version of anthology essays due, on paper as well as electronically if possible.

Thursday 11.30
Lab? Covers? Table of Contents? Other?

Friday 12.1
Introduction Essay due.
Revised essay for improved score due.

During Finals:
Tuesday from 930-1030
Anthologies handed out.
Food, drink.
Readings of Best of Best and a few words from me.

Anthology Introduction Outline

Section One—How did this start?

Your first section will be about how the stories in your anthology came about.

¶ 1 How, when and where he was first approached about NPR show

¶ 2 He wasn’t interested at first, but he said he’d think about it

¶ 3 His wife came up with an idea that changed his mind

¶ 4 His wife’s idea was to have other people tell their stories.

**¶ 5 Summary section one, How National Story Project was born.

Questions to get you started—

How did you feel on the first day of class?
When you got your first essay assignment?
When you handed in your first assignment?
When you read or didn’t read your stories?
When you got them back?
What got you motivated to do the work?
What process has each story gone through?
What did you think when you first got the anthology?
When you first read the stories?
When we discussed them in class?

Section Two—What do you look for in a good story? What is the theme of our book?

You second section should be about what makes a good story good, in English 70’s anthology.

You second section should also state the theme of the stories you have read.

**¶ 6 He lays out the mission of the project: To collect true stories. He told the listeners he was looking for true and short stories. Especially those that defied our expectations of the world. True stories that sounded like fiction.

§ What has been the mission of English 70, for you, for the class?

§ You should explain what type of stories we were trying to write in the class. Maybe explain the six traits if it helps.

§ What do you look for in a good story?

¶ 7 He has been flooded with submissions, much more than he thought it would be, and it’s hard to pick.

¶ 8 There have been some disturbed people who have submitted

**¶ 9 States the theme of the entire book: We haven’t been perfect, but we are real.


After reading all the stories from our class and others, what is the theme of our anthology. What is its main message?

Maybe you can draw this out from a story, as Auster does.

A theme is the moral, message or belief expressed by a work of art.

It is like a thesis, only it is often unstated and also, unlike a thesis in an essay, there can be many themes for a single work of art.

Section Three—What have you learned?

**¶ 10 One of the things he’s learned from the stories: how deeply and passionately most of us live within ourselves. Our attachments are ferocious. Our loves overwhelm us…

Explain one lesson you’ve learned from reading the stories, or hearing them read in class.

**¶ 11 Another things he learned from the stories: You have to be willing to admit that you don’t have all the answers. If you think you do, you will never have anything important to say.

Explain a second lesson you’ve learned from reading the stories or hearing them read in class.

**¶ 12 Here’s an example of what I’m talking about:

¶ three paragraph example (indented on page xviii)

Cut and paste an excerpt from one of the stories that helps show the two lessons you’ve learned from the over all process.

Section Four—The Run Down: Facts and synopses.

Your fourth section should be a look at the writers and the stories themselves.

¶ 13 The project moved from the radio to a book idea.

**¶ 14 Some facts about the anthology and discussion of the first and last pieces.

§ How many stories are in our anthology?

§ What is the first story about?

§ What is the last story about?

**¶ 15 More facts about the breakdown of the writers ages/genders etc.

Explain the demographics (breakdown) of English 70—
§ gender,
§ ages,
§ geography,
§ former/current jobs,
§ career goals.

**¶ 16 How the book is organized and an overview of the contents.

Explain the sections Animals/Objects etc

And explain the division of the book into stories from your class and stories from all the classes.

¶ 17 Tries to define what the stories are. Suggests more themes—viet nam, WWII

¶ 18 Selects one story for brief praise.

**¶ 19 Ends with a list of very brief details from many stories and has a good last six lines that sums up the stories over all again.

Pick stories from your class and do the same things Auster does—
remember a brief flash from them as a way of hooking the reader. Try to include as many stories as possible. (all of ‘em would be good)

Then summarize the project in a few well written final thoughts.

Thursday, November 09, 2006

English 70 Lesson Plan Day 32 TGITH

1. Last night, Widner?

2. Some notes

a. You can go up. You can go down.

b. Ask me soon about “See Me”s

c. The blog is incomplete on Lesson Plans, but still good stuff on it.

d. Rough Draft due Monday.

i. Bring Four Copies

ii. Peer Edit Mon/Tues

e. No class this Friday, next Wednesday

f. Final Draft due 11/17, Next Friday (This is a change)

3. Handout “Getting the Most From Your Interview”

a. Prep

b. Rapport

c. Questions

d. Listening

e. Follow-up

4. Subject one—me.

a. Prep—list of questions for me about love

b. Rapport—Help me relax and feel safe

c. Questions—Start with broad ones, use verbal cues, save toughest for end, close with open ended.

d. Listening—Don’t fill pauses, don’t over talk,

e. Follow-up—Re-interview

7. H/W—RW 442-448 Do Practice 7, 8, 10, 11

Friday, November 03, 2006

Bonus Point Opportunities

8: Faculty Lecture-Cracks, Transformation, Sense of Place: A reading from The Smell of Sulphur, a novel in progress. Kendall Hall, 7:30pm. The Smell of Sulphur by English instructor, Jill Widner, fictionalizes her experiences coming of age in Sumatra, Indonesia, in the 1960’s as the daughter of a petroleum engineer. Admission is free. For more information, call 574-6870.

8: Allied Arts Open Mic

16: Diversity Series - Native Vision Part of the Diversity Series, this Living Voices presentation will take place at 7:00 pm in the Parker Room at YVCC. Tickets are $5.00 for adults, no charge for children, seniors or students. Call 574-6800 x3151 for more information.

16 - 19: Fall Drama Production - Take Me Out Set against the backdrop of professional baseball, this play contains strong language and subject matter; not appropriate for young children. Kendall Hall, 7:30 pm on Nov. 16, 17, 18. There is also a matinee on Nov. 19 at 2:00. For more information, call 574-4837 or 574-4750 (theater box office).

Lesson Plan Day 31 Friday Lab

  1. Quiz: Death
  2. Quiz R/O’s, Number, 233
  3. Quiz Frags, Number 298
  4. Interview Tips here
  5. Eulogy Tips here.
  6. Sample Eulogies here and here.
  7. Your list:
    1. People who have passed
    2. People still alive
    3. Things
    4. Ideas/concepts (innocence, friendships, love, old you)

  1. The world is a strange place.
  2. Homework
  3. a. RW: 543-548 Caps practice 2, 3, 4 and chapter review

    b. 521-528 Apostrophes, do practice 1, 2, and chapter review

Josh Marshall write a great eulogy/remeberance of his father.

Well worth reading.
Getting the Most from Your Interviews


  • Select the right person to interview. Early in your research on a story, you might need to talk to someone who can give you general background. Later, you might seek someone with a particular experience or viewpoint to fill your last hole or two. Use all the resources you can to find and connect with the right characters: Directories, colleagues, your own library, other sources, the Internet, Profnet. In particularly sensitive stories, a mutually trusted third party might help you connect with someone.

  • Plan your questions. An actual scripted list of questions is stilted. But you might benefit from rehearsing some questions in your head or even aloud in the car on your way to the interview. Consider in advance what follow-up questions you might ask, depending on how the character answers a question. It's a good idea to have a checklist of topics you want to ask about. Don't be a slave to the list during the interview, but glance at it toward the end, to see if you've overlooked something important. Use the elements of story as a checklist in planning your questions: What questions will help me understand the conflict? The character's motivation?


Help the subject relax by addressing various elements of comfort:

  1. Setting. If possible, do the interview in the subject's environment: home, workplace, school, church, place of leisure or recreation. Allow plenty of time and choose a time, if you can, that's convenient for the subject. A lunch or dinner interview works sometimes, but also has disadvantages: interruptions for food and service, subject talks so much she has little time to eat, it's more difficult to take notes. When you can, a moving interview is effective: Start out in the workplace, go out to eat, ride home in the character's vehicle, ask her to show you the house and the yard.

  2. Honesty. Tell the subject up front, when you arrange the interview and again when the interview starts, what you are working on. This doesn't mean you ask the tough questions first. But you tell the subject honestly what the story is about and what you will be asking about, so the tough questions don't feel like an ambush.

  3. Complaints. The person may have some gripes about how you personally, your paper or the media in general have covered something in the past. Listen to the complaints. Don't feel an obligation to respond specifically. If you do, don't respond defensively or argumentatively. Don't apologize if you're not sorry or if you were not responsible. The best way to handle most complaints is simply to listen and acknowledge, with brief explanations offered sparingly where appropriate.

  4. Personal connection. Seek ways to establish a personal connection with the character. Do you have a child the same age as one in the picture on the desk? Ask about his children and commiserate briefly about car seats or car pools or car insurance, whatever stage the children are. Is the diploma on the wall from your school? Chat briefly about professors you might have shared or how bad the football team is now or whatever interests you might share. Don't fake a connection or stretch for one, but be alert for genuine ways to make a connection. If you have little in common with the person, connect by showing genuine interest in the character beyond the narrow focus of your story.

  5. Control. Unless your character is used to being interviewed, she probably feels uncomfortable facing you and your notebook. Early in the interview and again toward the end, give her some control. Sure, you're asking the questions, but answer her questions if she asks any. Listen politely as she wanders off the subject occasionally. People don't talk like we write. They might bury the lede (well, maybe they do talk like we write). Give her time to get around to it. Before you wrap up the interview, ask if there's anything else she'd like to add. In between, you will control the interview with some direct, tough questions. But if you share the control, your subject might feel comfortable enough to give you better answers.


  1. Start with broad open-ended questions or simply invitations to talk. "Tell me about that." "What was that like?" "Fill me in on . . ." These questions invite the character to tell you his story. They also give him a chance to tell you something you might not know enough to ask about specifically. And the general nature of the question gives the character a feeling of control as he answers.

  2. Move the interview along with responsive questions and statements that basically tell the character to keep talking: "Uh-huh." "Really?" "What happened next?" "How did you react?"
    Ask specific, direct questions to elicit the information you need that the open-ended questions don't produce. "How much did that cost?" "Why did you do that?"

  3. Ask brief questions.
  4. Save your toughest questions until near the end. This gives you a chance to develop some rapport before the tough questions. It lets you be sure of gathering the easy information if the tough questions prompt the character to cut off the interview.

  5. Remember the elements of story. Observe, take notes and ask questions about the setting. A photograph or award or piece of art may lead the subject to an interesting anecdote or revelation. Ask the character to demonstrate how she did something or show you where something happened or recall specific dialogue for you.

  6. Ask for documentation. Be careful not to ask in a challenging way (unless you are indeed challenging). Just ask in a curious way. Letters or a journal may reveal some deeper emotion than your interview brought out at a more detached date. Legal or financial documents may provide exact dates or amounts where the character was estimating in the interview. A police report may provide detail that a crime victim may not want to talk about. A resume may provide details that a modest character might not disclose without prompting.

  7. Close with another open-ended question or a few: "Is there anything else you'd like to add?" "Whom would you suggest that I talk to?" "Are there any other stories you think my paper should look into?"


  • Listening is an essential element of building rapport, and more important to the success of your interview than the questions. You're not getting any information when you're talking. You should talk only to build rapport and to steer the interview where you need it to go. Impress the character with your listening, rather than with your talking.

  • Don't feel the need to fill the long, awkward pause. It's a natural urge, and the subject is feeling the same thing. The pause may draw out the answer your question didn't. You want thoughtful answers, so give the character time to think. This is not a stubborn staredown. You casually take a few moments to catch up on your notes, to take a few notes about the setting or your subject's appearance and mannerisms. Just shut up and listen.

  • Listen for the surprise in the interview: the offhand remark that contradicts what you (or your editors) thought you knew; the iceberg tip that's an invitation for you to extract a Poe-like confession; the hint at a much better story; the secondary interest that might lead you to a completely unrelated story.


  • Re-interview when possible, with a follow-up phone call, a second face-to-face interview or just an e-mail. You'll think of a few more questions, but your character may also have thought of a few more answers. Sometimes you get the better interview the second time around because your questions the first time provoked a few days of thinking, bringing back some old memories and sending someone to the telephone or the scrapbook for answers you didn't get the first time. Or maybe you ask better questions the second time, because you've been thinking or learning since the first interview.

  • Write as soon as possible after the interview. It's best to write the story itself right away, even though you may be far from finished with the reporting. If you know the interview will provide only a few paragraphs for the final story, write those paragraphs. At least go through your notes and write, in paragraph form, what you might use in the story, including your notes on mannerisms, setting, emotions.

  • Seek documentation from police, courts, Internet, etc. to support, contradict or expand on what the character told you.
Our Tower
--for Mary Johnson 1.26.07-2.5.05

I’d like to start by reading from a series of sonnets written by the Irish poet, Seamus Heaney. It is in memoriam to his mother. I saw Heaney read in Montana when I was student and he explained his reaction to losing his mother this way:

The metaphor behind the title, Clearances, was when a tree comes down, when a big tree is felled out of a cluster of trees, there’s that kind of wobble in the light for a moment and it seems that the volume of the light in the world has been kind of spasmodically increased, just for a moment. And at the same time, the volume of the world has been decreased by the fall of the tree.

The first sonnet is set at his mother’s bedside as she was passed away. The second is a more direct use of the tree metaphor, focusing on the sound, in particular. Heaney writes—

From Clearances #7

And we all knew one thing by being there.
The space we stood around had been emptied
Into us to keep, it penetrated
Clearances that suddenly stood open.
High cries were felled and a pure change happened.

From Clearances #8

I thought of walking round and round a space
Utterly empty, utterly a source
Where the decked chestnut tree had lost its place
In our front hedge above the wallflowers.
Its heft and hush became a bright nowhere,
A soul ramifying and forever
Silent, beyond silence listened for.

In the days after Gran’s passing, I had several important conversations with my mom about Gran. In one, Mom said, Gran was a tower. And it’s true. Despite her physical stature, she has had a monumental influence on this family. So the space that we stand around today is vast. That’s what makes it so difficult. But, as Heaney suggest, that space has been emptied into us. It is a clearance, a pure change has happened.

I’d like to spend a few minutes discussing what I hope has penetrated each of us, what has been emptied into us to carry beyond today.

I’ll start with the little things and move to the larger. Things I’ll remember about Gran, especially as I she helped bring up her grandchildren, my brother, sisters and cousins.
When she tucked me into bed at night, instead of kissing me gently, she’d get right up to my ear and start growling. Like she was nibbling on my earlobe. It drove me crazy, but now, I do that all the time with Ella.

Gran often looked after us kids when mom and dad went on vacation.
One time in particular, I remember vividly, we played catch in the backyard. I remember it so vividly because even as a little kid, I knew it was pretty cool to play catch with my grandma. I also remember her arm. In fact, on the last throw of the day, Gran pegged me in the mouth with a heater and knocked out one of my baby teeth. Which of course was just great with me, it was one of the few ways I had to earn money, after all. But I also remember her tenderness that day, taking care of me and nursing my wound.

I remember her way to get me to stop crying, anytime, was to say, “I see a smile coming around the corner” or to ask the famous questions “Are you going to go out into the garden and eat some dirty worms?” Which always sort of confused me, but which always made me smile.

I remember her garden.

I remember how she told me about how she felt as the youngest.

How she knew what I was going through.

I remember her relationship with Heather, and their Christmas Eve dates.

About ten years ago, again when I was a student in Montana, near the time I heard Heaney speak, I took a class on Native American literature. We were assigned to tell a story about our families that we knew little about. I decided to ask Gran about my grandpa. So over a long weekend, I went to her house and looked at her photo albums with her and recorded the interview. I’m working on getting the tapes transferred, but I do have copies of the transcript, if any one is interested. I count those hours with Gran as among my favorite. The next year for her birthday, we all got together at Anthony’s in Seattle. Remember there was an earthquake? I wrote this piece for that occasion, and I hope it captures some of the little things I remember about growing up with Gran and also the special memories I have of interviewing her:

The Stairs to Gran's Root Cellar
For Mary Johnson on the occasion of her 88th birthday

Meatballs. French cut beans. Nilla Wafers. Small cartons of milk.
A dishwasher that hooks up to the faucet in the sink.
Down the narrow stairs to the root cellar.
In the next room, a pirate’s treasure chest—
my grandfather's tools
maybe even my great-grandfather's.
T-squares, hammers, planes.
And a small leather coin purse with two compartments.
One that holds lead weights, the other, hooks.
Genuine. Angular. Treasure.

I can see a rope swing on the maple in her backyard.
From the attic I watch my sister climb up and rest on the bottom knot.
Later, I make Sally and Mom and Gran watch me as I climb.

Gran does. And she watches me play baseball, and football and basketball and act.
And she watches me mow an uneven, hurried course across her backyard. It looks like
a blind-man's cross stitch she tells me.
The next week, I have learned something about work.

She lets me in after school. Takes the lid from her candy jar.
Stays with us when Mom and Dad are gone.
Plays catch with her grandson in his backyard.
Teaches me about commitment and love.

She shows me old, black-paged books, fading images.
Weakening glue. She takes her time and explains clearly
so that I can remember and tell my family:

This is your grandfather.
This is me.
Here we are together.
Look at that porkpie hat.
Oh dear, look at our car!

I see them all.
In each picture, her pose is genuine.
An angular treasure.

--January 28, 1995

So that’s something about the little things I remember about Gran, which leads me to the big things I learned from her. While I learned many, many things from Gran growing up so near her in Selah, I feel that the main lessons I received from her came when I was an adult, having returned from college to live again in Selah. I was given a chance to know her as a person. Here’s what I found—

Gran was honest and direct. She did not fall into the trap of nostalgia. She didn’t treat me like a child and she did not want to be treated like a child either. She didn’t sugar coat her words or live in the past. She saw the world as it was. Because of this, one of her most direct lessons to me was, Nothing much changes, Dan. That could be called fatalism, I guess, but Gran meant it as a reassurance, and it has been.

Gran wanted to be told the truth. She wanted to hear about her family. She did not want to be protected, she did not want to have anything filtered. She insisted on this point. And when hard times came to people she loved, as happens in any family, she had an incredible way of understanding without judging.

She was interested in the world of today. She was avid reader with an open mind. She read several newspapers, newsmagazines and wore out the shelves of the Selah Library where she also volunteered. She watched the news. Voted for Nader. Twice. And could talk as easily about Bess Truman as about the Seattle Mariner’s outfield.

But the two most important things I learned as an adult were the value of independence and the ability to persevere. While I can’t speak with much authority on Gran’s childhood, I’d guess that these two traits were always there, learned from her father, maybe. And I can only speculate that her sense of autonomy and will to fight-on was forged and solidified when she found herself in midlife, a single woman again with both her children grown and no obvious next move. That moment was perhaps what defined Gran. Filled with her own grief and uncertainty, she picked herself and her children up and carried on.

At a time when women were not exactly liberated, Gran started a new life. She sold the store, moved to a new town and went back to college to re-earn her teaching credentials. Whatever she learned during that difficult time stayed with her. The firm sense of willful independence never left.

As she came closer to the end of her time here, she sometimes said that no one should have to live this long. But her actions suggested a fierce determination. Her actions told all of us that she loved her life and wanted to see it continue.

Three years after her 88th birthday, I was home from college and living with Amy (a scandal Gran never said a word about). Amy and I often picked Gran up on Sunday nights and drove with her to Mom and Dad’s for dinner. It was a treasured task for both of us. We got to hear all the good Methodist gossip and even some things you mustn’t tell your mother. On the return home from one of those dinners, Gran said something that surprised us.

Gran Plans for her 91st Birthday

My plan for the week is to empty out my closets,
Gran tells us on our way down the hill to her place.
It sounds practical at first.
She has things she could give away. So do we.
Clothes she hasn’t worn for years.
Shoes or a lamp. Records.
Then she tells us,
I was there when we emptied out my sister’s place.
I know what a chore that was and I don’t want anyone to have to do it for me.
I try to laugh it off like she didn’t mean it.
I want to ask her questions about growing old.
I want to tell her,
Stay where you are, Gran. Stay in your home.

My grandma turns 91 next Monday.
She cooked dinner for us at Christmas. Her arms are wire twists.
She is as beautiful as she is strong.
Maybe it’s because her son called to tell her
he was selling their home on the island.
I guess his move started this talk.
Gran hardly ever says this stuff. But tonight,
she tells Amy and me that only two burners on her stove work and the broiler is out.
She won’t get a new one, she says.
There’s lots of things to be done,
Gran tells us as we turn on to her street,
but not now. It won’t be me who does them.
I’m 29. Gran has me scared.
I get out of the car to walk Gran to her door,
but she is already several steps ahead of me.
She climbs the wooden stairs
puts her key in the lock, turns it until it gives,
thanks me, flips on the light, waves at Amy
and watches to see that we don’t hit anything as we back up.
My headlights sweep cross her as I make the corner.
I want to tell her she’s a reason I came back to Selah.
So I could learn.
And I am.
Not by what she’s said tonight,
but by what she does every day.
She figured out a long time ago how to be comfortable
alone with herself. She’s showing me how.
Gran smiles and waves again.
She’s glad we’re ok, but even more so,
she’s glad we missed her sprinkler heads hidden in the snow.

I stop the car, shift into drive.
Gran’s green house brightens in the snow
as she crosses from her egg-shell kitchen
to the living room,
turning on all her lights.

January 20, 1998

I hope this poem captures some of her sometimes contradictory spirit—that is, what Gran said versus her desire to be independent and her strong desire to be stay with us.
See, she said she was ready to clean it all out, but deep inside, she was hoping I didn’t screw up her sprinklers. She was fragile, but she was thinking of spring.

Indeed, she didn’t relinquish her closets or her house, for two more years, remaining there until the incredible age of 94. In the four years since that move, she has again and again demonstrated a resolve, a will, a stubborn streak for loving life that amazed our family. She fought her way back from cancer, strokes, broken bones, and difficult living conditions. She fought to stay a part of the world. And that is a powerful lesson. Whenever she’d have to be taken to the hospital, which occurred with some frequency in the last two or so years, (as mom said last week, Her body was giving her fits) the standard line became, Never count Gran out. I said it several times last week.

Which is one reason I think this day is so difficult. Even though she was sick in the hospital and having difficulty breathing, I didn’t really believe it was time. She did. She knew. She smiled when she saw visitors, including Amy and me, and Gran opened her eyes really wide when Ella came in the room. But with mom, in quiet moments, she said she was ready to go home. She said she wanted to get up and walk out of there. In her final days with us, Gran sang.

She was a tower until the end. The space we stand around today, Gran’s space, now a bright nowhere, as Heaney says of his mother, is utterly empty, utterly a source.
November 1, 2004

She Loved Life. (And Bourbon. And Bawdy Jokes.); New Eulogies, at Odds With Church Tradition


When did the eulogy shift from respectful remembrance of the dearly departed to a Friars-style roast?

Was it when Earl Spencer railed against the royal family and the tabloid press during the funeral for his sister Diana, the Princess of Wales, in 1997? Was it when Madonna, in the same year, eulogized a longtime friend by beginning, ''I slept in Gianni Versace's bed''?

No, says Cyrus M. Copeland, editor of ''Farewell, Godspeed: The Greatest Eulogies of Our Time'' (Harmony Books, 2003). Blame Cher, at least in part.

Sonny Bono, the pop singer who became a Republican congressman, died in a skiing accident in 1998. At the televised funeral, Cher, his former wife and singing partner, stood up in St. Theresa Catholic Church in Palm Springs, Calif., to share her memories.

She recalled that one of the first things Sonny ever told her ''was that he was a descendant of Napoleon.''

''Now you have to realize,'' Cher continued, ''he was talking to a girl who thought that Mount Rushmore was a natural phenomenon.''

Mr. Copeland said that it was a ''very personal, unelegiac but still poignant remembrance.'' And it gave other eulogizers ideas.

Tomorrow is All Souls' Day, a day once set aside for remembering the souls in purgatory, tainted by venial sin and not yet ready for heaven. The prayers of the faithful, it was thought, could help them.

But the belief in purgatory is in decline, said James Hitchcock, an expert on church history at St. Louis University who has written on how eulogies have become more secular. Most souls seem to go to heaven, today's more casual Christian believes, so it seems fine to eulogize the deceased's fondness for bourbon or worse, Dr. Hitchcock said.

''In fact,'' said Dr. Hitchcock, ''at a majority of the Catholic funerals I've attended in the last 10 years, some mention has been made of drinking habits. It seems to be done to signal that the deceased, now in heaven, was human, like the rest of us.''

The Roman Catholic Church, tired of hearing stories like the one in New Jersey in which an uncle was remembered for taking his nephew to a brothel, has taken the sternest action against freewheeling eulogies. In January 2003, Archbishop John J. Myers of Newark ordered priests in his archdiocese to stop the laity from giving eulogies at funeral Masses.

Being denied the opportunity to give a eulogy recently did not discourage one grieving family in New Jersey. Their church would not allow anyone other than a clergyman to eulogize their loved one.

After the funeral Mass, the pallbearers carried the casket out to the sidewalk and stopped. Rented loudspeakers came out and several family members shared their memories of the deceased as the priest inside fumed.

''I couldn't believe it, it was pushing the envelope,'' said the funeral director who witnessed the insurgent eulogies. The funeral director did not want his name used or the rebel parishioners identified, for fear of hurting future business.

''I'm from a different generation,'' said the funeral director, a Catholic. ''Something has changed.''
But it is not just Catholics. Funeral directors report that Protestants, Jews, and Muslims and Hindus who have adopted American funeral customs have had problems with nontraditional eulogies.

In August, Jaye Zimet, a lesbian author from Brooklyn, died without warning at 43. She had always led an unconventional life. (For years, she colored her hair purple.) About 300 friends and relatives, including children, gathered in a Brooklyn funeral home for a traditional Jewish service. There, Ms. Zimet's friend Tory Klose stood to say a few words.

''Jaye grew comfortable with her sexuality,'' Ms. Klose said, ''and showed many of us that life in the fresh air was vastly preferable to that in the closet.''

Ms. Klose, executive director of copy editing at Viking Books, then described a shopping trip led by Ms. Zimet to a store called ''Toys in Babeland.''

Stephanie A. Schwartz, a journal editor and Ms. Zimet's partner, was stunned but also amused at the mention of sex paraphernalia. ''We were all laughing,'' she recalled. ''Laughing a lot. And I remember thinking: Should we be laughing?''

Mark Goldberg, the Orthodox rabbi who presided over the service, found Ms. Klose's eulogy unusual, to say the least.

''Everyone has a very special soul,'' said Rabbi Goldberg, ''and that's what I shared with them. Did I smile when I said that this was a first for me? Yes.''

The rabbi added, ''I've never heard any words like that, whether eulogy or not.''

Eulogies surfaced as a public issue in the American Catholic Church after Archbishop Myers, responding to a growing number of complaints by his parish priests about inappropriate remembrances, banned lay eulogies. This angered many rank-and-file Catholics.

Archbishop Myers wrote in a February 2003 letter that ''the Christian funeral is not a celebration of the life of the person who has died.'' The liturgical books, he said, are clear: ''There should never be a eulogy of any kind'' in church.

The archbishop continued, ''We can all recall reflections that have been inspiring, and others that have been disjointed or embarrassing.'' And eulogies by friends and family, he said, could still be delivered outside the church, at the funeral home or at the graveside.

The Newark ban was suspended until July 2003 so priests could explain it to their parishioners. It is now back in force. (The Archdiocese of New York permits one brief eulogy at a funeral after Holy Communion.)

Jim Goodness, a spokesman for the Newark archdiocese, traces part of the trend toward expansive eulogies to a 1990 change in church rules that allowed ''a few words of remembrance'' during Mass.

''But a couple of moments became long treatises,'' said Mr. Goodness, ''and all of a sudden people were talking about how what they really wanted to say could be best expressed in the words of Dr. Dre,'' the hip-hop performer.

But if televised eulogies, like Cher's, had their effect, perhaps the greatest influence was Sept. 11, 2001, especially in the New York metropolitan region, said Tom Kearns, president of the New York State Funeral Directors Association.

''Many people were disenfranchised with respect to even having a funeral,'' said Mr. Kearns, 65, whose family owns four funeral homes in Queens and Nassau County. ''Twenty-six hundred people were never found, and their families were looking for something to celebrate their life.
''You had a lot of memorial services in churches and the clergy found it difficult to say, 'No, you can't do a eulogy,''' Mr. Kearns added. ''Once that happened, it empowered other people.''
Still, the controversy over eulogies must be kept in perspective, he said. ''One pastor told me he doesn't mind the eulogies in church,'' he said, ''even though some are not quite appropriate.

'''You need to minister to people where they are,' the pastor said, 'and not in some perfect setting.'''
Eulogy Tips: (From

Writing a eulogy is a difficult task. It is hard to condense a lifetime of experiences into a short speech to be delivered at a memorial service. Eulogies don’t have to be depressing and formal. A eulogy can include favorite poems, meaningful reminiscences, war stories, or even jokes. Here are some quick tips on how to put together a thoughtful eulogy.

1. What do you want to say?
The first you'll need to do is decide what you want to say. Collect all the basic facts about the deceased: their age, names of children or survivors, marriages, places they've called home or loved to visit, and their career or educational information. Now think about the person you’re remembering. What kinds of stories about them or quotes capture your loved one's personality? Did they have a favorite poem or author? What was important to them? Did they have a favorite charity or cause? Talk with their survivors for inspiration and ideas

2. Decide on a tone or theme
Whether you decided to give a solemn speech, a light account of their life with comical musing, or somewhere in between, a theme gives purpose to the eulogy. It helps the attendees see what the deceased’s life stood for. If you’re writing a eulogy for your Grandfather, for example, your theme could be how he was always a great story teller and confidant to his grandchildren. With your theme in place, you can collect stories that he told to other survivors and yourself. If your theme was his important work and career, you might speak with coworkers to get stories and remembrances of his working life and contributions made to his field or place of business. Knowing how you'd like to deliver the eulogy gives you a base to work from when decided which stories to use.

3. Organize your notes into segments
If you are doing your work on a computer, type all of your notes in a document with a return between the different topics. This will make it easier to move your ideas around on the document and you can fine tune the order until you have it perfect. If you'd rather write it by hand try the old essay trick from school and write your notes onto index cards or sheets of paper. This way you can shuffle around and work with the statements until you get them how you want them. Once you have organized your notes into an order than flows well, jot the information into a rough outline.

4. Write your first draft
Using the outline you’ve developed, write out a draft of your speech. Fill in any gaps in information and make sure each idea flows into the next. Try not to let the speech get too stiff, you don’t want a long fact sheet on your loved one’s life. Try to incorporate real life experiences or anecdotes between the facts. Use bits of humor if you think it is appropriate.

5. Make your final draft
Go over your first draft and finalize what you are going to say. This is a great time to get input from other survivors or friends that will give you advise. Read the speech out loud at least once at this stage to be sure it sounds right to you. Once it is finalized, rewrite it neatly or type the speech so it will be easier to read at the funeral. Even if you plan to memorize the speech, have a copy at the funeral. The funeral can be very emotional and it will be easy to forget parts that aren't written down.

6. Practice delivering the eulogy
Read your speech to yourself and outloud to a third party. This will help you point out any areas that don’t sound right or are not appropriate. Practice your speech in front of another person to get their input or deliver it in front of a mirror to get used to saying the words. Even delivering the speech on a trusted family pet, while imagining an audience, can help you work the kinks out. The more familiar your are with the words, the easier it will be to deliver the eulogy.

7. Relax
While giving the speech, remember to relax and breathe normally. Remember, no one will be judging you; they are all there to honor your loved one. Pay attention to the speed that you are speaking. We tend to speed up when we’re nervous so take it at a normal speaking pace. It’s good to add pauses to collect your thoughts or provide time for the audience to digest your information. You can even jot down places to break on your notes in case you forget to pause. Always take a second copy of your speech and provide it to a backup speaker in case you can’t continue. It is common to get emotional during delivery. You may have to quit speaking to comfort someone or just may not be able to continue yourself. People will understand, this happens all the time at funerals. Having a backup will ensure that your speech will be delivered if you cannot finish. If you start to feel nervous, imagine that you just speaking to your loved one. This can help take the pressure off.

Thursday, November 02, 2006

English 70 Lesson Plan Day 30

  1. Quiz tomorrow on Run-ons, Fragments and Death
  2. Sentence Fluency Handout
    1. Prose/Rubric
  3. Conventions H/O
    1. Prose/Rubric
  4. Why care about Conventions?
    1. Attention to them shows you’ve put some care into your thoughts.
    2. Screw ups can cause confusion.

i. “I love the smell of my boyfriend’s cologne.”

  1. But first
    1. The Basic Sentence

i. Subject

1. Person, place thing that the sentence is about.

ii. Verb

1. Action/Linking/Helping

iii. Complete Thought

1. 294 practice 3

  1. Run ons
    1. Where are the pauses? Long/Short?
    2. Read it aloud.
    3. Listen to your breath
    4. Types

i. Fused

ii. Comma splice

1. Review practice 1, 2, 7, Chapter Review 1-4

2. Your essays

  1. H/W?
    1. Fragments

i. Lacking a subject, verb or complete thought

1. Read 296-298

2. Do practice 1, 7, 9

3. Chapter Review 1-4

Read ITMFWG 297-316 (second half of “Death” chapter)

English 70 Lesson Plan Day 29

  1. Favorite Love Stories, pick two and journal why
  2. Sentence Fluency and Conventions h/o’s
  3. Read Love Stories aloud and look for sentence fluency.
    1. Sentence length, sentence openings.

  1. H/W
    1. Run ons
    2. When you join two complete sentences (independent clauses) incorrectly.

i. Read 314-317

ii. Do practice 1, 2, 7

iii. Do Chapter Review 1-4

Read ITMFWG 279-296 (first half of “Death” chapter)

Finally, Day of the Dead

Canyonlands and All Souls Day

Jim Bodeen