This video is Adam Freidlander’s response to a request for his favorite writing style at Cornell University.
A fellow community college writing teacher and writer Liz Gonzalez shared the video on Facebook. It started playing there as well as on youtube so I originally thought he had intentionally produced a mash-up to illustrate the cacophony of literacy in the digital age. I suggest you try it that way too by playing both at once!
Since my students are also working on their first writing assignment, one that invites them to write about their own literacy and education in the context of one of the readings by Mike Rose, Sherman Alexie, Malcolm X, or to write about culture, race or gender using readings and/or their own experiences like Judith Ortiz Cofer, N Scott Momaday, Maxing Hong Kingston, Alice Walker, and Gloria Anzaldua, I thought they might enjoy this student’s take on a similar assignment.
“Superman and Me” By Sherman Alexie
The following essay appeared as part of a series, “The Joy of Reading and Writing” published by the LA Times. This essay is also printed in The Most Wonderful Books: Writers on Discovering the Pleasures of Reading and various anthologies including 50 Essays edited by Samuel Cohen.
I learned to read with a Superman comic book. Simple enough, I suppose. I cannot recall which particular Superman comic book I read, nor can I remember which villain he fought in that issue. I cannot remember the plot, nor the means by which I obtained the comic book. What I can remember is this: I was 3 years old, a Spokane Indian boy living with his family on the Spokane Indian Reservation in eastern Washington state. We were poor by most standards, but one of my parents usually managed to find some minimum-wage job or another, which made us middle-class by reservation standards. I had a brother and three sisters. We lived on a combination of irregular paychecks, hope, fear and government surplus food. (1)
My father, who is one of the few Indians who went to Catholic school on purpose, was an avid reader of westerns, spy thrillers, murder mysteries, gangster epics, basketball player biographies and anything else he could find. He bought his books by the pound at Dutch’s Pawn Shop, Goodwill, Salvation Army and Value Village. When he had extra money, he bought new novels at supermarkets, convenience stores and hospital gift shops. Our house was filled with books. They were stacked in crazy piles in the bathroom, bedrooms and living room. In a fit of unemployment-inspired creative energy, my father Continue reading