Wednesday, September 14, 2016

Meek Michelle Hands Me This Today... (WITH A GLORIOUS UPDATE FROM CHILTEPIN!)

...and says, "My mother wants to know if this list is in your curriculum."

According to Kathy Livingston's Guide to Writing a Basic Essay, there are seven steps to writing a successful essay:
  • Pick a topic. ...
  • Prepare an outline or diagram of your ideas. ...
  • Write your thesis statement. ...
  • Write the body. ...
  • Write the introduction. ...
  • Write the conclusion. ...
  • Add the finishing touches
- from unknown sender


In response to Meek Michelle's Mom's steps to writing an essay listed above, I thought I'd write my own list.

1. Pick a topic.
2. Write a page.
3. Realize the topic won't work. Pick a new topic.
4. Write a paragraph.
5. Go back and do the reading you skipped.
6. Throw out the paragraph.
7. Write a new paragraph.
8. Do more reading.
9. Modify that paragraph, write another one.
10. Panic and weep and drink.
11. Write a page.
12. Throw away earlier paragraph.
13. Write another page, and another.
14. Finish the essay.
15. Go back over it, throwing out half of it.
16, Rewrite the half you kept.
17. Throw away the other half of it.
18. Add a page on that thing you forgot but just read about.
19. Realize that would make a much more interesting topic.
20. Pick a new topic.
21. Start over.
22. Get a graduate degree and make this your whole fucking life.

--Prof Chiltepin


  1. You sure are lucky Meek Michelle's Mom cleared that up for you!

  2. "Oh, wow, Michelle. I'm so glad your mom told me that. I've published numerous comprehensive studies, many articles, and countless op-eds, but I'm sure that your mother knows more about writing in her capacity as just some fucking guy."

  3. C'mon, kids.... Michelle's Mom probably gave this to her kid as advice and the kid, being a dufus undergrad, thought it was meant to be "passed along" because, well, you know, they all think we're glorified High School teachers.

    Hell, I *WISH* some of my former students had parents who reinforced this simple crap for me!

    - anon y mouse

  4. I personally have not experienced this, but I've heard enough secondhand about helicopter parents of college students to fervently believe that this mom was demanding an accounting via her froshie.

  5. My first thought was that Michelle was home-schooled (not that there's anything wrong with that, but the combination of meek student and assertive parent with ideas about curriculum rings a bell).

    Chiltepin's rewrite is, of course, both more realistic (all too realistic) and more true to composition theory/scholarship, which tells us that writing enables as well as records thinking, and is a recursive rather than a straight-line process (the degree of recursiveness in Chiltepin's account reminds me of a Bill Keane comic, which makes it no less realistic).