Burroughs Adding Machine

Social justice, arts and politics, life in New York City

Chalkdust dreams

Posing with literary rock star Denis Johnson at AWP two years ago

With literary rock star Denis Johnson at AWP two years ago

I woke from a long, vivid dream this morning wiping my thumb and finger together. The narrative of this dream involved a morning literature class at B.C. I was so focused on facilitating a good discussion that I forgot that a group of my colleagues–a hiring committee, actually–was observing.

My notes, scribbled in notoriously illegible blue ink, were useless. I sweat under my necktie (why was I wearing a tie?) and in the creases behind my knees. It was the teacher’s equivalent of the actor’s nightmare: appearing on stage buck naked. My undergrads were supportive of my efforts but the cabal of professors was combative. What literary value was there in Jesus’ Son, Denis Johnson’s story collection of a heroin addict? Why discuss the gay themes and criticism of Reagan-era policies towards HIV/AIDS in Angels in America? Who are these Pinoy poets, and why teach them beside canonical authors like Whitman and Emily Dickinson?

I’m what you might call an active dreamer: I swat my arm if I’m dreaming of a tennis match, and I talk out loud when I’m agitated or fearful.

After I woke this morning and headed toward the sweet, sweet coffee already brewing, I realized that I was still wiping the traces of imaginary chalk dust away.


Filed under: education, literature, pop culture, , , , , , , ,

One Response

  1. Tena says:

    At least you were with your class. My worst teacher nightmare involves oversleeping on an observation day.

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About Me

Ricco Villanueva Siasoco is a Manhattan-based writer and non-profit manager. More

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