Thursday, October 27, 2005

Indictment Day

And so in celebration of what shall henceforth be known as Indictment Day, I sent my students home early. The grad students, no longer accustomed to snow days, left reluctantly, grumbling some inanity concerning the cost of tuition. I sympathize, but then the privatization of our public universities is not my responsibility. Our particular state institution is 80 percent privately funded, and the students pay a ridiculous amount to attend this middle-class Harvard.

Enough digression.

To celebrate the good work of mister Fitzgerald, I sent the kiddies home with a modest assignment reading seventy pages from my second book. I initially hadn't planned on using my own work in the curriculum, but the department director insisted.

Director: The students may not be acquainted with your work, and reading it might energize your class.

Trout: But it will make me feel like an asshole. "Okay kiddies, today we will be! Whee!"

Director: I think you're being a little modest (grimace, aboutface, walkaway).

Trout: (muttering) Dearest director, just because you've assigned your petite assessment of Hawthorn's lesser (sic) works to your students, don't expect the Trout to follow suit.

But then I've had my fifteen seconds. In any case, after the dismissal, one pert little writerette lingered near my lectern. Buttonnosed. Tightcurled. Frecklefaced. You might call her cute if her creator had just eased up on the spaniel puppy features. But still, for a moment, I thought that I'd finally found my new teaching assistant.

Then she spoke:

Puppygirl: Uhm...Mr. Trout

Trout: Yes, m'dear?

Cutiepup: May I ask...

Trout: But of course, Love.

Puppypup: Indictment day...

Trout: No worries, Love, we'll have a makeup (makeout?) session at some point. I just feel a lump (hollow echo) on the Warmonkey's skull is an event worth celebrating...

Cutiecutiecutie: You're a liberal?

Troutietrout: Why, yes!

Puppygirl: But my stories...

Trout: Yes?

Puppygirlie: Umm...I'm Lowell...Elizabeth Lowell...

Trout: Ah yes... (suddenly remembering)

Allow me to intrude here. A few background notes are needed to fuel the drama. Miss Lowell is a very fine writer. She's close to the best in the class, though that's not saying much. Still, she has a handle on this whole prose thing. She's a little cute (imagine) with her phrasing, but somehow it works. For example...she'll engage in Fun With Capitals on occasion. Also Fun. With. Punctuation. And then there's the runtogetherwords that someyoungauthors are sofondofoverusing when they're tryingtobetricky. But for some reason, in the case of miss Lowellypuppy, it works. She hits her sentences in stride, and the tricks always pay a bigger role in her stories. She's "inventing her own language," as a critic might say. And her invented language reinforces her theme.

But that's the problem.

The theme in all of Miss Lowell's assignments to date has been that of strident antiabortion polemic. Strident. Antiabortion. Polemic. Stridentantiabortionpolemic. Thus her concern. She had finally realized, as a result of Indictment Day, that her fat, sensualist, bearded, drunken, lefty, socialist, communist, anticapitalist collegeprofessorvisitingwriter was...m'gosh...a liberal. Liberal! And so, she now worried that her fundamentalist mindlessness might endanger her grade.

To be continued...

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