The Education of Oronte Churm

The Education of Oronte Churm

Oronte Churm is the pen name of John Griswold, who teaches in the MFA program at McNeese State University, proudly nestled in Cajun country on the Louisiana Gulf.

March 16, 2007 - 8:25am
If you read my stuff, you know I’m a delicate flower—exquisitely sensitive—and a lover, not a fighter. But a self-reflective teacher has to be aware of his or her vibe in the classroom.
March 11, 2007 - 10:25pm
Is burnout a big force, like depression or exhaustion? Or is it an “incremental perturbation,” as John Barth calls drama, the accumulation of minor irritations and petty indignities until one day the thermostat clicks and the furnace of grievance fires up? Maybe burnout is something more mysterious and ineffable. Maybe jobs have hidden life-cycles based on natural laws, and human animals can sense their impending deaths, even when our conscious minds insist everything’s great: “Dave’s got a birthday, and we’re all going out to that Mexican place!” “Ooh! Margaritas!”
March 9, 2007 - 1:54am
My cohort in the Miami MFA was a bit older and more diverse than others. We had among us a Barbadian schoolteacher, a South African whose ancestor was head of the Voortrekkers and was killed by Zulus, two women from local Cuban families, and a California poet who rode his K-Mart bicycle in heavy Miami traffic—knees up around his ears, ponytail streaming in the wind—and stopped to nibble hallucinogenic flowers from people’s shrubs.
March 5, 2007 - 2:26pm
I’ve always been interested in how we know where to go before we know why.
March 4, 2007 - 8:55am
1.    Cluelessness2.    Terror3.    Hope4.    Competence5.    Hubris6.    Comeuppance7.    Sabbatical
February 28, 2007 - 8:17am
February 26, 2007 - 7:11pm
A student pouted at me in conference today and said she doesn’t care about writing or reading well. She wants a good grade, and to finish her biology degree, and to get a high-paying job in quality control at her favorite meatpacking plant.
February 22, 2007 - 10:26am
February 20, 2007 - 9:40am
Multiply 15 minutes of fame by 6 billion people, and you’re bound to run across someone famous sometime. Some encounters are more notable than others. There was that night in Santa Monica, when the girl I was with asked a familiar-looking man at a café table if we’d seen his work, and he said haughtily, “I’ve been in many, many things.” Later that night we remembered he did supermarket commercials in the style of the more famous Mr. Whipple. Later still, the girl borrowed the keys to my truck to get her jacket and stole all my things.
February 15, 2007 - 1:08pm
Your entries to the “One True Sentence” contest prove you’ve seen and heard some things. No wonder you have that mad gleam in your eyes. It was difficult for Mrs. Churm, but with two sons of her own, she chose, “I’ve seen both of my brother’s crying at the same woman’s kiss that left marks on them that looked like welts, but was only lipstick.” So Noah wins. Noah wins.

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