Higher Education Webinars

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.

June 2, 2011 - 11:45pm
Y says he knew a veteran of a French Foreign Legion parachute regiment. The man had a giant tattoo on his torso of Jesus Christ, bloodied and on the cross, suspended under a parachute, with a big banner below it that read: Airborne Motherfucker. I asked if there was a comma between the words, but Y didn’t know.
June 1, 2011 - 11:45pm
That odd feeling when time comes unstuck in us. To read Scott Fitzgerald’s Tender is the Night (1934) and find the name “Miss Television,” or see in his Gatsby (1925) a swastika. Realizing with a start I was born only 18 years after the liberation of the camps, or that I joined the army myself only seven years after Vietnam. My students’ gasps when I tell them my grandfather was born in 1883. How is it possible? A comic hurt at the betrayal by time, become suddenly nonlinear, surprising.
June 1, 2011 - 4:30am
N says that G, a dental tech, cast her gold fillings, which she still has 31 years later, good as new. G was a craftsman. When he worked on her bridge appliance he inlaid his name in it, as required by law. But that was long ago, and the dental tech who works for her current dentist engraved his name in her partial and left it a mess. His name the roughness her tongue rubs against and is made constantly sore by.
May 31, 2011 - 3:45am
I made that up, I guess, but why not? I love reading journals, diaries, and notebooks, especially of writers I admire. Virginia Woolf, from A Writer's Diary: Being Extracts From The Diary of Virginia Woolf, edited by Leonard Woolf:
May 27, 2011 - 11:30am
Ever notice how hard it is sometimes to tell the difference between mastery and a con?
May 20, 2011 - 11:15am
Be sure to file your students' final grades today by noon, Central Standard Time, as the online system will lock you out after that point, and the Rapture will occur sometime Saturday.
May 14, 2011 - 4:45pm
Tim Peters, who graduated from here a couple of years ago, was a philosophy major, as I recall. When he took one of my classes I saw instantly he could also write like hell.
May 10, 2011 - 1:45pm
“I’m not a communist,” I said cryptically to a class the other day after I’d come in and sat down. I stopped talking as if I intended to leave it there and began to take roll silently. “But…?” a sharp young guy said. His peers seemed ready to let such an odd declaration go by without comment.
April 23, 2011 - 6:45am
On Pain of Speech: Fantasies of the First Order and the Literary Rant, by Dina Al-Kassim. University of California Press (2010). $34.95 paperback, $15.40 Kindle. *** Review by Okla Elliott
April 18, 2011 - 4:30am
In “The Fact Behind the Facts, or, How You Can Get It All Right and Still Get It All Wrong,” Philip Gerard, Chair of the Department of Creative Writing at UNC-Wilmington, tells the story of his first front-page byline. As a cub reporter he investigated an incident where a boy had pulled his girlfriend from a car fire and saved her life. Years later Gerard was still pleased when a guy in a bar asked if he’d written that car-fire piece.

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