STRANGE, OR MAYBE IT’S JUST FICTION! #2
Welcome back. Today, my friend, Garth Strange, stopped by my office on the campus of Dzemal Bijedic University here in Mostar, Bosnia and Herzegovina. His computer was not working so he borrowed mine to write his second blog. I’m surprised he is actually writing another one. I thought his lack of a “normal” attention span would mean one blog and he’d be on to something else. However, he seems to have written something, good luck!!
Ok, I’m putting my blog in bold print so you know the difference between my personal stuff and anything my friend (the poet) might write. He says above that I dropped by his office when, actually, he and his wife (the academic Fulbright scholar!!) share an office WITH ME! I’m just not glued to office hours like they are and I don’t require some “official” space to work. My name isn’t even on the door but, come to think of it, neither is theirs. So it’s really nobody’s office with four desks, four or five chairs, one desk top computer, one window looking out on a bombed out building from the Bosnian war of the early 1990’s and remember, if you come to the office, there is a one inch step up from the hall into the office that I forget every time as I trip my way into the space reserved for those “Americans.” And there is nothing hanging on the white walls which is fine with me.
I hear students out in the hallway, they are speaking Bosnian/Croatian/Serbian to each other, they are loud – or the sound just carries well between the narrow space outside our office. The sound which I think is beautiful is seen as an angry clash by my office mates. I explain that it is a little like Chinese or Vietnamese speaking to each other and sounding like a fight is about to break out!!
This morning my Phonology I class met. Their assignment was to research at least four sites, newspapers, online, etc., on the gun culture of the U.S., inspired (if you can call it that!) by the Las Vegas shooting of over 550 people, with at this time 58 dead, by Mr. Paddock. (I can’t remember his first name) I had my class of about twenty students break into groups of 3 or 4 to discuss among themselves what they found. They each have a journal where they write their responses, reactions and questions. Then we discussed as a class their small group conversations. The main questions: Why is it so easy to get a gun in the U.S.? Why do so many people need so many guns? Why is the U.S. such a violent culture? So, if you were me, how would you answer those questions? Questions from mostly students from Bosnia and Herzegovina? Mostly very young students who are starting their university education. The 2nd Amendment should be correctly interpreted or even repealed? Instead of talking about “reasonable” gun control, talk about what some would call “unreasonable” gun safety regulations? (I like the repeal idea – IT MAKES SENSE!) And I like gathering 9/10ths of the guns and melting them down to make jungle gym equipment or cars that get 100 miles to the gallon or electrical charge. It was a good class.
I want to rent a car and drive around BiH sometime soon, to Stolac or Bihac or maybe out of the country to Croatia – to Split or down to Dubrovnik. Maybe this weekend. I need a break. I love my students and my colleagues (except the two I share an office with – they are boring Americans!!) are great. I want to write more poems and work on my novel. No one has seen the first 50 pages – and I’ve been stalled at the first 50 pages for months! Sometimes my attention span just derails me from projects. You might have heard that from my American friend, the poet, he should talk!!!