(Folks, I have taught writing and literature for many years, but in recent years with the advent of email and IMs and such, the letters from my students have become stranger, more intimate, and just flat out weird. This is a fake email based on real events, all put together for your enjoyment)
Dear Professor Barksdale--
Just a quick note to let you know I had to fly to Iceland for a family emergency. Sorry that I've missed class for three weeks--and I'm going to have to miss three more. You know, it's complicated. It's very complicated. My grandmother's uncle's father's son's cousin had a hernia, and, well, I'm the only one with a Gortex patch. You know, the kind to hold his guts in? I had to take the airstream to Iceland. It's bankrupt here, so I don't have internet access except this great café where it's free and on 24/7, but it's a while block from where I'm staying at the palace and I can't get here too often.
Great cappuccinos, though. Really.
Anyway, just thought I'd ask you if I really had to read the textbook. it's full of stories and poems, and they are so confusing and they take a lot of time to read. I don't have a lot of time. I'm really busy on Facebook and Twitter and Myspace. Not to mention hanging with my tribe, who had to come with me to Iceland. You know, my posse, my pardners, my peeps. It's bankrupt in Iceland, so we decided to help them with their cash flow. We thought we'd go hiking in the fjords or over the ice before it all melts. Actually it's spring here. Grass is growing near the beach. it's so weird. Too bad I don't have time to write about it for your class, but like I said, the Internet café is a block away.
And you know all those stories I didn't post for three weeks, the stuff I was supposed to write? Could I post my Facebook updates instead? They are really good. You know, telling you about my day and stuff. Like, what I'm doing right now. Sort of an extemporaneous "all about me" kind of thing. I bet you didn't think I knew that word. I really, like, so do. Anyway, I thought I'd string those all together with my tweets--maybe even using some from my followers, too--and then just make up this radical new form.
How's this: Slipping around on the ice. "Happy." Just ate a whole fish. "Cold." All the roofs are red. "Working."
That's what should be in the textbook if you ask me.
Also, I'm really upset about your grade scale. It's kind of harsh. Like I have to actually do everything to get an A. What about the fact that I know I'm going to be a writer. I am a writer. I'd write more if you didn't make us read all the time. How is all that reading going to help me write? It's going to totally confuse me, giving me the wrong voice. Taking away my originality. You'd love my new stuff. I'd show you more, of course, but like I said about the Internet café.
Could you possibly read my query letter and my synopsis and my first 50 pages of my novel. I wrote it when I was in ninth grade, but it's like really good. I didn't even have to revise it. I bet it would get published. Could you send it to your agent?
Okay, I've got to go. I need to go find that piece of Gortex I brought over here. Then we are going to go ski on the grass at the beach. It's a new money making thing here for Iceland.
See you in three weeks.
Jessica Barksdale Inclan
(and now to go back and read more student email!)