Behind the Scenes — Here is a little behind-the-scenes information about my Monday Missive. I send it out on Monday, but I usually write it on Sunday. And so I am writing this Monday Missive on Easter. Every Easter I flash back on my most memorable Easter-related experience. It happened in 1978 when I was making my living as a puppeteer in Madison, Wisconsin. The manager of one of Madison’s big shopping malls hired me to do a series of puppet shows on the weekend before Easter. I wrote a special show titled “The Giant Purple Easter Egg” for the event, and I still have the giant purple Easter egg that I used as a prop in the show.
That Saturday I arrived early in the morning before the mall opened to the public. Upon my arrival, I discovered that the mall had also hired a young woman to hop through the mall dressed up as the Easter bunny. She and I exchanged greetings, and then we met with the mall manager. He and his crew took charge of setting us up in the middle of the mall. They assigned me to a roped-off platform, and they situated the Easter bunny in a little garden patch with fake flowers and plastic carrots.
As I was assembling my stage and testing the mall’s booming sound system, I watched as all of the usually unseen workers prepared the mall for this big “Spring Gala” event. They busily put up decorations, built a temporary runway for a spring fashion show, and set up signs, including a sign indicating when I would be doing my puppet shows.
The Easter bunny and I performed throughout the weekend, but the mall manager gave us a few opportunities to take breaks in an unmarked staff break room. I will always remember the Easter bunny taking off her bunny head, revealing her sweat-drenched human head. She then gulped down glass after glass of water. When our break was over, she put her bunny head back on and resumed her hopping duties. I think her job was harder than mine.
The experience of performing at this mall made me more aware and appreciative of all of the behind-the-scenes work that goes into putting on big events. Similar preparatory work is taking place in the English Department this week for two big events that the department is sponsoring. The first of these events is Gardens and Verses: An Earth Day Celebration, which will take place on Tuesday, April 23. The second is the English Department Awards Ceremony, which will take place on Wednesday, April 24. Please see below for more details about these events. I know that members of our staff and faculty are already doing a lot of behind-the-scenes activities related to these events, and my appreciation goes to all of them. They are working hard to get ready, but at least they don’t have to hop around the campus in Easter bunny costumes.
The CLGO Powerhouse Takes Washington, D.C., by Storm — The 2019 Popular Culture Association National Conference took place in Washington, D.C., from April 17 through April 20, and our department was very well represented. Four members of the Children’s Literature Graduate Organization presented papers at this conference. Cassandra Grosh presented a paper titled “The Uglies Inside: Mental Health within Scott Westerfeld’s Uglies.” Shannon Murphy presented a paper titled “Exploring Reality and the Gender Binary in Little Women‘s ‘The P.C. and the P.O.'” Jacquelyn Schaefle presented a paper titled “The Limited Perspective in the Journey to Self-Acceptance in Annie on My Mind,” and Jasmin Gonzalez Caban presented a paper titled “The Hybridity of Humanity: Posthumanism within Marissa Meyer’s The Lunar Chronicles.” Paula Connolly, the faculty advisor for CLGO, was also at the conference, and she sent me the following email message from the conference: “Our CLGO superstars have done a phenomenal job at PCA!!!”
Kudos — As you know, I like to use my Monday Missives to share news about recent accomplishments by members of the English Department. Here is the latest news:
Meghan Barnes recently published an article titled “Leveraging Digital Spaces for Pre-service Teachers to Practice Reading and Responding to Student Writing” in the Journal of Language and Literacy Education. Please click on the following link to read her article: http://jolle.coe.uga.edu/wp-content/uploads/2019/04/BarnesChandler_JoLLE2019.pdf She also published a book review of Educating for Empathy: Literacy Learning and Civic Engagement by Nicole Mirra in the Journal of Language and Literacy Education.
Paula Connolly recently presented a paper titled “Counterpointing the Cozy: Louise Penny’s Three Pines” at the Popular Cultural Association National Conference in Washington, D.C.
Boyd Davis recently gave the plenary address, “Aging Care Is a World Concern,” at the International Conference on Seniors, Foreign Caregivers, Families, Institutions: Linguistic and Multi-disciplinary Perspectives, co-sponsored by University of Insubria and University of Milan.
Dina Massachi, a graduate of our M.A. program, recently published an article titled “Metal Malleable Male: The Tin Creations of L. Frank Baum and Todrick Hall” in The Baum Bugle.
Kirk Melnikoff was the invited respondent in the seminar “Shakespeare’s Enemies” at the Shakespeare Association of America Conference in Washington, D.C.
Liz Miller recently published a co-authored article in the journal Language Teaching Research titled “Caring and Emotional Labour: Language Teachers’ Engagement with Anxious Learners in Private Language School Classrooms.”
Jen Munroe recently presented a paper titled “Ecofeminism and the Restlessness of Motion,” in a roundtable she organized, “Wherefore Ecofeminism?” at the Shakespeare Association of America meeting in Washington, D.C.
Upcoming Events and Meetings — Here is a list of upcoming events and meetings:
April 23 — On Tuesday, April 23, our English Department and the UNC Charlotte Botanical Gardens will co-sponsor an event titled “Gardens and Verses: An Earth Day Celebration.” The event will take place in the Botanical Gardens from 11:30 a.m. to 1:30 p.m. The event will feature poetry readings about nature, on-site writing opportunities, and games all in celebration of the relationship between gardens and language. Jen Munroe and Matt Rowney from the English Department and Jeff Gillman from the Botanical Gardens are the key organizers of this event.
April 24 — On Wednesday, April 24, our English Department Student Awards Ceremony will be held in the Dale Halton Room of the Atkins Library starting at 11:30am.
April 26 — On Friday, April 26, our last English Department meeting of the academic year will be held at 11-12:30 in the conference room (Fretwell 280C).
Quirky Quiz Question — I am not the only member of the English Department who has connections to Madison, Wisconsin. Three members of our faculty earned graduate degrees from the University of Wisconsin-Madison although only two of them earned their doctoral degrees from there. Interestingly, two of these three faculty members started out in the same cohort of MA students. What are the names of these three faculty members?
Last week’s answer: Jimmy Carter
As a volunteer for Habitat for Humanity, Angie Williams now has a point in common with one of our former presidents. What former president regularly volunteers for Habitat for Humanity?