from A to Z

Posted: January 5, 2016 in Uncategorized
Tags: , , ,

By Tricia Lunt, English Faculty

Beginnings and endings get a lot of attention. 20130702_a-to-z_91

I use the alphabet as a calming go-to-sleep tool, thanks to the advice given by my excellent psychologist friend, Maddie.

Having discovered the intellectual fun of creating alphabetical lists, I introduced the exercise to my classes.

In my Fall 2015 course, I reached the pinnacle of that practice when I asked to my students to create an alphabetical list of what they value in life; the results were amazing, brilliant, creative, downright extraordinary! Fortunately, I took a photo of the result, a memento of a conversation that will no doubt remain among the most wonderful and meaningful experiences in my teaching career.

ABCThe alphabet can be used as a poetic instrument as well, done vividly in the abecedarian entitled “ABC” by Robert Pinsky.

The A to Z approach tantalizes with a sense of order that the chaos of life denies.

As I struggle through the heartbreaking conclusion of a love affair, which has been slowly, painfully ending for a year, I wish, in vain, to go back to the beginning, knowing (but not quite feeling) that the end would be the same.

Life moves in one direction. We can begin again, but only in the place we are now.

Ultimately, the desire for an ending leads to the same place, brilliantly articulated in “The School” by Donald Barthelme and the perfectly awful “Happy Endings” by Margaret Atwood. Art tells the terrible truth of life.

Beginnings seldom announce themselves.

Endings are rarely what we wish them to be.

Meanwhile, the Alphabet talks it all in stride, certain in its totality, until it packs a bag and travels elsewhere, only to discover that there are other alphabets that do not begin with A or end with Z, and suddenly nothing is sure, and anything is possible.



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