Comp Tales Short Response Paper

English 501

October 15, 2013

Solve a Mystery or Rewrite History

“Life is like a hurricane/Here in Comp-burg/theory, texting, digital/It’s a comp-blur/Might solve a mystery/Or rewrite history/CHORUS: CompTales (oooh ooooh)/Every day we’re out there making/CompTales (oooh ooooh)/Tales of daring do bad and good LuckTales (oooh ooooh). When it seems we’re heading for the/Final drafting/Cool discoursive never fails/Nothing is certain/The worst of messes/Become successes/ CHORUS. D-D-D-Danger! Watch behind you/There’s a student out to find you/What to do? Just grab on to some CompTales! CHORUS/Finale: CompTales (oooh ooooh)/Every day we’re out there making/CompTales (oooh ooooh)/Tales of daring do bad and good LuckTales (oooh ooooh)/Not phony tales or rotten tales, no CompTales (ooh ooooh)” (My adaptation of Ducktales Theme Song for composition teaching.)  These lyrics inspired by Comp Tales, a book by Haswell and Lu. Haswell’s last say on the collection of stories reveals his interest in storytelling (183-194) while Lu spends more time on the theory of it (195-228). I do not have a favorite comp tale from the book; my favorite comp tale is the Facebook discussions between my colleagues on the book.

Less formal than the forums and with the feeling that no one is watching (a cohort member did make a private, hidden group [cohort 2013!] but I doubt very much that anything is really private on Facebook) my fellow students and teachers-to-be expressed delight in reading narratives of what it’s like in the field. Grading and baises, co-workers and mishaps all in a ‘round the campfire’ sort of story, yet polished and thought out. Those of us (me being one of them) that decried the lack of context or prep from other readings were appease as Haswell and Lu  included that. My colleagues laughed and were sad (maybe cried?) were relieved and inspired and, I think, excited and intrigued to teach and get a few comp tales of their own. This purpose or result predicted by Lu bottom of page 207.

This is the power of story. It’s not hard to read even if there are layers of understanding; even if it isn’t a simple, easy read. I disagree with Haswell that the comp tales would ever seem “lightweight” (though of course, I did not see all the drafts and stories he sifted through) but I absolutely see his view that the narratives are, “…personal and vernacular and oral and social. Two ways of extending comp tales are by looking for moral directive (always there) and for embedded tales (always there), …above all it can show how a professional genre as plebeian as oral anecdotes of personal experience provides a rich and singular understanding of the profession” (186). Ultimately, this book carries all the weight of the human experience, of story, of narrative but carefully and thoughtfully crafted. It addressed the marginalized and based on the amount of submissions they got also utilized the balanced decision of what and when not to share.

Also, I lied. I did have a favorite: comp tale number 125 (162-64). In it I receive instruction, validation and inspiration. As a Caucasian/WASP sometimes I did not relate to my students that I tutored or worked with in TRiO programs and CAMP (College Assistance Migrant Program) and now MSS (Multi-cultural Student Services) but I could always empathize. As a TRiO participant during my undergraduate degree (and also working as a tutor) I could relate to being outcast from the general population: I was older, I came from poor and was poor, I was paying my own way, I came from a minority culture (albeit a mostly white one) and I was a woman – highly likely to attend college, less likely to build a career. I did not for a moment pretend I had it as difficult as some of my fellow TRiO participants but I also could not relate to the general student population at WSU. How was it working in TRiO and more often than not being an outnumbered white person? “…fine, it’s great, we feel right at home, which too often we don’t. Except, of course, on those days when we do…” (164). I did not necessary see the strong theme of underrepresented students in Comp Tales but I did an attempt to represent all students and especially all types of teachers.

In the interest of difficulty in writing a good comp tale and also keeping with the oral tradition (context) in which the story is told, you can find my comp tales on my website posting of this paper, along with my rendition of Comp Tales Theme Song.

Lyric adaptaion by me; the original lyrics to DuckTales is here. Music by Saul Delgado. You can listen to my kinda awful definitely funny rendition of of here.

 

Want to sing along?

Life is like a hurricane

Here in Comp-burg

Theory, texting, digital

It’s a comp-blur

Might solve a mystery

Or rewrite history

 

CHORUS: CompTales (oooh ooooh)

Every day we’re out there making

CompTales (oooh ooooh)

Tales of daring do bad and good

LuckTales (oooh ooooh).

 

When it seems we’re heading for the

Final drafting

Cool discoursive never fails

Nothing is certain

The worst of messes

Become successes

 

CHORUS:

CompTales (oooh ooooh)
Every day we’re out there making
CompTales (oooh ooooh)
Tales of daring do bad and good
LuckTales (oooh ooooh)

D-D-D-Danger! Watch behind you
There’s a student out to find you
What to do? Just grab on to some CompTales

CHORUS/Finale:

CompTales (oooh ooooh)
Every day we’re out there making
CompTales (oooh ooooh)
Tales of daring do bad and good
LuckTales (oooh ooooh)
Not phony tales or rotten tales, no
CompTales (ooh ooooh)