Tuesday, May 31, 2011

One of your GTAs is Writing a Novel...


One of your amazing GTAs, Ryan Forsythe, is putting the finishing touches on a novel and seeks your support, (love, and money), for the project! Here's the link to support his wild effort, the wraparound cover....

... and a trailer for the book:

Robotic, Erotic, Electric: Vonnegut (Via NPR) on the Shape of Story...

Saturday, May 14, 2011

Reminder About the Final Exam Grades | Stepford Wives Screening

WEDNESDAY May 18, 2011

I will be in the classroom, Peterson Gym 153 screening THE STEPFORD WIVES from 10:30am to 12:30pm--come by to pick up your final exams and say goodbye! Final grades will be posted to your webportal this afternoon.

Click for the link...

Thursday, May 12, 2011

Beautiful Parting Words for the ARTkive: Robotic, Erotic, Electric

Date: Mon, 9 May 2011 12:51:10 -0700
Subject: Thank You
From: floresa AT rohan.
To: "William  Nericcio" bnericci AT mail

Professor Nericcio,

Thank you for a wonderful semester, a new vocabulary, an introduction to some wonderful works of art, and teaching us (even if in a small way) how to be less robotic.


I know we won't be using the artkive anymore but there were a few things I wanted to share with you now that our semester is over.

First, attached is a piece of graffiti I found written on the wall in one of the girl's restrooms at the Love Library. I don't usually advocate vandalism but I thought it appropriate for two reasons. One-- we've discussed urban culture/tagging a few times in class and I thought this piece had more meaning than "For a good time call so and so!" Second-- It's a quote from Kurt Vonnegut's Slaughterhouse Five, which I recognized because I've been reading the novel in my free time since I loved B of C so much.

In case you can't read the graffiti (I took the picture with my cell phone) it reads: *So it goes. Listen: Billy Pilgram has become unstuck in time.

Second, attached is a poem I wrote trying to break free from my puppet strings. It deals with some pretty gritty language at one point but the poem is intended for every day robots or maybe for those of us who don't want to be robots anymore. It's one of the poems I told you I've recently had published and there's a shout out for English majors toward the end. I don't usually share my writing but I thought I should since you were kind enough to read from your new work and from Text-Mex I should share too. I hope you like it!

Thanks again!


You’re Not Vain, This Song is About You 
Amanda Flores

   They said to write a song for the beloved and for the good. For
the good kings and good queens and the good priests and popes
and rabbis and the soldiers and those who matter and those who we
should all try to emulate.
   Write a song for the well behaved.
   Write a song for Superman.
   Write a song for someone flawless, like God.
   But I’m really more interested in writing a song for the guy
who kind of recognizes me from somewhere, sort of. Maybe high
school? No, I think I used to shop at that store you used to work at.
Or maybe we had Psych 101 together with the professor who had a
bad stutter and talked about his kids too much. People are always
trying to talk about their kids too much. Or maybe our moms used
to be friends or my boyfriend’s best friends with your best friend’s
cousin. Oh, you have a boyfriend? I guess I just wanted to say hi.
   Maybe I’d rather write a song for a bottle of green Tabasco
sauce. Your heat radiates off of my lips and turns my tongue into
flames. You make everything better. I hunger for you. Crave you.
Need you. You put me on fire. I am burning but you’re worth it.
   I’d love to write a song for procrastinators even if it takes them
a while to read it. For people who promptly return the pencils
they’ve borrowed. For pen pals and porn stars. For people who
read the encyclopedia for fun.
   For masochists, murderers, or maneaters.
   Kings are okay but I’d rather write songs for fat bottomed girls,
like Freddie did. Or songs for psycho killers, like the Talking
Heads did.
   For men and women known solely for their mistakes. I’m glad
Eve bit the apple. I hope it was sweet. I hope it was tart but not too
tart. I hope with that bite she grew more hungry. Hungry for
knowledge. For adventure. For love. I hope she knew she didn’t
have to be with Adam if she didn’t want him. I hope the sex was
good. I hope, if I’m ever given the option to I take a huge bite out
of my own apple. That I will not be afraid to sink my teeth in. That
the juices run down my chin and I realize not only that I’m naked
but I don’t mind being it.
   To the masters of the run on sentence, thank you. Who says a
single thought has to be less than thirty words long? Keep writing
those beautiful words, please. I would love to keep reading. I will
keep on reading until you run out of thoughts or I run out of breath.
   And for those of you who loved that song even before it
became popular, I hope you keep on loving songs before the rest of
the world does. I hope you’re always a step ahead. Mostly I hope
you still love the song even after everyone else does. Because
really, if you stop, were you ever truly in love?
   I want to be like the girls who still believe in love. Like the
ones who believe him when he promises forever. Or like the
women who don’t need men. The ones who are never vulnerable or
hurt or falling apart. How do you do that? How do you lie alone at
night perfectly content without someone else’s heartbeat lulling
you to sleep?
   This is a song for the heart whose beat occasionally sings me to
sleep. The one that’s a little slower than mine. A little stronger.
   This is a song for those of you born with a heart three sizes too
   It’s a song dedicated to the man who noticed his girlfriend’s
haircut. I hope you get laid tonight. I hope she tries that thing
you’ve wanted her to try but she’s been nervous about. I hope
afterwards you are not let down. And if you are I hope you don’t
show it. I hope you tell her she’s beautiful; I don’t think she
    This is a song for the girl working out alone in the gym. I want
to be like her. The little girl in front of all of those big, sweaty
men. You deserve an award. You deserve praise. You deserve a
six-pack or a bowl of ice cream.
   Maybe I want to be like the sexy girl who is also severely
intelligent. Who everyone gravitates toward. Who knows the
periodic table by heart but doesn’t look half bad in a bikini.
   This is a song for those who suffer from bibliomania. And
those of you who will look up what the word bibliomania means.
It’s especially for those of you who already knew.
   The person who this song is for should know Oscar Wilde
wrote my favorite story. He wrote words like vodka. Words that
burn going down and leave me dizzy. Words I want to drown in. I
want to write words that make other people drunk and happy like
he did.
   Words that make you feel like the elevator just stopped and
your gravity is out of batteries.
   Or like you’ve been cheated on.
   Like you’re rolling around in laundry fresh out of the dryer.
   Like you’ve just tasted something you’ve never tasted before.
   Words that feel like falling out of the top bunk, like maybe
your gravity is working too well.
   Or words that make you feel like you’re driving past a huge
accident. Where you can’t help but look and you feel guilty but
you slow down and you keep on looking. Not sure what you’re
going to see next. Interested in an uneasy way.
   But I’d rather be a red wine than vodka. Something you have to
have acquired a taste for. Something that stains everything it
   Dear Prudence, this is for you. Because I believe you did come
out to play. And I think even when the sky isn’t blue and the
clouds are not daisy chains you are still beautiful. I want to be like
   Or like the girl who highlights the pieces of my writing that
deal with sex, drugs, or rock music and leaves question marks
along the margins to show her shy confusion. You are stunning. I
worship your innocence. I hope you hold onto it for as long as you
can. I’m envious of that innocence but I’m not sure I would trade
you for it. I wonder if you’ve ever had an orgasm. I wonder if a
man or woman has ever made you scream out their name. If
you’ve ever been bitten on the neck. Kissed on your shoulder. If
someone’s ever tasted your thighs. If anyone’s ever pulled your
hair. If you use a vibrator that makes you tremble as much as it
does or if you’d think that’s just wrong. I wonder if you’ve ever
smoked a perfect joint. If you’ve ever been in trouble. No, I don’t
think I could trade you but I cannot wait to lovingly read your
question marks near my vulgar thoughts and to see this entire
paragraph underlined with baffled curiosity. By the way, you
should really listen to Led Zeppelin or Pink Floyd or The Smiths.
If vibrators don’t make you tremble maybe music will.
   My heroes are the couples who shamelessly grope each other in
   And the ones who don’t.
   My hero is the girl who brews my coffee. The one who is
severely underpaid. The one who takes time to warm the milk first.
Who carefully lowers the steam wand into the milk she’s warming
to make me foam. Foam that has the possibility of becoming a
Santa-like mustache if I am not careful. It has the potential to
become a stain on my favorite jeans if I am clumsy. Or becoming
the foam famous for resting on top of the best fucking latte ever
known to man, if she knows what she’s doing. She, the girl who
pushes the button that pours two espresso shots into the paper cup
and then pours in the milk and then pours the foam from the spoon
to the cup. She uses the same spoon that ran away with the fork
who happened to be friends with the cow that made my milk in the
first place. The girl who brews my coffee never forgets the
   This song is to the professor who cannot figure out her damned
power point.
   It’s to the professor who doesn’t need one.
   It’s to those of you who are familiar with every vague
   And to those of you who are not, I’m sorry. I didn’t mean to
alienate you. If it helps, this song is to you.
   And it’s to Daisy Buchanan née Fay, even though she wasn’t
the best driver.
   To Sibyl Vane, because love shouldn’t ruin art, it should
inspire it.
   To anyone else who was ever wanted until they were had.
   To the good guy who finished last.
   To my little sister, who is the most beautiful little girl in the
whole world and who wants to own her own zoo when she grows
   To Aquaman, you poor underrated underwater thing, for saving
the world from the Black Manta.
   To the Big Foot enthusiast.
   To the few things that are still shocking.
   To serendipity.
   To sex.
   To the man driving the car underneath the float in the parade.
   For people on their seventh marriage, because maybe this time
it will work out.
   To my MacBook. You don’t stop working. You don’t shut off.
You simply go to sleep. Everyone needs a good nap. And you just
let me write and write and write. The clicking of this keyboard
becomes a kind of song.
   A song for Charles Darwin’s cousin.
   To the guy who almost invented sliced bread.
   To the level 80, Wrath of the Lich King, World of Warcraft
   To the inventor of The Sims for creating a game without a goal.
Where the answer to “How do you play?” is: “Well… you just
make a person, probably one who looks like you. And you make
them eat and sleep and go to the bathroom… so they can be
   To those who are happy.
   It’s for the people who aren’t afraid to be English majors; I
envy you. Some say you’re studying a dying art but I’ve read
Fahrenheit 451 and I believe there will always be a Guy Montag to
protect the words of Oscar Wilde, and the story of Eve, and the run
on sentence makers, and the English majors.
   To the unsung hero, I will sing to you. I’m not a very good
singer but I’ll try. I promise not to forget to try. And I promise to
never write a song for the good kings or queens. They have enough

Tuesday, May 10, 2011

English 220 | Spring 2011 | Logistics, Final Grades, etc...


This is probably one of the last official communications you will receive regarding your work this semester in Robotic, Erotic, Electric--thanks to you and your hard work (not to mention the work of your dedicated GTAs, Rebecca Howat, Tara Stillions, Ryan Forsythe, and Zach Cavanaugh), we succeeded in having one of the more lively, experimental, and memorable "introduction to literature" courses on the West Coast (Stanford, Berkeley, UC Irvine, and USC, eat your hearts out).

So. On to your grades and finals...

Your final exam is scheduled by SDSU for Wednesday, May 18nth from 10:30 to 12:30pm--as we have already finished that task, I will station myself in the classroom at that time, probably screening THE STEPFORD WIVES if you need a break/relaxation, if you want to pick up your finals.

Your final grades will be posted to your web portal by 2pm, Wednesday May 18, 2011, or as soon as I can after I scurry over to my office from our PG 153 home away from home.

If your experience of the class was miserable and the last thing you want to do is see me or the GTAs again, or just me again, then shove a self-addressed stamped envelope under my door, Arts and Letters 273 by THIS FRIDAY @ 12noon.  Be sure to put enough stamps--2 should do it--so that the exam gets to you.

So let's say the horrible happens and you think your grade is in error!   Here's what you do....

1. Assemble all your graded work into a portfolio--make sure you arrange all of your returned, graded assignments in chronological order.
2. Next, review this ensemble carefully and head to this page to make sure you have taken into account how your grade was determined.
3. Cool. Next, wait until Monday, July 3, 2011. On that date send me a formal email requesting an appointment for review of your final grade.
4. I will respond within a week and we will schedule a meeting.

Remember, it is your right as a student to challenge your grade if you feel we are in error--with 220 students in the class, it is entirely possible (somewhat, as we are super-careful) that we might have made an error.

I hope this class did something for you--taught you something, gave you a new way to see literature and film. I am a very lucky professor to have worked with such a first-rate group of GTAS and undergraduates and I thank those of you who made the class a key part of your semester--your hard work is what made the majority of the students SEE the value of fiction in a new light.  Without you knowing, you were an aesthetic ambassador of sorts.

That's it.

If you want to keep in touch and follow all the crazy arts projects I am a part of locally, be sure to visit the program I run from time to time: MALAS or follow my blog. If you liked Tex[t]-Mex and want to follow readings/exhibits locally and beyond, be sure to 'like' its page here on Facebook.

Lastly, let other students know if the class rocked or sucked if you have the time--I get my best students by word of mouth and your views of the class are really important to me.


Bill Nericcio

ps: the university makes you evaluate the class before you see your grades, or better put, it gives you the option to do so; know this: I READ each evaluation and everything you have to share will make me a better professor for students in the future.  Speaking of the future, here's my Fall 2011 Engl 220 class draft. I hope it will be special, but it will never be Robotic, Erotic, Electric...

A Parting Shot from the Robot Crew!

The Father of the Robot...

Sunday, May 01, 2011

What Are Final Exams in William Nericcio's Literature/Film Classes Really Like...

I get this question all the time from befuddled, angst-ridden undergraduates wondering how to prepare for a final in my classes.  The good news is that my finals are actually FUN....

YES! You read right: FUN.....

..... fun, that is, if you have come to class, done the reading, and given a fl**** f***; for the rest, my finals can bring on heart attacks....

In any event, here are two finals from two of my recent classes: Sex, Drugs, and Rock n Roll (Engl 563) and from Naked Mirrors (Engl 220)...

keep in mind that the exams below were written for a 75 minute exam--yours will be shorter for the 50 minute time allotment...

click to enlarge

click to enlarge