Wednesday, April 2, 2014

The Ultimate Tuesdays with Morrie Feedback!

So I chatted with Mitch Albom today. WHAT'S UP. I'm so excited. I'm actually kind of flipping out right now. Back story!

Maybe a week ago, I was chatting with Sophie about getting feedback from experts, and I mentioned that I was waffling with the idea of asking Mitch Albom some questions. She jumped on board right away, encouraging me to go for it. I hesitated and put it off because I didn't feel like I really had any valid questions, and I didn't want to approach a great author with dumb questions.

Jump to yesterday night, when I was having a small breakdown about my paper. I knew it was lacking the honesty and deliberate care I usually put into my papers. The subject I had chosen to write about was lackluster at best--I simply couldn't bring myself to care about it enough to write a paper I really liked. I went to my dad, feeling ready to give up completely. Sensibly, he sat me down and made me tell him why I care about Tuesdays with Morrie in the first place. I answered earnestly and quickly--I know why I love it. It's honest, heartfelt, and deeply touching to me. I love it.

So, ever the wonderful father, my dad told me to write about that. I scrunched my face up critically--write about love and feeling in a literary analysis? I didn't think I could manage it. But we talked things through and I finally came to a thesis and topic that I can really truly embrace. And now I'm excited to write my paper!

Now for the best part. I snuck into my dad's empty office this afternoon to work on my paper in peace and quiet. I got in the groove and was getting lots done when I realized that I finally had a question for Mitch. So I did some research and ended up on his official Facebook page. I worked and reworked a suitable question, and then posted it with low expectations but high hopes.

AND HE RESPONDED. Ahhhh! Best day ever. His answer was really interesting, and it lends itself perfectly to the topic of my paper. Speaking of which, I've finally decided on a topic. I'm going to write about the fact that Tuesdays with Morrie is not a literary book. It doesn't lend itself to analysis or interpretation--it simply isn't formatted that way. In spite of that, it is a very valuable, touching, sentimental text, and that kind of literature is very literary because the whole point of literature is (or should be) to make us more human. And that's exactly what Tuesdays with Morrie does. Not really elegant yet, but that's the general idea.


  1. Awesome! Congrats for 1) seeking input from your father, who is also a literary expert; 2) for showing the courage and intelligence required to approach a famous literary author in an appropriate way; and 3) for using this experience to acquire both focus and passion for your topic. You are really on your way! Way to exemplify social proof, too. One thing regarding your revised thesis. While I think you can get a lot out of arguing that TWM is not a literary book, I think it will be a tougher sell to say it doesn't lend itself to analysis or interpretation -- after all, you are about to analyze and interpret it. I think what you are getting at is that is the paradox that the literary is supposedly all about the human experience, but sometimes not aiming for the literary ends up achieving that goal better. If you wanted, you could make your claim about the broader goals of literature and how it can even get in its own way. I think when you analyze TWM, you would do well to point out the various ways it doesn't try to be literary, but it would be wrong to say that literary analysis can't open up that book in meaningful ways. Maybe it's the difference between what authors do and what critics do, or that literary criticism can be applied to the non-literary (as has happened so much when those trained in literary criticism analyze pop cultural things that are far from being "literary"). Some good ideas. Are you now thinking about being self-referential in your paper? How will you represent the personal meaningfulness of the book without losing objective credibility? It can be done, but must be done carefully.

  2. That is so cool that you got in touch with the author! Congrats

  3. Wow! I love that you've fallen in love with your topic, and what a great experience to talk with Mitch Albom! This inspires me to be more passionate about my own topic so I completely enjoy my paper as I write it.