FROM: Professor, easily appalled because of this same late point in the semester.
RE: What you said about Chekhov
When you said you loved Russian writers but you also thought that writers from this period tended to make small details "unnecessarily long-winded" and that Chekhov was "no exception," I felt a little murderous.
Chekhov was, well, first of all, Chekhov is Chekhov, for heaven's sake. Secondly, sir, he was a Russian writer. The winters in Russia are long. What was there for Chekhov to do but write long, elegant, wintry sentences?
TO: Student, whom I like but who always disagrees with me in every damned online discussion, literally EVERY single one.
FROM: Professor, who's a little tired of this nonsense, at this late point in the semester.
RE: Your critique of me
Today, when I read your critique of the question I asked in the online discussion, particularly where you told me I should write more clearly and my questions shouldn't have so many parts, I felt annoyed.
My dear, you may be right. But I shall continue to ask my many-parted questions until forever or when I find a simpler way to ask them. You go on thinking every question can be asked in a single, straightforward, uncomplicated clause. You'll probably make piles of money and I will still be a community college professor. But I will have my dignity. And my fat, gnarled questions. And this tiny bit of rancor that I shall cherish, a minuscule needle that I will keep in my satchel of teaching memorabilia.