One of the most revered English professors
at Oglethorpe University
, rivaled only by his associate and ex-wife, Dr. Linda Taylor. A brilliant man and he knows it. I house-sat for him one summer. A bird made from wire hung from the ceiling, flying frozen, just above his front door. He uses Tide w/bleach. His tv sat on cinderblocks in the ugliest room in the house
, a compost pile in his backyard.
He is a predator in the classroom, a mind like a venus flytrap eager to digest.
His trademark classroom exchange with a student is:
Dr. Brightman: "Why?"
Student: "I don't know."
Dr. Brightman: "Mmm hmm. May I ask another question?
Student: exhausted nod
Dr. Brightman: "Why don't you know?"
He actually reduced me to making sound effects in class once, trying to illustrate what I was thinking. He looked pleased that I'd knowingly let myself look so dumb for clarification's sake.
In a class discussion one day, having gotten us all wound up and talking, he smiled and said, "You're all so busily engaged in trying to be experienced."
He said to one especially cocky student, "Certainty is that which keeps us from knowing." but he may have been quoting someone else.
I found scrawled in a margin of my notes from David Copperfield a comment he made one day, caught up in Charles Dickens' rambling symbolism, he said, sure of himself and thoughtful, "We are all, fundamentally, poets."