This is it! My last weekly roundup of the year because tomorrow will be all about wrapping up the WHOLE YEAR. Whew. 2018, man. I had a lot of personal ups and downs this year, and they were all very keenly felt. Many were good and a lot more than I would have liked were emotionally intense and draining. It will be interesting (in a good way, I hope) to see what 2019 brings.
I have been in super vacation mode for the past week. In fact, I’ve been so in the vacation zone that I only made it to the gym once (on Christmas Eve) for low impact exercise, which was me and a bunch of elderly people. It was a pretty good workout–especially considering I didn’t do any other exercise last week–and I should probably repeat that tomorrow since this upcoming week looks to be more of the same. Except I’ll be taking a short trip to San Diego, so that may include more walking.
Today is the last day of class before the end of NaNoWriMo, and my students are very studiously working on their drafts, so I figured now is as good a time as any to update.
1. First, let me just say that watching my creative writing students write during NaNo has been such a delight. They come in and get right to it. Headphones on, laptops or notebooks open, and away they go. I have put a prompt up on the board every day (some requested it), but I have no idea if they’re using them–I just know that they’re intensely focused on writing. It is a joy to behold.
First, I had an IBS episode, which was not as bad as you might think except it was terrible because I was an emotional, weepy mess. If you know me at all, you know I don’t tend toward the emotional OR the weepy, so I thought I was probably dying (this is not really an understatement as I always feel like I am effectively losing my mind if I cry for more than, like, five minutes especially if there’s no evident cause). Anyway, it turns out my instincts about living to regret the croissant and many cookies I ate last Friday were right on and also the emotional response can be explained by science.
Then, Dana Johnson came to visit our school as part of its writer in residence program. (This is a good thing, btw. She was amazing, and when I asked my students the most important thing they learned this week, quite a few of them said “Just try even if you think you’ll fail,” which was a thing she mentioned in her talk. So! Yay for that!) Right, so that’s good, but her visit also led to me having a slight existential crisis because she’s in charge of the PhD in writing at her institution and while I absolutely am not interested in finishing the PhD in literature, the idea of a PhD in creative writing still excites me. Is it possible? Maybe. But do I want to devote the time to it? Who knows?
1. Okay, so I know I mentioned that I hit a parked car this summer, but did I tell you that I ALSO hit a pillar in the parking garage of my complex? Well, I did. Which means that I have dents on both sides of my car now. Because of that, I came to the conclusion that I must not like my car very much (I mean, I am not this careless in general) so got it into my head that I would sell my car and buy a new one.
Ugh, allergies are kicking my butt. But I will not let them keep me from writing this post.
First, I am writing this while I attempt to make waffles on my new waffle maker. I am not off to a good start as I misread the waffle directions because the numbers were blurry. (I though it said 1 1/2 cups for both the mix and the milk, but it said 1 1/3 cup and 1 1/4 cup, respectively.) Does this mean I have to start wearing reading glasses? I think this is definitely a writing on the wall situation.
Okay, maybe not Pacey’s writing on the wall to Joey situation, but still.
Second, TV has been very good to me this past few weeks.
This is going to be a rushed post because school starts Monday (aka TOMORROW since I’m writing this after midnight), and I am already behind on everything. Also, my D key keeps sticking, so it’s making writing a hassle. Sigh.
Here’s what I still need to do to be ready for Monday:
Figure out if I’m going to have my 1C students blog or not
Finish my syllabus for 1C
Add the first week documents and assignments to Canvas for my MW 1A and 1C class
Revise my first day slides (at least one is out of order)
Update the index card questions for my 1C class
Prep the index cards with stickers (to put students into groups)
It’s getting to the point where if I don’t post, I never will, so. A post!
1. Today is the one-year anniversary of my move to California. No regrets so far.
2. Okay, so here is a weird thing that has happened to me. My alarm is set to go off every weekday at 7 a.m. and is set to play “Order My Steps” by the GMWA Women of Worship.
However, around 5:30 or so each morning, I kept thinking I heard my alarm go off. I would check my phone, nothing. So I decided it was just the fan making a whistling sound and/or my circadian rhythm taunting me with my normal (i.e., during the school year) wake up time.
I have a regularly scheduled appointment on Saturdays from 10-11:30 a.m., which is fine, but after that, instead of going straight home, I decided to run some errands which both ate into my reading time (though I did listen to an audiobook in the car) and also exhausted me, which led to me falling asleep for the last three hours of the read-a-thon when I intended to take a 10-minute nap.
I’ve finished a couple of books these past two weeks (more on that below), but the one that’s had the most impact so far is Syllabus: Notes from an Accidental Professorby Lynda Barry. In fact, the book has inspired two activities I did in my class the past two weeks.
Activity 1: We’re working on poetry and some of my students submitted their pieces for feedback. I found myself making the same comment over and over (needs more imagery!), so inspired by Syllabus and “Variations on a Summer Day” by Wallace Stevens (snippet here), I came up with the following activity.