February 18th, 2016

(no subject)

I taught yesterday and I met a friend for lunch and I went to the CSFG meeting last night and it was wonderful... except that I inhaled smoke when the wind changed directions unexpectedly. This meant that, while today is not a write-off, the first half of it was spent wrangling symptoms. I've written an article, however, and will do my daytime work in the evening and all will be very well. My goal today was only reading sixteen articles for the novel, and that's still easily achievable.

The first article is on the metaphors used to describe women and how they changed after the Civil War. This is me chasing down the way to use that emblem literature I was playing with, last year. I can't just superimpose my views of it: I have to find a way of understanding how it was seen by at least one person within the culture of the time. If I can't get this understanding, then there will be no cool emblem literature in the novel. I think I can, though, for this article is very helpful. There's a really interesting shift that parallels a recent shift in our culture from women as alluring and dangerous and passive to that plus women as warriors. It's interesting on so many levels. I wonder if there is any other literature on this shift. You are my favourite 17th century historian cmcmck - would you know? (I said I'd ask you questions when the time came...)

CSFG was all about blogging last night. Very few people there knew that I've been a pro blogger, so I sat in the audience and was silent for the most part. A lot of the time the focus was on blogging as a way of selling books - they didn't talk much at all about blogging as a means of developing community, sharing experience, or developing a public identity.

Going backwards in time, class was a hoot. All my students felt impelled to tell me how much fun the exercises were and I had trouble getting the students out of the room "Just a minute more!". We did two exercises only: they took the full two hours. The first was understanding how vocabulary is an aspect of one's idiolect and how defining someone's key words gives you a tool that will help readers see that person on the page. The other exercise was in story-shaping and was basically a parlour-game where each person wrote a sentence. For me, it was a check to see how far they'd come and if anyone had lost ground, for we haven't written longer tales for a while. The results were brilliant and everyone has asked if we can please do some more next week. So we will. A line a person then pass the page on. And then the week after we can move to a paragraph a person, then a page a person and suddenly my students will find that (despite their claims they can't write more than a few lines anymore) that they still have the capacity to write short stories. Confidence is a huge factor in this class, you see. Students may be very highly skilled and not see that they are.