Sorry that I haven't updated recently. I try to write at least twice a week, but it didn't happen this week because I've been positively swamped. Grading is so incredibly time consuming. Even if you don't spend more than 15 minutes on a paper, there are still 24 of them to get through. They tell us that teaching shouldn't be our top priority, that we need to focus on our own work. While I agree with them, I can't bring myself not to care at all. These kids are here to learn to write. I have to try to teach them that to the best of my ability. They deserve at least semi-detailed feedback. All I know is that I'll be happy to never hear about Gary Gutting's "What is College For?" ever again. Ever.
There have also been lots of events this week. On Tuesday the Black Mountain Institute hosted a reading by Richard Wiley, one of my fiction professors. He recently released a new novel, The Book of Important Moments. It was interesting to hear his writing--I've never read his work before. I'm inclined to read the whole thing whenever I have free time again. So I guess three years from now. More exciting than the reading, however, was the BMI's big announcement: an incredibly wealthy donor has just pledged us (put on your Doctor Evil voice) ten million dollars. He stipulated that the money has to go directly to the writing programs as well instead of construction or anything like that. It's wonderful news. I'm hoping that they'll eventually fund the study abroad component of our program, but I imagine that we probably won't see the direct effects of the money for a while. These things take time.
I don't know if I mentioned this, but my friend Michael started a zine called The Salted Lash back in San Francisco, and he wants to continue it here. He has kindly taken me on as his "intern"--I figure it'll look good on a resume when I try to get publishing internships this summer. Anyway, that's how I found myself at the Freakin' Frog on a Thursday afternoon drinking beer and stapling copies for the second print run of his first issue. We had a mild problem finding a stapler of the correct size ("we need a 'deep ass' stapler!"), but Office Depot came through. I'm going to try to write something for the second issue.
Friday was the first Neon Lit of the 2013-2014 school year. Neon Lit is the reading organized by our MFA program at the Trifecta Gallery in the arts district. It was really nice. The space was phenomenally cool, and the readings were fantastic. There were some first year readers--Kayla and both Shauns--and we heard more poetry and fiction from second and third year students as well. Afterwards we went back to Casa de Brittany-Shaun-Jean-Austin for drinks and conversation (and several rounds of fuck-marry-kill). I had a lovely time. I'm hoping to read at the November Neon Lit. I can't make it in October--I'll be traveling for Nevada Day. More on that later.
Last night Olivia and I desperately needed a girls' night, so we grabbed Indian food and then went to the movies. I hadn't seen a movie in theaters probably since June or July, so I was quite happy to go. And being Vegas, the theater was, of course, inside a casino. We went to see Austenland. It was just perfect--a stupid romantic comedy that didn't take itself too seriously. Helped take my mind off everything else I have going on. I'd recommend it if you're into that sort of thing.
And that's about all for now. More grading and reading and whatnot tonight. I hope those of you who are emotionally invested in Breaking Bad manage to recover before work tomorrow. Just one more week until LETA COMES TO VISIT ME. I'm just a little foaming-at-the-mouth excited. Can you tell?