Tuesday, October 15, 2013

The Blog That Writes Itself

Or at least this would be the blog that writes itself, assuming I could find the time to transcribe everything. It's an unusually hectic week; our students turned in their second writing projects, so we had to grade all those, and then they took their midterms, so we have to grade all those, and the university demands that we officially submit their midterm grades by Friday. Bureaucracy sucks.

Friday night Michael and I launched The Salted Lash at Atomic Liquors. It was a fun event, hosted by the Writers of Southern Nevada. We sold a few zines, and we got to talk to lots of local authors who are fairly commercially successful. I'm excited about the future. We're gonna make business cards.

After that we proceeded to run into two tourists from Ireland because of course we did. Why wouldn't we? This is the ridiculous life of an MFA student, after all. They joined us as we partied it up at a few bars in the downtown area.

Saturday was full of procrastinating and grading and more procrastinating. Sunday I got sick. It's been going around. I called in to the writing center and I watched something like twelve episodes of 30 Rock. I also managed to grade eight student essays because I am made of magic.

Monday I gave my first midterm, which was a rather relaxing experience, actually. I didn't have to plan a lecture, so I read for fiction workshop the whole time they took their test. I had them apply the various aspects of rhetorical situation and stasis theory to Jonathan Swift's "A Modest Proposal," so I'm almost looking forward to grading some amusing essays tomorrow.

Today was busy, and I've been so sleep deprived that I thought I was actually going to faint at one point. (I'm going to bed directly after finishing this blog entry.) In the writing center I encountered one English major who had somehow managed to never analyze a poem. That was unexpected, to say the least. In Gothic Fiction class I led discussion on Charlotte Perkins Gilman's "The Yellow Wallpaper," which, if you haven't read it, is essentially the most horrifying story ever written. I highly recommend you take the time to look it over. People seemed to have a lot to say, so I think that went relatively well. Although it's difficult to imagine it not going well simply because the story itself has so much depth. I could have talked about a million issues; it was difficult narrowing it down to three.

This evening, dear readers, was spectacular. The Black Mountain Institute brought George Saunders to speak. Yes, that George Saunders. The guy who, according to The New York Times, wrote the best book of 2013--in January. It turns out that one of our professors, Doug Unger, was Saunders' fiction professor at Syracuse, and that another of our professors, Maile Chapman, was Saunders' fiction student at Syracuse. So they all chatted together, and what a lovely and insightful discussion it was. He even signed a book for me. (I'm relatively certain it says, "with best wishes," but it kind of looks like "with best wife," which cracks me up.)

This is why MFA programs are cool. I mean, they'd be cool anyway. But to get to talk about craft with someone like George Saunders--that's priceless.

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