Tuesday, April 28, 2015

Pen-Pals

I think I'll sneak in a blog entry while my students are working on their papers in the library. Don't call me lazy--these kids have full-time jobs and are trying to attend college. At this point in the semester it makes way more sense for me to give them class time to work on their papers rather than to lecture at them while they don't listen. Plus, this way they can't use the excuse that they started their papers the night before--not that such a confession would make me more lenient in my grading.

It's a busy time of the semester. Next year my classes are all essentially the equivalent of independent study, which means I need to track down all my professors and have them sign many forms in order to register. It's all terribly exciting.

One thing I'm legitimately excited about is my summer travels. I signed my rental agreement the other day, and I've turned in all the necessary forms to the International Programs Office. Since I have to write a translation next year, I've been hoping that I might be able to contact some of the creative writing graduate students at Université de Toulouse II-Jean Jaurès and translate something they've written. Last week I contacted a professor at the university, and I wasn't necessarily expecting a reply right away. However, she promptly forwarded my message to the current students and alumni, and now I have so many students interested in my project that I'm not sure how to choose! Not to mention that they've all written to me in French, so I'm getting a lot of practice composing in the language. It takes me such a long time to write an email in French, but I suppose it's better than actually speaking. I can read French well, but speaking I'm a mess. I'm hoping I'll improve quickly, though, when I reach France and am thrown into the fray.

I don't mean to complain--I'm thrilled that so many of the students want to work with me. Ideally I can hang out with some of them in Toulouse as well, since I won't really know anyone else there.

What else have I been up to? I've been teaching a flash fiction workshop at The Writer's Block with Becky B.; our last session is tomorrow. Our pupils are 12-14 years old, which is an odd range. It's amazing how different 12-year-olds are from 14-year-olds, in terms of both maturity and language skills. They all want to write about psychosis and death and drugs, and they all want to curse, and it's kind of adorable. Part of me wishes I hadn't agreed to teach it so near to the end of the semester; it's making me feel a bit harried, like I'm not teaching the class to the best of my abilities. If I were to do it again, I'd insist on four class sessions instead of three, so that during the third session we could workshop the stories and point out things they're doing well. Tomorrow they're doing a reading for their friends and family, which should be fun.

Last Friday was the final Neon Lit of the semester, and this Friday we're karaokeing at good ol' Pioneer Saloon. Saturday there's a rather historic, rather expensive boxing match about a mile from my apartment--but nobody cares, because LETA IS COMING TO VISIT! I can't wait.

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