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Monday, November 25, 2013

Can't change those gears...

It's still early enough that I feel I ought to try to knock a few more things off the to-do list, but on the ta-dah! list is the fact that I finally got the last last final changes to the damned sabbatical application done, all the appropriate pages are signed, and tomorrow, when Bruce's assistant is back in the office, I'll submit it to P&B (those of us who aren't recused because we're all applying for sabbaticals)--and then I don't have to think about it again, please God, until we find out whether sabbaticals are being awarded and if so, who got them. That will be in March or April, if things go as usual.

As I was working on it, I did have a very brief but full-blown hissy fit, when I realized that I didn't have the latest version of the publisher's proposal on this computer and had left my thumb drive at home. Thank god I'd printed it out from home yesterday, so I could copy-edit/proofread, and I had the printout with me, so I simply typed in the corrections/additions from the last two or three go-rounds, and of course I made further changes as I did. For the actual getting it published part, there's more for me to do--but for the sabbatical application, I'm stick-a-fork-in-me done.

That was after class. Between Advisement and class, I got the short stories commented, with enough time to eat lunch--but the to-do list just grew by a couple of other tasks that I remembered this weekend. (Oh, shit! Oh, Shit!!) We'll see what I can crank through tomorrow.

I also made a tactical error today in Advisement. I had 15 minutes left of my scheduled time, and I thought, "What the hell: I can see one more student." I should know better by now. That student was confused, needed to have things explained several different ways, needed a lot of hand-holding--and took almost 30 minutes. I was later getting back to the office than usual. No harm, no foul, as it happens, but there are days when those 15 minutes might have made the difference between "I'm ready for class" and "OK, what's plan B?"

Judy Blue Eyes also came to my office hour today. (Once again, I'd forgoten to open the door, but this time, she knocked.) Sometimes she just sits and stares at me, obviously wanting something (rescue?)--and usually I don't mind working a little to get her to talk about whatever is going on, but today, I had things to do. I reviewed what she's missing, what I suggest she do to finish the semester--and told her she'd probably get a D (and that it might be a "mercy" D). She was not happy with that, but although it feels like failure to her, it is not, in fact, a failing grade, as I pointed out--and right now, it's the best she can do. It's not her best ever, and eventually she'll be able to do her real best again. But right now that's the best she can do--and it accomplishes her goal of not withdrawing. I don't want to be harsh with her, but I also don't want any big surprises at the end of the semester because I've been too gentle. She needs to know where she really stands. After I was sure she was clear on that, I said, "Normally, I'd love to chat with you but..." and she finished the sentence for me: "...you have work to do." She left, and I went back to the work.

She did report that she and a few of the other students in the class are signing up for Nature in Lit, and getting their friends and boyfriends to sign up as well. Two of the students from the Fiction Writing class also said they were thinking about it--but I'm not holding my breath on those. Four students are officially registered, three of them from the Mystery class--one unknown to me (though her name looks very familiar). It's early days yet, but fingers and toes are still going to be crossed until the class actually runs.

The Fiction class was fine: we workshopped, and it was the usual. If I ever teach the class again, I want to give students instructions about how to start their critiques so we don't hear twelve iterations of "I liked your story; I thought it was good." The Real Writer is, of course, better in the lead-off to his critiques, as he has real feedback to provide. Calyx was there (sigh of relief when I heard from her yesterday; she'd been in a fender-bender last week but is OK). She was obviously exhausted and hadn't read the stories for today's workshop, but we did workshop her story, and she perked up for that. Edison Adams was absent again today. I hope he's OK.

And I really have nothing else to report. I told Paul earlier that these days, I can think about one thing at a time. I was working on the sabbatical application, and he asked me how everything else is going. At that red hot moment, I had no idea. I assumed it was all fine (and indeed it is), but I couldn't haul my brains up out of the sabbatical thing to even remember what else is going on, good, bad or indifferent.

I will, therefore, leave you with some of the student bloopers I've collected over the last month. I just posted them to Facebook, too, so those of you who also follow my Facebook posts, I apologize for the repetition. For the rest of you, let the hilarity begin:

Describing the sleuth in a Nevada Barr mystery: "She falls off a cliff and summits to the bottom."

Talking about an ambitious character in The Left Hand of Darkness: "He may be next in the air to be king."

A student describing the character she's creating in the Fiction Writing class: "He has a scar because in battle a grandad went off next to him." (Man, those old fogies are dangerous!)

Same student, describing the same character, who is a police officer: "He don't spend time with anyone besides his squid."

Another student in the Fiction class, wrote that her character's mother had "won the Most Pristine Woman of the Year award." To hell with the Nobel Prize: that's the award I want on my shelf.

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