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Monday, December 16, 2013

Bouncing it out the door....

The Fiction Writing class ended extremely early today--no real surprise there, as I simply needed to collect the final revisions of their "portfolio" stories, ask them to consider what they got out of the semester--and then let them go. I was very touched that Edison Adams waited around until everyone was gone to thank me. He's going to NYU next semester (impressive), to study philosophy and literature. He'll do great. Calyx said she'll see me in the spring (hooray!). The Real Writer gave a nice goodbye, as did a few other students. Five of them want their stories back with comments. As it happens, I'll be at a doctor's appointment when our class would meet, so I'll leave those stories on the office door for them to pick up.

I still have some marking to do for tomorrow's classes, returning everything I have in hand so all I have after tomorrow's classes are the final papers. If I remember (I'm checking with William to be sure), we don't have P&B tomorrow. And (I'm such a bad girl), I used the Wednesday doctor's appointment as an excuse to bail on Advisement. That gives me a couple of good, long chunks of time in which to churn out the final grades.

I haven't checked the triage list in a while--I'm sort of afraid to, for fear I'll see something that absolutely must be done before Thursday evening--but two things hit my desk today and I lobbed them back out again after only one bounce: Calyx gave me the address for a letter of recommendation, the one school that has a tight deadline (that hit the desk, and I lobbed it into the mail); and those of us with reassigned time got a "request" for a report on what we've been doing, so I quickly cranked out that report (that hit the desk and got smacked right back out). I sent off the material to be photocopied for 102 readers (yay)--and miraculously, over the weekend, I did a fair amount of work getting Nature in Lit set up: syllabus, reconfigured first paper assignment, that sort of thing. The enrollment count as of five minutes ago: ten. That's not bad at all for this point, so I'm feeling not exactly confident but not quite so panicky as usual. I also have the dates for 102 assignments figured out for spring; I just need to meld the spring dates with this semester's assignments, as the configuration will be the same. I don't have the specific assignments for Left Hand of Darkness parceled out yet, but that's easy enough to do--and with any luck at all, I'll be able to get that done, plus a few more "start of semester" handouts and send it all off to the copy center before the break. That would be cause for celebration indeed.

Back to the semester wrap-up with the students in Fiction Writing: I got a lot of very helpful feedback that I want to implement should I ever be lucky enough to teach the class again. And everyone learned something, even if all the utter lunk learned is that writing stories is hard. I don't know if any real friendships were formed among the students, but at least the good writers know each other now--and I hope that they all send a story in to the student literary magazine; I think they've all got a good shot at getting accepted.

I actually thought I'd be out of here almost the minute I left those students and came back to this room. In fact, I started this post intending to write it and be out of here--but then I ended up spending some time noodling around with Nature in Lit: just before class, I'd done a little research, found another article that talks about the Le Guin novella we read at the end of the course (my own article that includes discussion of the novella used to be the only one I knew of to address it). So I read the article (very interesting) and adjusted a handout. Then I thought, "Oh, wait: I'll do the letter of recommendation," and when I went downstairs to get letterhead on which to print it, I saw the request for the reassigned time report: "OK, that too: get it out of here so I don't have to think about it again." But now it truly is time to get my tired, hungry little self home. If I set the alarm at all for tomorrow, it won't be for six. That in itself will be unbelievable decadence.

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