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Wednesday, September 24, 2014

Dragging...

I am so grateful we have tomorrow off. Even though I have to take care of some life maintenance, just the fact that I don't have to teach is a blessing: I am looking forward with keen anticipation to four mornings in a row with no alarm clock. Bliss.

I am also fighting off a bit of panic, having to do with how I'll make time to mark all the 101 papers next week. I don't have a Thursday meeting, mercifully, and I will probably bail on Advisement--but I still have a meeting I must go to on Wednesday afternoon, plus the Fiction Writing class, so a fair-sized chunk of Wednesday afternoon must be subtracted from the number of hours I'll have in which to read and evaluate the papers. Fortunately, there aren't that many students--and my strong hunch is that a certain percentage will not have papers for me next week. That worries me, of course: some of them are digging themselves into pretty deep holes. But if I'm entirely selfish, the fewer papers I get, the easier it is for me to get them marked.

(Apropos of nothing: I just saw a little button at the bottom of the page I'm on. It just says, "Complain." I think every web page needs that little button.)

As for getting ready for today's class, even with my sleep-deprived mind unable to get fully in gear, I was able to focus just well enough to get all the stories read and commented upon--and still had time for a nice, leisurely lunch. I didn't see many students in Advisement (two, I think?), and although I also was noodling around with e-mails and other distractions, I still got everything read. Of course, if I were being a strict task-master, I'd have spent some of that time marking stuff for 101, or getting some committee work done, or something--but instead, I spent a lovely 20 minutes reading Bill Bryson's latest offering, One Summer. It's not as riotously funny as he can be, but I actually like it better than some of his funnier works: it's still highly entertaining but without the feeling that he's straining for laughs.

 Class was great: I really love the workshop process, and next time I teach Fiction Writing, I think we're going to do even more of it. I have more exercises this semester than I did last time, so slightly less reading, but I think I can do even less reading, and squeeze at least one more story into the semester. Maybe. It would be good to try. But all the students are giving relatively intelligent feedback. The Pseudo-Brit is more than a little pompous and full of himself: he thinks he already knows all there is to know about writing, so he's very free to offer students suggestions for exercises they should try. I haven't shut him down about it--and I'm not sure I will: I think the other students have pretty good BS detectors, and I hope they can filter out the useful bits of what he says from the bloviation. Generally, though, I very much like the way they offer each other suggestions, give feedback: they have picked up the process very quickly and are sailing with it. Good for them.

I'm already thinking about what to do with them next week, too. Wednesday their revised stories are due, so they won't have done any reading--and depending on how I'm doing with the paper grading for the 101s, I hate to say it, but I may just collect their revisions, talk for a little bit about how the revision process felt, and then turn them loose so I can stagger back here and do more grading.

We'll see.

Because I don't have to be back here tomorrow--and because the only student work I have to deal with on Monday isn't needed until Tuesday (nothing I need to return to the Fiction students, only assignments for the 101s)--I think I'm going to leave the office in a rather chaotic mess and get out of here. If I feel a wild desire to, oh, work on my promotion application over the weekend, I can always come here and get Public Safety to open the building for me. Otherwise, everything can simply wait until next week. So, I'm going to take the internal quivering chipmunk home and try to calm it down, use the next four days to try to rest, relax, sleep. (Oh, sleep. Heavenly sleep!)

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