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Friday, May 8, 2015


I'm not quite sure how to categorize today. I got a relatively early start, which was nice, but after a few hours of work realized I'd left the computer charger at home--and the battery was running dry, so I had to pack up and come home. I almost took a nap instead of getting back to work, but I did manage to make myself finish combing through the glossary--and am glad I did, as I found one howling error that would have been embarrassing as hell. I sent the corrected thing to Ursula--and I contacted my former wonder-student (he of the NCC-Columbia-Oxford trajectory) to ask if he'd be willing to take a look at the materials I've put together. He was in my 102 whenever it was that he was my student (I lose track of years), so he read the novel--and he was certainly much better prepared (and is much more intelligent) than the average, run-of-the-mill NCC student, so he's the kind of student I fear might be put off by the material as too simplistic. I don't know if he'll have time or inclination to look at what I've got, but if he does, his feedback will be very helpful. I've considered whether to also ask the student who contacted me a while back for some advice about her next steps, academically: she also was in my 102 (and Nature in Lit, and Fiction Writing), smart, hard working, so potentially also a good barometer for the effectiveness of my approach. I hesitate only because I know she has a lot on her plate--and because she's quiet and shy enough that she might be reticent about giving me the kind of in-depth critique I'm looking for.

So, well, I'm still thinking about that part.

And I am aware that, after today, it will be a lot harder to find big chunks of time and mental space in which to do the last bits of this project--but, even though it's early, I somehow don't think I'll get anything useful accomplished with what's left of the day. Too bad, but there it is.

I expect I will post to the blog next week, when I'm on campus: as I've mentioned in previous posts, I'll take advantage of the time I have after Bruce has packed it in for the day to go up to my office, clear out files, start getting things organized for fall. Still no students in the MDC class--but my guess is that they'll register late: I'll probably end up with a bunch of students who are taking anything they can that bears credit because their choices are limited by their placement in remedial courses. Imagine my delight: working with students who can't read or write. Ah well. But that certainly means I'm not beating myself up to come up with a syllabus. If I end up having to toss something together in August, good enough.

I did place my book orders for 101 and Mystery and Detective--even though I'm not sure what I'll end up teaching, given possible developments on the reassigned time front. However, we got a little "ahem" sort of e-mail from the campus bookstore, saying they can't buy books back from students if they don't know what books professors are going to be using. OK: books ordered. I can always let the bookstore know later that X-and-such section is no longer being taught by yours truly.

I think that's about it for today. Yet another wildly scintillating post. But I leave you with the quotation of the day:

"...he had also been grimly working his way through the world's classics. Fiction had never been Jackson's thing. Facts seemed challenging enough without making stuff up. What he discovered was that the great novels of the world were about three things--death, money and sex. Occasionally a whale."
--Started Early, Took My Dog, by Kate Atkinson

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