Sunday, August 19, 2007

Fall Semester, 2007

Another fall semester has descended upon me, and I am officially beginning my countdown to graduation. And while graduation won’t actually be until December 2008, I am just making sure that all my ducks are in a row and that everything will go according to plan. As I wind down to that anticipated date, most of my studies will be in my major, English, as I have planned it that way. But, I still have a couple of classes to fulfill some of my core requirements, one of which is Spanish. Then there’s Astronomy…a science for English majors... (clearing my throat).

As usual, I am looking forward to the literature classes, because I get read fiction and/or novels that I’ve always wanted to read but never got around to it. In British Literature II, I’ll be reading Wuthering Heights by Emily Bronte and Mrs. Dalloway by Virginia Woolf. I’m also taking the course, Women and Literature, which promises to be an intriguing and diverse mixture of American, Modernist/Post Modernist women writers. I’ve already begun reading Bastard Out of Carolina by Dorothy Allison, about growing up poor in South Carolina. This story has already plucked familiar emotional strings from my own childhood and is now very hard to put down. In addition to Allison there’s Tony Morrison’s Bluest Eye, which I’ve read before, but this will be a great time to read it again. Along with a Katherine Ann Porter reader there’ll be Sweat by Zora Neale Hurston, The Yellow Wallpaper by Charlotte Perkins Gillman (two short stories), and Coming of Age in Mississippi by Anne Moody.

Actually, it seems that all of my reading will be women authors.This much reading in the next four months will be grueling, but I have done it before, and ingesting so many satisfying narratives leaves me feeling, hmmm, spent, content and with a sense of accomplishment.

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Saturday, August 18, 2007

Experience, Imagination, Passion

While I’m still not convinced that someone can be taught to be a great or even a good writer, I believe that anyone with a talent for creating stories can learn to do it better. Grammar and writing skills can be taught, and I think it is safe to say that Formalism has its place. But, I think it takes more than knowing where to put your commas to create good literature. And, it is for these reasons that I choose to earn a literary degree rather than a creative writing degree. But, in the midst of my literary studies, I opted this semester to take the course, Advanced Prose. This will, I hope give me an opportunity to work on some of my own projects, processes and provide a little academic relief from the other four classes that I will be taking. I’m a little nervous though, because the professor is a French chick with a couple of poetry books under her belt. (A poet teaching prose, hmmm?) But, hey, she has a Ph.D., so I’m gonna take my chances.

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