Monday, March 31, 2008
I also found out that my thesis defense will be next Thursday at 9 (ack) AM.
Another rejection in, this one from Aberrant Dreams about "Stone Mountain." That's okay; it frees up the story for me to send in to the Writers of the Future contest, cause that's my best shot right now.
Also, I discussed our unsure-of-our-lease-ness with our landlady, who says that it's fine, just let her know when we know. So there's another load off.
And doesn't this kitty look happy? I can't wait until I can have a kitty again.
Wednesday, March 26, 2008
School No. 2 has me in a pretty much constant state of near-hyperventilation that gets worse with every passing day. Dr. S tells me that the longer they hang on to my application without making a decision, the more likely it is that they'll accept me. I surely hope that's true, but our landpeople want to know if we're renewing our lease by April 1. That's next Tuesday. That's really soon. I'm hoping they'll be understanding about our not-sure-yet-ness, but our landpeople aren't known for their compassion. Or understanding. Or ability to keep up a building despite rising rent prices.
At least my comps are over. I think. Still no grades reported, which I'm hoping means that one teacher I was fussing about doesn't want a rewrite. Thesis defense is next Thursday or Friday. Then I'm down to homework for a single class. Then I'm done. Thank God.
But that thought brings me back around to School No. 2--what am I going to DO once I'm done?
Gah. Hyperventilating again.
Sunday, March 23, 2008
Saturday, March 22, 2008
Back to work.
Friday, March 21, 2008
One of the preoccupying questions during the late eighteenth and early nineteenth centuries was the function of literature, specifically of poetry, and of the literary artist (esp. the Poet). In exploring this question, all of the major Romantic poets—Blake, Coleridge, Wordsworth, Byron, Shelley, and Keats—wrote works of fantasy. Keats wrote of the cruel and elfin "La Belle Dame sans Merci," as well as of the gorgon like "
In a concise and specific essay, explain the connection between the Romantics (their concerns, approaches, philosophies, etc.) and the rise of fantasy fiction. What did the Romantics see in Gothic fantasy? What questions did it allow them to explore (consider the socio-cultural and political as well as the literary)? You might specifically address the connection to folk traditions, importance of the imagination in Romantic philosophy and/or aesthetics, the role of pantheism, the image of the wise child, the notion of the visionary, and/or notions of the sublime. Make sure that you demonstrate an intimate knowledge of the ideas and works of at least one Romantic poet discussed in class and a passing knowledge of at least two other writers (for example, you might focus on what Coleridge has to say about the imagination, and how he plays with that in his poems, and then use Wordsworth and Blake as contrasting points).
Have fun with this! I look forward to reading your piece!
"Fun" she says. Ha! This is the one I dread the most and hence the one I've set aside the most time for.
Certain stories are told anew generation after generation, adapted to suit the needs of an audience often many times removed from the original listeners or readers. Beowulf is one such narrative. The consensus among scholars is that the poem was redacted by a Christian author (or authors) out of pagan narratives composed orally long before the poem was written down in the manuscript that has come down to us. Since then, elements of the poem have been recast in prose (e.g., John Gardner’s Grendel), film (Beowulf and Grendel  and Beowulf , poetry (Neil Gaiman’s “Bay Wolf” in Smoke and Mirrors ), as well as in television; music, opera and theater; comics and graphic novels; and computer games.* The poem has also been picked over, as J.R.R. Tolkien has demonstrated in “Beowulf: The Monsters and the Critics,” as a historical source, but it was Tolkien’s intent in that essay to remind readers of the poem’s enduring literary worth.
Focusing on the notion of enduring literary worth, demonstrate how the Christian author of the Old English poem adapted his source material so that the poem transcended the particulars of its pagan origin and ‘spoke to’ its Christian audience. Then select one modern adaptation of the narrative, either one of those mentioned above or any one of your choice (see below), and demonstrate how the author of that adaptation likewise transcended the particulars of his/her source material in order to speak to a contemporary audience. Address the following in your answer: (1) specific changes made by the author (such as additions, deletions, re-orderings of events, re-attributions of dialogue or action); (2) any resulting shifts in emphasis or toward themes more appropriate for a given audience; and (3) the preservation of others themes in spite of, or perhaps even because of, specific changes. For the latter, consider that the changes addressed under (1) may have the effect of preserving enduring thematic elements at the expense of sacrificing details that are no longer meaningful to a contemporary audience.This one shouldn't be too bad. I'm actually kind of looking forward to working on it.
Question 3 (the one I'm doing now):
This question has three parts.
It is a familiar truism that all stories must always present some problem to be solved, some conflict in need of resolution—be it ever so humble, so apparently trivial. Conflict, the question which requires the story to answer it, is what generates the energy to ascend the rising slope of the triangle, toward the peak where the conflict will be, for better or worse, resolved; on the descending slope, the byproducts of the climactic fission or fusion settle back toward a (temporarily) steady state. This, by some standards, is the very definition of what a story is; all narratives must share these qualities. There are probably just enough exceptions to this rule around to prove it.
Still, it would be difficult to think of (or write) a story in which no problem or conflict whatsoever arose at any point. At this moment, I can think of no example. The point is that all stories do bear some relationship to the structure of rising and falling action that the triangle is intended to graph. Suffice it to say that we do still expect some pattern of conflict and resolution from our narratives. To write a story with no vestige of these would be virtually impossible. (28-29)2) After you have come to terms with what Bell has said about the importance of conflict, I would like for you to construct your own theory of narrative design. If you’ll remember,
3) When you’ve formulated your own theory of narrative design, I’d like to see you apply it to your own writing, by using two or three stories of your own as examples of your narrative design. To save time, you can merge your answer to part 3 with your discussion in part 2.
This one isn't too bad, either. Like I said, I'm almost halfway done and I'm only two hours (two and a half, now, since I had to wrestle with the font things to paste these questions into here and I still can't get them to look exactly like I want) into the process.
Back to work.
Thursday, March 20, 2008
Panic? Not me. (I'm lying. I'm completely freaked out. Between this and the MFA program still not making a decision, I'm on the edge of hyperventilating pretty much every second.)
Other than that, I'm reworking "The Truthsayer" and considering which of my stories to send to the Writers of the Future contest first. And trying not to feel like a hypocrite because I completely despise Scientology and here I am sending a story in to the L. Ron Hubbard Writers of the Future Contest.
Ah, well. Published is published.
Wednesday, March 19, 2008
Still waiting on School No. 2. Waiting on the edge of panic pretty much constantly. It's not fun.
Saturday, March 15, 2008
The restaurant we chose, which shall remain nameless, serves alcohol, so W.E. had to open carry his pistol (in this state, it's legal to open carry a pistol without a license, but even with a CCW, you have to carry openly anyplace that serves alcohol and you're not allowed to drink). We got a few odd looks on the way in, which is normal, but then came the waitstaff's conference back near the kitchen. Apparently, the waitress assigned to our table refused to wait on us, so the manager assigned another waiter to do so. The poor kid was all wide-eyed when he came over, and excruciatingly polite. We made sure to be very polite back, and he seemed to relax. He didn't avoid our table, but came by to replace drinks and make sure "everything's okay" every few minutes, just like everyone else was doing for every other table around us. We left him a big tip.
It's annoying because--what do they think we're going to do? Flip out because our drinks aren't full and start shooting up the place? I mean, really. At least the manager didn't kick us out, as some managers are known to do. I wanted to tell someone, hey, guess what: crazy shooter people don't usually wear $100 holsters that closely resemble police holsters.
Then we came home and watched movies until nearly 3 AM. Then I took some NyQuil and slept a lot, and I feel better now.
Tuesday, March 11, 2008
No response yet from the agents I've queried. Still working on that short story, and contemplating another. It's nice to be writing again. Creatively. Not academically.
Saturday, March 08, 2008
I'm brainstorming yet another story which could be really cool if I can pull it off--a literal interpretation of Sleeping Beauty. In my Medieval Dream Visions class we were talking about metaphor and how the whole fairy tale is a metaphor for the loss of virginity, and I thought it might be interesting to write it that way. I haven't had time to really think about it until now though, but now it's Spring Break and I have lots of time on my hands. Acres of time in which I could plant crops.
Fingers are still crossed for the MFA program. I hope I get in; I don't want to feel like a complete failure, and I'm afraid that if I take a year off of school, it will be impossible to get back in, though I know a lot of people end up having to take breaks in between their Master's and Doctorate for the same reason I might have to. If that's the case, though, next year I plan to apply to EVERY SINGLE school in a 100 mile radius . . . just to be sure.
Friday, March 07, 2008
Thursday, March 06, 2008
Pardon me while I have a minor freak-out. Not getting accepted to School No. 1 kind of shook up my confidence, though Dr. S, my favoritest creative-writing teacher (and thesis adviser) told me that School No. 1 has a major chip on its shoulder and I wouldn't like it there anyway, and School No. 2 would be insane to turn me down. And that the longer it takes for them to make a decision, the more likely I've been accepted. Let's hope that's true.
Okay, hyperventilating now.
Saturday, March 01, 2008
My first draft of thesis Chapter 3 is done. Now I have a LOT of revising to do on Chapter 2 (I think my advisor's trying to make more work for me cause I'm ahead of schedule :P) and I have to write my introduction and conclusion. There's a few cosmetic things I need to do as well--such as finding a cute introductory quote to Chapter 3 (which is all about Buffy, so I'm thinking of using the "Into each generation" thing). As it stands (with 3 chapters, no intro, no conclusion) the paper is 64 pages long. Goal met!
German test is Monday. I think I'm as prepped as I can get.
The other college I applied to is STILL reviewing applications, so I still don't know what's up with that.