Monday, August 18, 2008

Writing

I used to write in a journal on a regular basis. I filled one notebook every year, like clockwork.
Then, something changed. I gave up trying to write while dealing with whatever else was on my mind. I slipped to writing less than once a month, then once every six or seven months. Now, I've let a year pass without a single journal entry.

Why? Because I hate where I live. I hate everything about it. You'd think I could write about that. I'm able to write online, or in e-mails, but to actually construct a decent reflection is beyond me right now. Plus, the writing is downstairs and I hate our basement.

I should be ten times more productive than I have been in the last decade. Things have fallen apart, and I know it.

I need some sort of encouragement. Not sure what that would be. Writers, like any composers, need an audience. I even miss the bad poetry of local cafes.

Writing might be solitary, but it is seldom completely for the self. It needs an audience.

Tuesday, August 12, 2008

Preparations for 2008-09

I have been preparing for the upcoming year, during which I should take (and ideally pass) my doctoral exams. Teaching, thankfully, requires less and less preparation when you teach the same core year after year.

This is not to suggest that a course does not evolve and improve. Indeed, despite generally positive feedback from both my student evaluations and my faculty adviser, I recognize there are some things to add to my course. For each topic I add, I need to reduce or cut another topic. The fine-tuning never ends.
I always intend to record more of my experiences and thoughts than I do. But, I do at least internalize the lessons I learn and implement them.

This year the Dept. of Writing Studies seems much, much more organized. I have a clear sense of the goals of the department, the emerging philosophy, and how I might fit (or not) within the program. This is a great improvement, but I also understand that the last two years have been tumultuous for the faculty.

As a result of things being more settled, there is a common syllabus template. There is an emerging Intranet, as well. All of these things allow instructors, from full-time faculty to teaching assistants, more time to help students. When you spend less time preparing, you can  spend more time teaching and facilitating projects.

Much of my Web content is online and I hope my course is about 80 percent established. That's a good thing when I have a less than a month to work on any other projects.