Ah, stuff and the Art of Fiction

So I’ve been feeling crafty lately, to put it mildly. But I currently can’t post any pictures of my work because certain people might see certain baby shower gifts 🙂

But I have been busy in other areas of my life. This week ends the three weeks of constant grading, which is a beautiful thing–the end, that is. As soon as I’m done grading 108 Proposals, I will start planning a new course I’m teaching in the spring term–WR 222: English Composition (emphasis on Argumentation). I’m looking forward to the new material but not to planning a new course while teaching 108 students. And I only have one week off between terms this time (instead of a month between Fall and Winter terms), so that makes it challenging motivation- and time-wise. Plus, I’m going to have to build back up my confidence in argumentation, especially in regards to Toulmin and warrants and all of that. It was never my strongest point when teaching WR 121, and I haven’t taught WR 121 since Fall 2007. So it should be a nice stretching experience.

Next Wednesday, I head to Chicago for the AWP (Association of Writers & Writing Programs) conference through Sunday! I’m excited about going to Chicago for the second time and getting to soak in the overwhelmingness of all the literati and fancy writing folk and all the seminars and readings and the fabulous bookfair. I do get to stay with my friend Lauren, which I’m looking foward to. Oh, plus flying to Chicago and back will give me plenty of uninterrupted knitting time 🙂

Also, I’ve somehow managed to get to this point in my writing career (yes, I realize I’m only 25) without having read John Gardner’s The Art of Fiction. So I’m reading it and am almost done. It’s fabulous and overwhelming and reminds me how little I actually know about the technical aspect of writing and how negligent I’ve become about spending time in revision laboring of word choice and rhythm and syntactical emphasis (e.g. shifting information from the dependent clause to the independent clause to adjust emphasis; “On the way to school, I wrecked my bike” versus “As I wrecked my bike, I was on the way to school.”).

At the same time, I’m reading The Well-Crafted Sentence by Nora Bacon, which is technically a little textbook/handbook for undergraduate writers of any genre. It’s dovetailing nicely with Gardner and is helping restore my confidence in talking about what my sentences are doing and why. But it also makes me realize how little my writing students understand about style and how it’s impossible for me to ever get them to understand the important of understanding how a sentence works and how once they know, it will make revising their writing in the business context or otherwise, so much easier. It’s like how, in knitting, knowing the different stitches and why and when they’re often used makes it so much easier to understand why my scarf looks the way it does.

(Note: right now, all of this reading about writing is basically a surrogate for any writing on my part. I’ve been revising a few stories, but have yet to start a new story in the last two months. Maybe I’ll write about knitting, while knitting, as I watch a YouTube video about knitting in the round.)

I’m in sort of a funky mood and will now go back to being crafty, but not with knitting.


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