Thursday, January 19, 2006

January, New Semester, Snow

Ron chastised me for not posting, and now that I'm here, blogging, I wonder if there is anything worth blogging about. I feel like my life has been crazed since we can back from Phoenix. There was New Year's, then my stomach hurt so I gave up wheat, soy, oats, anything with gluten. So I feel better, and I've been eating a lot of salad, and some meat. Occasionally I miss bread, but not too much. Yet.
I told my 1010 students that I was going to try to watch a whole season of "American Idol" because I never had before, and I feel like I'm missing out on an important aspect of American culture. So I watched the first show, but it turns out I missed an episode last night, so I'm not doing too well on that score.
But I am writing. Middlebrow and I are trying to write two pages a day and so far (since last Thursday) I'm doing pretty well. I've started a few new essays with my creative writing class and I've written a few pages on "the novel."
I was looking through The English Patient last night because I assigned my students to bring in five epigraphs from different sources. I love this novel and I was looking for epigraphs from sections that I remember loving when I read it. Looking through it I realized that even though it has a coherent narrative, it's not told in a coherent, continuous stream (something I'm having trouble with). And he has many short lyric sections (which I have no problem writing, it's getting them to cohere with the other short sections that stalls me). So I took some inspiration from his structure. Also reading Calvino with my creative writing class. His stories aren't really about anything. I think he just chooses a structure and lets that contain his writing. So two good lessons for me. Also, last year I heard that Nabakov wrote Lolita on little index cards while sitting in his car with the windows rolled up, so he was in a little writing cave. So hey, I can fill an index card! Three good lessons for me in novel writing.
  1. Short lyric sections are okay
  2. Choose a structure and forget about it
  3. Index cards!

I think I'm ready to go on!


Nik said...

Welcome Back to the Blog world. As you know, I can write nothing but short lyric sections. What else is there? I love your lyricism. Let's make a band called Cohesion Sucks.

Anonymous said...

You just identifed the reason I love The English Patient so very much (also In the Skin of a Lion)--that lyric, continuous-yet-discontinuous flow. I actually think the disruptive kinds of novels, however lyric or not, are the most interesting, because they create those leaps for the reader's active construction of the story.

Anonymous said...

by the way, the previous post is me, Lisa B.--for some reason, I couldn't log in as myself. I'm not anonymous! I'm Lisa B.!

lis said...

obviously, people are missing the REAL point of your blog entry which is your American Idol watching. Who cares about narrative when you have the unfortunate vocal ambitions of a nation to focus on? BTW, on the Denver episode you missed an androgynous teen singing Whitney Houston and a Wyoming cowboy who sings to turkeys.

susansinclair said...

1. Re: American Idol, if you need any updates, just contact MsJ, who is a longtime and committed fan.
1.a. I thought the androgynous teen was adorable, and I detest Simon Cowell's heterosexism/homophobia/downright rudeness.

2. I had trouble reading The English Patient the first time just because of those challenges, because I wasn't in the habit of reading challenging literature. When it was required reading at WWU, I loved it. Along with Ishiguro's Unconsoled, which is verrrrry challenging.

3. 3x5 cards--a new use for the Hipster PDA!