Sunday, November 23, 2008
Classic lit, Acting, and Unblocking
Well, it's 1:15 on a Sunday afternoon. My teenager's eighteenth birthday came and went yesterday. I've been reading the River Oak Review and finding it much more diggable as I went on. Loved the short story "Misfortune" by Lanner Tremont about a fortune teller substitute. Clever little flip to it. It felt like a story I could share with my creative writing students at HMHS. "Sky Full of Burdens" by Meg Moceri especially trips my trigger because of its reference to a fear of heights. I thought the dialogue in it was funny. I'm still reading it. I'm looking to read a few good novels between now and end of the school year. Probably Toni Morrison's Mercy. Did anyone go to see her talk in SF this weekend? I had to act in the school play--what fun! I realized that what I've been missing once again is activity. By that I mean, moving around and having fun. I'm finally getting over a back injury from a year ago, getting out and walking the new puppy, exercising, and thinking about what to write. The activity has to be fun, though. Just acting in a play, recalled all the memories of teaching theater at Richmond High School. Love those 11 YEARS. I miss it, but I know the amount of work that goes into being a theater teacher, which is why I decided to become a writer instead. I missed doing things on my own rather than always teaching others. And that moment in the spotlight Friday night made me realize that I'm teaching too much or else falling into the trap of quizzes and study guide questions again. I wanted to teach My Antonia, Farewell to Arms, Ethan Frome, and The Great Gatsby: 1870-1930 lit: in a new and interesting way and I started just assigning and moving on. YUK. So it's time to reasses. Monday, no quiz. Kids will have to draw what's missing in Huck Finn. They were joking, no pictures, Ms. Genna and I said, well, they're used to be. We talked for a long time about the language in Huck and what's redeemable in it, but Ilike to give them class time to read. I think they should draw or make a graphic comic or a play. It's been done, I know, but not by them. We'll see. As for my own writing, I keep debating about whether to write memoir or fiction or novel, and suddenly I decided I was giving myself a block. Why not do all three! I can always write memoir and keep a running story going--these stories about growing up in Iowa in a farming family of 10 kids are classic. I don't have to think about publication. I could also write stories as they occur. Still looking for that novel idea, but I think I need to be reading novels to be in that frame of mind.