Friday 28 December 2007

Great Big Mood

Now that this year has almost ended, I'm in the mood for a new one. Today is day one of reading My Human Comedy proofs. I'll let you know how it turns out.

An hour or two later: Hey, not bad so far. I forgot I had a quote from Brenda Schmidt in it, which she has approved. And mention of a few other writers I know--Smith, Mitchell, Schmidt again, Margoshes, McKay--behaving like unruly children as their books jostle together and finally topple my bookshelf over my brand new rug, some of the books making it all the way to Hudson's Bay.

Wednesday 19 December 2007

A Few Words About My Students

By now my students will have made it home, so to speak, from my classes. I'm thinking about how to say what I hope they've learned. Not that "learning" is any kind of explicit goal.

I hope my students have a lot more fun with language, that's one thing. As if it's a whirling, circular beast we can poke at from many different angles.

I hope they feel challenged, familiar with a few more Saskatchewan writers and other artists.

I'd love to see any of my students adopt some kind of daily or otherwise regular writing practice, in whatever form that might take.

(And always tagging along with writing is its little buddy reading.)

Not far away is an objective something like this: a sense that cultural phenomena change and that we all have a stake in, and an opportunity to affect, which way it goes.

Further thought, reading, writing, everything else.

Friday 7 December 2007

December 7, 2007

Those people in my office today, the ones looking as if they just hopped down off a swift pony--they've been writing all day.

And yesterday I got in a bit of a knot over a memo from on high, specifying this and that about our language use.

Thinking of it, I remind myself of my dad, who would get good and pissed off at people as much for wherever he was in some kind of passive-aggressive cycle as for what people had said or done. That's unfair to dad, who died in 1992, and not quite true for myself either.

That was yesterday. Today I finished something that took two-and-half solid days--I can feel a grey wall forming as I say those words, so that's far enough.

Anyway, these students have been writing all day, finishing their "writing the western landscape" essays--something on the Fafard show, a parody, a formal essay on historical fiction, or a walk around the lake. A bit cold for the walk lately but a few students did it. One woman said she'd encountered rabbit tracks and used them to structure the rest of her essay; one guy said he saw rabbit tracks but kept on walking. Either way, they're done, and the essays sit on my desk. Have to grade them before Monday afternoon's final exam.

Finally, how about those Leafs, folks. Everyone's willing to rag on them when things go a tad off for a while, then when the Leafs take four in a row, not a peep out of anyone. Schmidt, if you read this--here's to the blue and white.

And now it's off to the Christmas party, too late to get my devilled eggs ready.