Wednesday, January 12, 2011

A Grinding Halt

That is what my independent creative output is coming to.  The reason?  University classes.  A common blogger malady it seems, preventing many from regular updates and giving one scarcely enough time to keep up with followed posts.

So, I thought I'd take a cue (read: rip-off) from a post by Nano and show you all the classes which will be keeping me chained to assignments (which I should actually be doing right now!)


Advanced Writing of Fiction

My most important class seeing as I am a Creative Writing major.  It's a bit different than it was last semester (I have to take it twice) in that instead of focusing on the writing of short stories, which is the norm, the class will be focused strictly on more dramatic forms of writing - screenwriting and playwriting.  An unexpected but welcome development.  And though in my youth I did write a few short, one-act plays, I have never written a screenplay though have always wanted to learn how.

The professor seems cool.  A young guy, pretty laid back, very obviously gay.  He seems more interested in getting us to learn how to use these methods of writing effectively rather than judging us on our bare skill as writers.  I suppose that's okay.  There is a lot of reading involved though.  On top of two text books, we have to read five or six each of screenplays and plays over fifteen weeks.  And on top of that, we must write and have workshopped three original pieces of our own:


  • A dialougue-heavy short story of 6 or more pages
  • A screenplay (either a scene or a short film) of 10 pages or more
  • A complete one-act play of 10 pages or more
So certainly I will have a creative outlet in this class and of course, I will share what I come up with, but certainly this will cause the writing of my novel to come to a complete stop until the semester ends.  Ah well, I am thinking of fashioning the short story to fit within the confines of the novel story though...


Cultural & Media Studies

Now this sounds like a anthropology class or something of that nature but it's actually an English class.  As far as I can tell, we spend a lot of time talking about American television (and watching some!) and basically treat it like we would literature and discuss its effects on the culture.  

Again, the professor is very laid back here and she definitely knows her stuff having a PhD in English and a Masters in Media Studies as well as being a venerable expert in American TV both past and present.  Should be interesting.  Plus we spend an hour every Thursday just watching TV shows.  This Thursday it's the Simpsons.  I can't say I can complain.

Oh, also we apparently have to write blog posts for credit?  I'm not entirely sure what that' all about but 10 % of our grade for that class is dependent on online work which is something I'm not used to at this school.  At least I have ample experience in forum and blog posting....

Modern American Literature, 1900-1945

Reading is the name of the game in  this class.  Eight novels in fifteen weeks.  That is our charge.  And these are no beach-side paperbacks either.  Two novels each from the likes of Willa Cather, F. Scott Fitzgerald, Ernest Hemingway, and that insurmountable bastard of dense prose William Faulkner.  

Time usually spent on the hour-long train rides to and from the campus idly listening to music or napping must now be dedicated to thumbing through great works of American literature from the early half of the 20th century.  As with most English classes, several short papers are expected from us throughout the semester as well as a large, heavily weighted final paper.  I am, however, awesome at writing term papers (as I nearly type "righting" instead of writing....).

Prof. is very wordy, very talky, funny, and extremely knowledgeable about his field.  It's a smallish class of about about twenty four students (actually the largest of all my classes this semester though now that I think of it) so much intimate discussion will be had.  Yay.


Elementary Latin II

The black sheep of my schedule and the one class I must attend all four days of my school week.  It's also the smallest, with a mere six to eight students showing up on any given day (from what I can tell thus far).  This means that we all have to participate and participate a lot.  

Oh, and if you couldn't guess we're learning Latin.  Not very good yet but it's interesting to say the least.  Latin teaches you a lot about Western language structures and in that sense is very useful for someone attempting to become an English writer.  The professor is the same as the one I had for Elementary Latin I - a very old and crotchety Englishman (which makes him equally charming and rude). 

I like him, he's funny.  Often without even realizing it.  And it's oh so fun to see the disgust forming on his face as he looks upon us boisterous and ignorant Americans.


At any rate, that's my class load and that's why my presence here may become scarce.  Now, I really have to get going, I am in great danger of missing my bus.