Music of the day: Mars, by Sleeping At Last
The most accurate representation of my time here in Chicago would have to be this picture (note the dates and times): I am taking full advantage of the food delivery service here, mostly because I’m busy and get hungry late at night. My excuse to my dad is: you don’t want me out at night anyways! This is my solution 😀
So, I have survived the first three weeks of classes! Here’s a run-down of what each one is like:
- Tuesday nights: Ray Bradbury and the Dark Fantastic. This class is a seminar where, for “homework,” we read a lot of works by Bradbury, and then essentially go to class and talk about them. Which, if you know me at all, is like a dream come true. I’m the only first year in this class, which I guess is because most people take their seminars later in the program. But oh well. I’m loving it. I’m a big fan of the short story, and Bradbury was kind of a genius about it. Also, my professor is the official biographer of Bradbury, which means he spent 15 years getting to know him and has an infinite amount of insight and knowledge into his work and process. THIS IS VERY COOL. You ever have a story where you’re like “ok, but is she really dead?!” at the end? Yeah, my professor knows the answer to Bradbury’s stories. (Fahrenheit 451 readers: ever wonder if Clarisse died?)
- Wednesday nights: Graduate Fiction Workshop I. This class is where all the writing gets done. In my program, I have 9 cohorts. And we’re all in this class together. So far, we’ve only been turning in short, 600 word pieces of writing that have come from a prompt. Our workshop has been minimal, but it’s been good stuff. And it’s at least making me produce work, even if it’s short. I have a full length story due this upcoming Wednesday. I have an idea, but I haven’t started writing yet, and I’m a bit nervous about leaving it until the last minute. Honestly I should be writing that instead of this blog. In due time…
- Thursday noon: Graduate Student Instructor, Theory & Praxis. Hmm, what to say about this class. The short and sweet is that this class is preparing me to teach rhetoric and composition to a class of undergraduate students next semester. The gritty part is that it’s freaking hard. And not necessarily in the way that I think math or science is hard. At least with those, there are answers. In GSI, it’s all abstract and vague and there isn’t one right answer, and I’ve read about 10, 20+ page articles so far that all say the same thing: we don’t know the right way to teach writing to first year students. And, ok, I get it. There’s no one right way to teach a kid how to express themselves in writing. But then we get into *what* is writing, really? And which parts do we teach? And do we introduce other modes, like images and videos and podcasts, because of the evolving culture? It’s all a big mess, to be honest. Hopefully, in the next 12 or so weeks, I’ll have enough confidence and knowledge that I won’t go into my classroom next semester and say, “Alright guys, I don’t know what I’m doing, please don’t hate me.”
And that’s it for my classes. I have them once a week, and then I have a four day weekend. It’s a pretty great schedule, actually. Except for the two classes being at night. Do you know how many sports games and TV shows I have to miss because of that? It’s killing my vibe… First world problems, right?
My dad was blown away with how much free time I have all week, and was saying I should get a job just for the sake of having something to do. And at first I agreed with him. But then I realized that all that free time isn’t actually free time. It’s time I have to be writing and reading and writing some more. It’s time that I have to travel into the Loop to get to class on time. It’s time that I have to go to readings and mingle with my cohort and professors. It’s time that I enjoy, but that is not, in any sense, free. So basically, no job for now.
I feel like I’m finally settled in. Like I’m orbiting the sun on a stable path. The sun being writing. The block I was struggling with over the summer was shattered once classes started, like I hoped it would. Being surrounded by people with the same passions as me was the water to my parched throat. I feel fueled and ready. This place is good for me.
For those of you interested in how Spiro is doing, I wish I could tell you, but he’s buried in textbooks worth of reading and cases and highlighters and notes, haha. We have been in serious need of a good coffee shop, and have yet to find one. We try to take Fridays to explore different parts of the city, and so far have found some really cool neighborhoods. Tomorrow, we’re going to a Cubs game. Living that Chicago life, I guess.
I’ve started to get a little homesick, though. For a lot of reasons. Whataburger, Blue Bell, real Mexican food, 24 hour coffee shops… oh, my family I guess 😉 And even if I were in Austin, maybe I wouldn’t have gone home to visit yet, but I would know that I could if I wanted. Right now, I’m realizing that I can’t go home for Thanksgiving, and so mid-December is looking really far away. I always spend the holidays with family, and it’s going to be a big shock this year when I can’t. Not to mention, Thanksgiving is probably my favorite one. But I’m looking forward to the snow and the weather, even though everyone is saying how awful it is.
This was kind of a boring post, I think.
Things to look forward to: writing this new story; Cubs game; Blackhawks game; The Martian premier; various author readings around town; National Coffee Day; sweater weather