The semester is already in full flight! In Shakespeare we are moving into A Midsummer Night's Dream; in Nineteenth Century we are moving into Wordsworth, Coleridge, Wollstonecraft and Barbauld; in first year the feast is getting better by the hour! Some wonderful poems by Bukowski, Willams, Young, stories by Maupassant, Joyce, Naylor and others... challenging me to think hard about how I can deepen my appreciation, understanding and writing about my own life experiences. Henry David Thoreau's Walden which is at the heart of Dead Poet's Society and which is also at the heart of our Schwiebert text Reading and Writing From Literature has some amazing guidance for our own relationship to literature and life. His sentence Be at least semiretired all your life is his way of advising himself and his readers to make space in our hectic and busy lives for connecting with the often fleeting experiences that really matter and finding a way of recording these in word and image. We are all so subject to incessant distractions and literature for us -as something we read to activate our creative thought- can be a real stimulus for the better part of our nature, our capacity for creating a space for what some people call contemplation. If you are in first year then look closely at the chapter that starts on page 183... one of the most wonderful chapters in the book.
LiveJournal seems to have got off to a very good start for most people and most of you are finding it a useful space to share your ideas about your reading and even begin "publishing" some of your own creative work. The interactions between all of you are also growing apace... this is like yeast to the whole process... helping each other with critical and creative responses and with ideas that give real encouragement.
I encourage all of you (those in second and third years with your CAIe booklet) and first years with the "Ten Ideas for Writing" in Schwiebert page 35 (together with the many Sample Creative Writings in Appendix A page 1143 following) to use the texts we have read in the last week to spark off memories, ideas, inspirations from your own experience that can build on one or two of the texts/ lines/ ideas that have struck you forcefully in this last week.
Remember also that a Discussion Thread will be appearing in your Blackboard shortly where you are going to be able to ask for specific help with one or two of your LJ posts. Look into your unit outline for a list of suggested questions. As a reminder, this is what it says under Assessment in the LiveJournal section of your UnitOutline:
" Please send a request in Blackboard in the Special Discussion Thread Called: LiveJournal Help Line. Send the specific URL for the entry on which you would like feedback. Describe the particular kind of feedback that would be helpful. For instance: How can I expand on this? Where can I tighten this? How can I improve the pacing of this dialogue, letter, story, interview… ? Which parts of this piece are most/least exciting or interesting to you? Why? "