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Friday, August 29

August 29, 2014
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Songwriting: Today we talked about some of the songs we heard last week, and got your impressions. You also turned in your first set of might-be lyrics.

We actually covered a lot of ground today, even if it might have seemed we were rambling. (Ed. I would say that, wouldn’t I?) One thing struck me as a potentially common theme: all the songs we talked about do a great job of combining the familiar and the strange. Sometimes that’s familiar music and lyrical strangeness, or at least unexpected-ness (“Girlfriend in a Coma,” “Be My Number Two”). Sometimes it’s familiar material made strange by the context (“Bike,” which has no intro and makes a bunch of innocent images seem a little disconcerting). And sometimes it’s a contrast between verses and choruses (“Gaucho,” which is surprisingly straightforward in its verses, but uses some very surprising imagery in the chorus — set up with that key phrase, “Would you care to explain?”)

For next week: you bring in a song. Any song. (You don’t need a physical copy; just be sure we can access it on YouTube or wherever.) Be ready to talk about what it is you like about the song. And we’ll go from there.

Critical Reading: Today we started talking about how to further break down our RDI process – by looking at the choices made by the author and their implications. Here are the guided notes: Critical Reading 8.29.14 – GN Day 2.

In class you were given three handouts: Critical Reading 8.29.14 – Restaurant Menu HandoutCritical Reading 8.29.14 – Restaurant Review Handout, and Critical Reading 8.29.14 – Wall St Infographic Handout. In class you broke up into groups and started to look at the choices made by the author. We ran out of time, so this is the first thing that we’ll talk about when we return next Friday. Also for next Friday – read Saussure!

Action Hero: We finished our list of things that every hero’s journey contains:

4. Every hero’s journey involves failure. (Because from failure comes conflict, complications, plot points, etc.)

5. Every hero’s journey involves a moral component. (We talked for a bit about this; I disagree with Joseph Campbell’s somewhat relativistic take on morality, as suggested in “The Hero’s Adventure.” I don’t think you can argue that something like, say, 9/11 fits the hero’s journey — even if it seems like it checks off all the boxes, and it does. Why not? I think Miss Poluha said it best: “Good people don’t do bad things, because it makes them bad.”)

I gave you a handout from Christopher Vogler’s The Writer’s Journey, about the 12 steps of the hero’s journey. We started going over it; read it for Wednesday.

BatCat: The usual.

8th Grade: Code-breaking! Disguises! A spy competition! And more. Next Friday we’ll try to decode your new “magic-whatever-number-you-chose” messages.

Survey: Fiction: Today we talked (and took notes on) concrete, significant detail, connotation, denotation.

Your homework for next Friday: Fiction 8.29.14 – Prompt 2. Don’t stress too much about this… I expect you to do a good job, but please don’t overthink it. Just follow the instructions and keep it short.

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