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Wednesday, February 11

February 11, 2015

Poetry Workshop: Today: Shaffer/Blackham/Ohlund. For Monday: comments + annotations for Talbott/Turner.

Fiction Workshop: Today we workshopped Rosemary and Jonnah.

Several things were handed out: first, Laura and Rhyan’s stories. EDIT: Please note that we will only be workshopping Rhyan’s story on Monday.

Secondly, the “Toolbox” chapter from Stephen King’s On Writing was handed out. Please have it read for two weeks from today (Feb. 25).

And finally, the requirements for Round 2: Fiction 2.11.15 – Round 2 Guidelines. Since these will be very short, I hope to be able to do 3 a day, so this will be a very quick round. The first three stories will be due on Wednesday, February 25. Somebody’s got to do it, so plan accordingly.

Act One: Today we talked a little about character development. Specifically, how are you supposed to develop a character when you don’t have the devices you can use in fiction (or even screenwriting)? You’re down to first (or at least early) impressions, which is what makes it so challenging. I asked you about developing first impressions of someone you met on your first day of school here, and we talked about what gave you the clues you used to try to figure them out.

Then we watched the Anton Chekhov play “The Bear.” A few of you know it — and Chekhov — but I deliberately didn’t give it any introduction. I want you to think about how character was established in this very short (and, IMO, very funny) one-act. There are multiple ways it was done; we’ll discuss them Friday and introduce at least a couple of important terms. (If you did NOT get to watch this play, you will need to see me ASAP to get an electronic copy, as well as a copy of the script.)

Remember: your scene-writing exercise is due Friday as well. The directions are on the blog entries from last Wednesday and Friday if you need them. I would REALLY like it if you would 1) type them and 2) try the best you can to use SAF. It’s going to be a requirement in future assignments, so might as well get used to it!

BatCat: Circles it is! Also started fixing/finishing old copies. Thanks for your hard work. On Friday we’ll be discussing the manuscripts. Please have them read carefully.

7/8 Lit Arts:

7th Grade:

Survey: Screenwriting: Today I handed back a few assignments, including Assignment 1 – Spectacle. These were pretty good! So good, in fact, that I want you to do it all again, but even better: Screenwriting 2.11.15 – Assignment 3, More Spectacle

Then we started watching Sunset Blvd., which we will finish on Friday (get to class ASAP so that we can make this happen!!).

50 Poems in 50 Days: Our first class meeting. We heard former Poet Laureate Billy Collins read his 1991 poem “The Afterlife” and we discussed how Collins’s gentle sense of humor masks a more serious idea in the poem’s last six lines. We also discussed Collins’s “Writing in the Afterlife,” which has particular resonance for us, I think, and we cited his classical allusions (what does it mean that he didn’t name Charon?) and his very loose use of structure. We also discussed a bit of the historical context of “The Afterlife” — the first Gulf War in particular,

I gave out the next two poems: “Strange Meeting” by Wilfred Owen, and “Slim Greer in Hell” by Sterling Brown. And I do recommend checking the blog for supplementary material. From today, here’s the 2014 interview with Billy Collins that I quoted. And here’s the story by Russian writer Leonid Andreyev called “Lazarus,” which is well worth reading (it’s pretty chilling, actually).

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