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Wednesday, March 2

March 2, 2016
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Poetry Workshop: Today: Thellman and Holley. Thus endeth Round One.

Round Two will be faster. It starts a week from today. I’ll be gone Monday, so no workshop, but you need to complete the first six poems from the Round Two packet for Wednesday. (Hall, Winkle, Doban, Campbell, Cianfarano, Lepczyk).

Fiction Workshop: Today we workshopped Kat and Ken. No new stories. Please be aware of your due dates for Round 2. We will be doing other things in class next week.

Cultural Literacy: Today we began talking about literary history. Here’s a quick-and-dirty (and far-too-compressed) guide Cultural Literacy – Literary History to eight different eras (remember that the Epic of Gilgamesh, a Mesopotamian poem considered the first great work of literature, predates even Homer by about 1,500 years).

One we’ve already covered; the second (The Old English era) we started today. The most significant work there is Beowulf, an epic poem by an anonymous author written sometime around 1000 A.D. It’s long (almost 3,200 lines), but we watched this 1998 animated version that very neatly (and accurately) compresses it all into less than half an hour:

We discussed briefly the tropes found in Beowulf that still resonate in fantasy and adventure:

  • There is a virtuous hero, who comes more or less out of nowhere (or at least Geatland, which is now southern Sweden) and earns honor and ultimately power by defeating a seemingly invincible foe.
  • This hero squares off against not one, but three monsters: Grendel, Grendel’s mom, and the dragon (who eventually mortally wounds him).
  • The hero defeats the first two monsters by using a magical weapon — a sword he finds in the Grendels’ underwater lair.
  • There are journeys involved: Beowulf’s journey to Zealand (a Danish island), and his journey to the bottom of the bog to fight Grendel’s mother. And even his tracking of the dragon to its lair.

There are others, but that summarizes what we covered today. Friday we won’t have class; our guest Beth Cochran will be with us that day during Block 2. Monday I will be gone, but Mr. Cageao will have something for you to look over. And next Wednesday, we’ll be back at it.

BatCat: We have a lot of stuff going on! We are staying after tomorrow – if you’re staying, please plan to leave/be picked up by 6:30 at the latest. I’m not sure if we’ll be marbling or doing something else, but rest assured, we’ll be using the time in a productive way!

PLEASE help spread the word about the class on the 12th. Sales have not been going well.

Survey: CNF: I returned quizzes, and we talked more about libel — people seemed confused by that part of the quiz. I gave you a few examples, and had you read the chapter “Truth or Fact?” in the Lee Gutkind book You Can’t Make This Stuff Up.

Your sense of place essays are due on Friday. How should you incorporate the four elements we discussed the every place has — its history, characters, language and geography? That is for you to decide, but remember that they’re important things to consider. Most important is simply what you want to say about this place, which you should assume neither I, nor anyone else reading this, knows anything about.

Survey: Screenwriting: Assignment 3 Part B was officially collected today. If you were absent or didn’t turn it in for one reason or another, please do so ASAP.

We read a bit more of Strangers on a Train and watched the corresponding clip, then went over the Tootsie quiz. There is no homework for Monday.

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