Friday, March 22, 2013

Midsemester: Spring 2013

Novel Workshop

So far I've had my novella, which is fairly short, the first draft at 15.5 thousand words, "workshopped" once (twice is required for the semester). Usually, after something of mine is "workshopped," I immediately feel overwhelmed with everything in the story that needs to be fixed. However, I've also learned, while workshops are very helpful, providing you with a perspective not had, you have to ultimately trust yourself and do what you think is right - wise words for life in general.

I should be able to finish the book this year. (It will be [at least part of] my master's thesis.)

Studies in Melville

I've learned quite a bit about Melville and have an overall greater respect for him as a writer. He was unique and very talented, like the American Shakespeare. Melville took a lot from Lawrence Sterne's Tristram Shandy. But while Sterne was trying to be annoying, if thought-provoking and/or facetious, Melville made the novel form into an art.

Besides Moby-Dick, I like Redburn, Benito Cereno, and Billy Budd. White-Jacket is, well, bloated.

American Studies

Favorite books: The Great Gatsby; The Sun Also Rises; "Pale Horse, Pale Rider" (which Porter called a short story). I have a new appreciation for Porter, actually. She writes beautiful prose, and my style resembles her's in some ways. Willa Cather's My Antonia is also good, and proves, just because you're a fan of James (as she was), you don't have to write like him!

Overall, lots of work, weekly writings, etc. But, as I'm learning every semester, the experience of education is priceless. (Future teacher talking.)

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