Academia tends to be either full-on or mostly off, and it was nice to be varying degrees of "off" for the last month. I've read three books and several short stories in the past week for my new lit class, but I got to do it at home on the couch, so it felt more like fun that work. I'm about to head out of town, so I'll combine two posts into one:
I totalled under 1000 words in December, which is how much I try to do in a single sitting, and I haven't worked on my novel in January yet, though I did polish up a short story I want to send out. (Any recommendations for where to send literary fiction with a contemporary teen narrator?) There were finals and course planning, blah blah, but actually I'm happy to have a bit of a break so I can approach draft two with new eyes. And I'll definitely have new eyes when I return to it in Feb because I'M GOING TO VENICE!! I returned to campus to find I'd received the professional development grant I'd applied for, and I'M GOING TO VENICE on Tuesday to research my book. I can't wait to see how contemporary Venice matches up with the 1700s Venice of my researched imagination, but I'll write about that next week when I get back. I'm going with my Mom, which is a complete thrill. I can't wait to travel with her. I'll still spend half my time jotting notes, but it will be wonderful to have another person to compare impressions with, not to mention someone to share dinner and hotels with. It's supposed to be 40s and rainy this weekend, which will feel warm compared to Wisconsin January.
Teaching: digital stories
I had the immense pleasure of team-teaching a one-week, six-hour-a-day course on digital storytelling. It's the first time one of my main jobs as a teacher has been trying to convince my students to take a break--the work is that engrossing. Everyone worked hard and learned a lot, to great results. If you'd like to see what digital stories look like, check out the StoryCenter.
Coming soon: review of Barbara Kingsolver's Animal, Vegetable, Miracle