Saturday, February 9, 2013

Spring Semester 2013

I know I’ve been a very bad blogger lately. My classes have been largely to blame (I think I made the same excuse the last time I posted about my classes) so here’s a roundup of what they are.

Creative Writing –Fiction I –Last semester I tried my hand at creative writing for the first time. I really enjoyed it, so I wanted to continue working on my writing. I got great feedback on my portfolio last semester. My professor said my stories, with a bit more tweaking, are publishable! It’s great to have a challenging creative outlet, so I really want to stick with it. This class focuses primarily on point of view. I can already tell that my work for the weekly assignments and in-class exercises are much stronger than they were last semester.

Applied Grammar This was a requirement for the grad program. It’s really easy so far; I feel almost a bit guilty that I’m actually getting credits for it since I’ve hardly had to do any work and it’s online. Still, it’s good to refresh my knowledge of grammar and learn names for rules I’ve always followed but for which I’ve never had the terminology.

English Literature II This class is also online. We started off learning about the Romantic Period. I’m really excited about it since I never learned this stuff in high school (where we studied Filipino literature).

American Literature II –I saved this one for last because it is my favorite class so far. Like English literature, I never got to learn about American literature in high school. In the four weeks that I’ve taken this class, my love of literature has skyrocketed, and that’s saying something since you know how much I already loved it. Before you dismiss literature as a bunch of highbrow nonsense (like I did in my early college years), hear me out. You are doing yourself a great disservice if you think that it’s silly to read “too deeply” into a text, be it a short story or a novel. Literature is a lens with which to see not only into the mind of brilliant authors but also the complexities of their societies. I was talking to someone the other day about wanting to teach English. They then went on a rant that sounded something like, “What’s the significance of the tree? I don’t know! It’s a tree! That’s all it is.” Let’s set aside the sheer rudeness of this person’s response to my dreams and passions for a moment. I can understand her frustration. Digesting a text is a lot of work. But we would be sorely remiss to think that the yellow wallpaper in Charlotte Perkins Gilman’s famous short story of the same title is only wallpaper with no larger significance outside of the story. (I highly recommend reading this story; a post will follow soon about other short stories I think you should read.) The insights we learn by closely reading these texts are well worth the scholarly attention they demand. No, we don’t always have the time(or always want) to sit and contemplate the larger meanings of a ten-page story, but don’t dismiss it as nonsense.

Anyway, all this is to say that I am learning so much more than I expected to learn taking prerequisites for the grad program. I’m so glad that the burning passion I feel for what I’m doing is only getting stronger.

Stay tuned for another post in which I discuss “what counts as literature,” at least to me.

Love and (a book) light,