Thursday, September 6, 2012

A Quick Update

For many reasons, not the least of which is the start of school, I have neglected my blog. So here are some quick updates on things...

1. Last weekend, the Wedding-Guest and I drove out to Boonville, NY to see our friends in Black Iris of the Sun play at Hulbert House with some other bands (including MEN...I know one of those guys too.) What a strange place to see music: An 1812 historic inn with illustrated wallpaper and lace curtains. Black Iris of the Sun was excellent, as always. I miss their former guitar player, who lent a certain strain of elegance to their sound that I loved, but they are still far and away my favorite local band. Their songs are crafted like powerful spells instead of just a blur of aggression and angst. To be fair, the angsty-aggression bands label themselves "hardcore," and that's their thing. Which I don't love. But I do appreciate the energy and even the wild karate dancing that ensues when they play.

2. Then school started. The first day, I had enthusiastic English major British literature students. After that...sleepy students with bed hair and blurry eyes. I can't count on the usual discussion format of literature classes, obviously, so I'm thinking of ideas. They may be sorry they ever acted sleepy in front of me. But I've been starting the class with metal songs based on Old English literature, and that wakes them up a little. ("Beowuuuuuuuulllllllf!" Thanks, Valgard.)

3. Then, I competed in the 3-Day Novel Contest. In that one, you are challenged to write an 80-100 page novella over the three days of the Labor Day weekend. I tried to write a little metal romance, and I DID come up with a story that has a beginning, middle, and end. It's 54 pages long, and I sent it to the contest people. There is no way on earth it will win. It's pretty dreadful. But it was a neat experience, and I'll probably try it again next year. And next year, I will prepare better for the practicalities of writing non-stop for three days. You must lay in supplies. You must have a nice place to write. The main thing I learned from this experience is how to use an outline for a novel. This was my first experience of that, and it wasn't too bad. The outline changed as I wrote, of course, but it did work. Also, I spent the last few hours revising, and that wasn't too bad...until I somehow lost my changes!!! That was tragic, but it was good because that happens to students, and I always feel suspicious of them. Now, I remember how easy it is to have that accident and what it feels like when you do!

4. I am up for promotion and tenure (not called that anymore, but I'm still using the word) this year, and I need to put together a packet of proof of my achievements. This seems daunting, especially because I don't feel like I have many. But it must be done.

5. I have two more weeks left of doing the Insanity workout. If I make it through, I am going to stay in a hotel in NYC and spend the weekend in museums. That is the only thing that keeps me using up so much of my time (30 minutes-hour) every evening on an activity that prevents me from reading.

6. The Airborne is still off training, and for a few more weeks, there is no communication allowed. I miss his conversation, but I love "the bliss of solitude."

7. Yesterday, I played a "gig" at the Resource Fair with our lead guitarist, JT, who is also a librarian. We sat at the library table and played our very moving original songs about how to use the library. We also played a bunch of other songs when no students were standing right in front of us. It was a very nice way to spend my office hours. I have the weirdest gigs up here.

8. More on this later...There is a man from Texas named Skip Rhudy who wrote a novella called One Punk Summer back in the 90s. It is an important book in my life, so I wrote him some fan mail by Facebook, and he wrote back! I hope he doesn't think I'm a crazy stalker. This book deserves its own blog. I shall write one later, when I'm not rushing off somewhere. Which probably means "Christmas break" at this point.