I returned late Sunday from a wedding this weekend (more details soon) & have found myself a wee bit behind/distraite ever since. Plus, I’ve had Alanis in my head ever since Robbie & I went to her concert in AC last Wednesday. All of this is lovely, but…
All of this is just to say: Remember those free online classes that I promised you? Better a day late/dollar short than never, no?
World Lit will start on Monday, 9/10. Some of you may still be gathering your books anyhow.
I’ll try to get into the habit of posting World Lit on Mondays & Creative Writing on Tuesdays.
Here is some of what I generally assign to my Creative Writing bunnies in Week 1. Do feel free to post your Proust Questionnaire answers in the comments. But hold on to your Jean Stevens pieces for now.
Creative Writing, Week 1
1. READ >> “No One Can Take a Bath for You: Why I Write” (Nancy Smith)
Click the link to access the article online. Because there isn’t a textbook for this class, all readings will be from online sources. I hope that you will feel free to suggest reading in the comments. I might use some of your links as required readings this semester or in the future.
2. DISCUSS >> “The Proust Questionnaire.” Answer the 21 questions listed below. Your answers to the questionnaire do not have to be in complete sentences. If you do not want to answer one of the questions (if you feel it’s too personal), write something else in that space. Please feel free to post your answers, or a few select answers, in the comments. These questions were first designed by the French writer Marcel Proust and have been adapted (somewhat) by moi. Begin responding to each other’s posts.
3. NOTE >> Begin working on your Writer’s Notebook.
Instructions: Here you will keep ideas/inspirations for your writing: lists, longings, names for characters, quotations from whatever you are reading, an idea for a story, a dream, possible titles for things, favorite words, overheard conversations, observations, and so on. You should contribute at least five items to your notebook each week, though more are of course encouraged. You can also post a link to an outside WordPress or tumblr account where you are keeping this notebook. OR you can also keep this notebook in a Word file or more traditional notebook. Usually I check notebooks throughout the semester. I’ll provide a time/space to share your notebook gems later in the semester.
4. WRITE >> First, read the article about Jean Stevens, who was discovered living with the corpses of her late husband and deceased twin sister last summer. (Yes, it is rather like something out of Faulkner.) Next, write a short creative piece based on the article. Length: 1-3 pages. You can choose any aspect of this article to respond to. It should go without saying that you need to use your imagination to fill in the gaps in the article’s reporting. For example: How did Jean Stevens get the bodies into her house? Did she have help? Who helped her? What condition were the bodies in? Did she talk to the corpses? Did she have tea parties with them? What kind of tea was served at these tea parties? These are questions you might address in your creative nonfiction piece, which we’ll return to next week.
THE PROUST QUESTIONNAIRE
Answer all 21 questions.
1. WHAT IS YOUR GREATEST FEAR?
2. WHAT IS YOUR CURRENT STATE OF MIND?
3. WHAT IS YOUR FAVORITE WAY OF SPENDING TIME?
4. WHAT HISTORICAL FIGURE DO YOU MOST IDENTIFY WITH?
5. WHICH LIVING PERSON DO YOU MOST ADMIRE?
6. WHO IS YOUR FAVORITE FICTIONAL CHARACTER?
7. WHAT IS YOUR MOST TREASURED POSSESSION?
8. WHEN AND WHERE WERE/ARE YOU HAPPIEST?
9. WHAT IS YOUR MOST OBVIOUS CHARACTERISTIC?
10. WHAT IS THE TRAIT YOU DISLIKE THE MOST IN OTHERS?
11. WHAT IS YOUR GREATEST EXTRAVAGANCE?
12. WHAT IS YOUR FAVORITE JOURNEY?
13. WHAT DO YOU CONSIDER THE MOST OVER-RATED VIRTUE?
14. WHICH WORDS OR PHRASES DO YOU MOST OVER-USE?
15. IF YOU COULD CHANGE ONE THING ABOUT YOURSELF, WHAT WOULD IT BE?
16. WHAT DO YOU CONSIDER YOUR GREATEST ACHIEVEMENT?
17. WHERE WOULD YOU LIKE TO LIVE?
18. WHAT IS THE QUALITY YOU MOST ADMIRE IN A MAN OR WOMAN?
19. WHAT DO YOU VALUE MOST IN YOUR FRIENDS?
20. WHAT IS YOUR MOTTO? (WORDS YOU LIVE BY OR THAT MEAN A LOT TO YOU)
21. WHO HAS BEEN THE GREATEST INFLUENCE ON YOU?