Thursday, August 29, 2013

Thomas Hardy

In the next few months, I haven't set a firm date on it yet, but I will be re-releasing my short story collection, Tales from the Fringes.  I wasn't happy with the amount of typos that I missed so I am going to re-proofread it extra carefully.  Also, I have reformatted the e-book versions so they are formatted like fiction and not nonfiction.  I did it like that because I put it out in haste and didn't take the time to research it enough.  But now, over the summer, I have done that, and I can afford the time right now to do it, since it is something I can do to get my mind in the right state to do research or studying.  I am actually working on my thesis now, which is nice.

Most of my time is still spent learning how to teach, which is really exciting, challenging, and fun!  It's kind of an adrenaline rush.  After I'm finished I feel like I have run a marathon.  Yesterday -- and it's mainly because it's August and humid and I am wearing long-sleeved shirts and ties -- I was covered in sweat.  I am someone who sweats in the middle of winter, though, so it doesn't really make much of a difference.  The hardest part is getting them to participate, but I think I actually made some progress yesterday.  They really started contributing as much as I could expect a bunch of people who are looking for the practical value of what I am teaching.  I am fine with that, but I still expect them to try and have fun with it.  It's a lot easier to learn something that you are having fun doing.

My philosophy is essentially dropping them in the deep end  and urging them to take off the life jackets and starting to swim.  I don't know how good of a swimming coach I would be -- but with writing there is really no other way.  You almost have to feel like you are drowning, like the only thing that will keep you afloat is if you actually fight for your life and say everything you need to say. In the real world this might not be a good approach but here in the theoretical realm of the classroom, with pencil and paper and computers, it is all possible.  If I am getting through to them and actually teaching them how to swim, eventually -- hopefully at least a few of them -- will learn to swim and feel comfortable taking off the life jackets.  Hopefully the rest of them will at least stay afloat and make it on to the next class.  Hopefully no one will take off the life jacket with the intention of drowning themselves.  Don't get me wrong, ideally, I would like to see everyone swimming on their own, but, realistically, I know that is not going happen.  I will try to reach as many of them as possible in the time that I have.

It's harder than I imagined it would be than to set the class I am teaching aside to work on my other classes, but I can't lose sight of the importance of those classes either.  I have to maintain my GPA and I truly want to learn everything I can and write some good papers.  While I will definitely continue applying to conferences, I think I would rather focus on writing papers for publishing.  Either way will help me build my C.V., and the more I am published, the more likely I will be invited to speak at conferences, which will all help me get into a PhD. program -- well, as long as they see the potential in me and that I have the drive to succeed.  If I want to get tenure this is the game that I have to play.

That's why I am also taking Out in the Garage and Tales from the Fringes very seriously -- the better they look, the better they are written, the fewer the mistakes/typos I leave in them, the more likely they will be an asset, eventually.  I do have to work more towards exhausting my avenues of  distribution and promotion so that I can maximize my fan-base and continue building my Internet reach.   That's why I will continue to write and move forward with all of my projects, along with school, because the only way I will succeed is if I keep trying -- I just have to be reasonable with the amount of time I can spend working towards these goals.  The more successful I am, the more time I will spend towards reaching them.

But, for now, it's back to reading "The Darkling Thrush" and "On the Departure Platform".  It won't be long before I jump into finishing the writing prompt for my class's first essay, so I can get it looked over by my adviser before I hand it out tomorrow.

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