Fri. Jan. 20, 2012: Talking to Wallpaper

Tessa likes the toaster cover

Friday, January 20, 2012
Waning Moon
Snowy and cold

Most of yesterday was spent with students, commenting on work. I’m getting a little tired of feeling like I’m talking to wallpaper. If someone has taken classes with me for months, and I’ve given, repeatedly, the same comment on comma placement, I expect them to actually take the comments and do something about it. This refusal certain students have to learn the fundamentals of the craft is beyond irritating. When I say STRUNK & WHITE’S ELEMENTS OF STYLE is a required text, I mean it.

I discussed it with a writer acquaintance who shrugged and said, “Culls the herd. Dipshit can’t be bothered to learn craft, more open slots for those of use who do.”

Which made me laugh, but . . .as a teacher, I want my students to succeed. I want them to go off and live independent, successful, happy lives as writers. If I do my job properly, they’ll outgrow me, and good for them. So when they’re given the tools and REFUSE to use them, I get frustrated.

On the flip side of that, one of my best, most productive students has a new book out (she started working with me while she was writing it) and it’s getting great reviews. She deserves them — she’s talented AND works her butt off. And I’m happy in the wide range of topics that the 5 in 10 students are tackling. They’re taking some interesting chances, and some of them aren’t limiting themselves to a single genre. They truly are taking advantage of this opportunity to play and experiment out of their comfort zones.

Yoga was great yesterday, and then, in the evening, I went to a lecture on women’s health issues, was was both interesting and lots of fun. Lots of laughter AND lots of information, which is a good way to go. It’s also amazing how much misinformation is out there, especially as peddled by both insurance companies and pharmaceutical companies — for their own profit, of course.

It also confirmed something I know — I have to up my exercise ante at this stage of my life. I’ve been leaning entirely on yoga the last few months. I have to add the weight training back in, and, if I don’t run, I should at least walk. My mind doesn’t want to run, but my body’s craving it. I live in one of the most beautiful areas in the country. I can get out and walk a few miles a few times a week.

We had a little bit of snow — not much, just a bit. The owner’s coming to prime the fixed wall today. I’ve got a busy (and hopefully productive) weekend ahead of me. I’m spinning my wheels on a couple of projects, and I need to pull myself out of the muck and get down to it. A new client project comes in on Monday with a two-week turnaround, so there’s no room for any self-indulgence on my part.

I’m pretty happy with this batch of short stories I’m writing. They have a verve, an energy to them, that a lot of earlier work lacked. So at least I’m going in the right direction in some of my own work. Now, to get the novels back up to speed . . .


Published in: on January 20, 2012 at 8:31 am  Comments (3)  
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  1. I’m smitten with Tessa. 🙂

    Yoga has proven to me the same thing – I need to step it up in other areas, as well. I love walking (hiking up hills especially), and I’d like to run again, but not craving it enough yet. Just the walking and the exercising and the yoga. I have added dancing to my daily routine. It feels good to let loose!

  2. Your struggle with students and ‘comments on commas’ reminds me of the time I was at my first schooling horse show.
    This is like a dress rehearsal where you perfect your skills and get a chance to calm your show jitters. They are usually small, local, and the judge takes the time to make comments to help each competitor get ready for the “big shows”. I dully reported to my instructor that the judge gave me good marks on presentation and the quality of my horse but thought I was letting her be lazy and sloppy and advised I carry a crop to encourage her attention to my aids. As I was waiting for my turn in the next class my instructor noticed I didn’t have my crop. She sent me back to the barn for it with a bark; “If the judge bothered to take the time and effort to give you advice, you should show enough respect to follow it.” I came out of the class with a third place ribbon. Lesson learned.
    Your acquaintance was correct, you will get through to some of them. Don’t give up.

  3. Hoping you’re okay – either a deadline or a power outage as we’ve not heard from you!

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