As you all may have been able to guess by now, I’ve been keeping myself pretty busy this summer. But you guys don’t even know the half of it! Between taking vacation at Yellowstone for five days, going to three concerts (Snow Patrol in May, Legend of Zelda Symphony, and then the Chicago/Doobie Brothers concert in July), and having dinner with famous people, and reading as much as I can manage, I’ve also been hard at work.
School never completely ends for those in graduate school. There are always things you need to do (or at least SHOULD do) during the summer. For me, this has included mainly getting more involved with extracurricular/service activities. I’ve mentioned on this blog before that the English graduate students at UH have been in the process of developing and promoting both a yearly Graduate Student Conference and an academic literature journal called Plaza: Dialogues in Language and Literature. While I did some work this past school year to help out with both, I decided that this upcoming year I wanted to be even more involved. And I managed to get myself nominated as an Assistant Editor to the journal as well as Head of the Publicity Committee for the Conference. And the work has already begun, especially for the latter. I’ve spent the last few weeks creating contact lists for every Humanities/Liberal Arts College Dean, English Dept Chair, and Graduate Director/Advisor, for every university in Texas so that we can start sending out personalized invites to both present at and attend the conference. I still need to make a list for all the community colleges in the Houston area. And THEN I need to move on to the universities in Louisiana. In the meantime, the Chief Editor of Plaza is working on the CFP for the journal, and I’m helping out with that.
At the same time, I had made plans last semester to make some serious changes to my syllabus for the coming semester, which I have now started work on. After having done a lot of research on the benefits and practical applications for using blogging in a First-Year Writing course, I’ve decided to implement it in my classroom. So I’m trying to work out a concrete plan for how and why I want my students to use blogging as a learning tool and as a way to open the classroom out into a more public space. I’ve also submitted an abstract for a presentation based on all this research to the Conference on College Composition and Communication, along with two fellow grad students I’m doing a panel with. It’ll be late August before we find out if our panel abstract was accepted to the conference (which isn’t until next March), at which point we’ll have to get hard to work actually writing the presentations.
AND THEN, throughout the whole summer, in between everything else, I’ve been writing. A lot. I started out writing the second draft of Midnight’s Knife, which I made some decent progress on until about three or four weeks ago, when I was hijacked by a new story idea that has completely consumed my brain lately. It’s going to be a strange one, I can tell… I actually have the basic premise for an entire series of stories, but this first one is a sort of science fiction detective story. It’s a kind of mix of X-Files, X-Men, and Sherlock Holmes, with a large helping of human drama about a veteran with PTSD laced through it. Yeah, if that sounds insane to you, you’re not alone. It sounds insane to me too, and I’m so excited about it! I’ve been living inside my main character’s head practically non-stop for two weeks now.
I have a month left until the Fall semester starts, so I’m trying very hard not to waste a minute of it. We’ll see how much more writing I can get done before school-work takes over.
Also, I’m trying to finish reading Dominant Race by Elisa Nuckle – it’s a novella, and it really wouldn’t take me that long to read, except that I’ve been so busy the last week or so I just haven’t had the opportunity to sit down a finish it! – but hopefully you can expect a review on that on Friday. And then I’ve agreed to review another novel, a literary fiction called A Work in Progress, which I’m planning (cross your fingers) to post on Aug 3rd.
Okay, folks, that’s all from me for now. If all goes according to plan, I’ll catch you all on Friday.