Friday, October 03, 2008

Decisions, Decisions

Short stories for workshop: Rewriting "Cake" is starting to sound better and better. The "Body Museum" story will be interesting, but the amount of work I have to do on it puts it's completion date far off in the future.

MFA/PhD in creative writing: Right now, I am of the mind that at the end of my MFA I will apply to PhD programs. Yes, both degrees are terminal. But the notion that degrees in writing/English are "time to write" becomes my situation. It also appeals given the current financial crisis. During this time of economic instability, I choose to invest in something I believe is completely stable: my own education. So if in two years we aren't back into a the bonny bull market of the 90s, I'm going for a PhD.

I'm okay with doing lit work so long as I get to choose my areas of focus. I don't want a PhD in lit unless it's either a with a dissertation in modern short fiction or it's in myth making in modern society.

It makes sense in the long term job market. I've had people from large English departments tell me that they won't be hiring MFAs in 15 years because there will be enough PhDs in writing by then. I've also made note of the fact that it's more time to write, more time to publish (literary and scholarly writing), more time to make connections, more time to outrun the job market ... and besides, I like the sound of Dr. Wiedbrauk.

Analysis of the Vice Presidential Debate as a writer and teacher of English/writing :

I tuned into the Vice Presidential Debate on Thursday night in hopes of viewing a train wreck. I even made popcorn.

One of the more interesting parts was when Palin gave in to Biden's references to Bush administration failures (re: foreign policy) and actually addressed the situation. Brilliant move on someone's part to come up with the attack line that "for a ticket that claims to be about change you're sure doing a lot of finger pointing back to the past." Great line. Good attack. However, if you have half a brain you remember hearing that those who don't learn from the past are doomed to repeat it, but then again not all votes stop to remember that half of their brains.

How long has Palin been a governor? Two years according to Wikipedia. Every time she starts in about when I was governor I did this I'm put in mind of the student in my program who is straight out of undergrad and can't do anything but refer to the extremely limited world view gained during those four years of undergrad at one little school. I'm so sick of hearing that student's take on "in my experience" because that experience is sooooo limited. Yes, I understand that its the student's only frame of reference, but is that student sharing really helping the rest of us? Is two years running Alaska really going to help Kansas?

When did I scream at the TV? When Palin said regarding Biden's wife being a teacher for the past 30 years: God bless her, her reward is in heaven.

Oh. My. Shit. So teachers aren't gonna get any rewards in life? Or at least nont get any under your proposed administration?

Best line: Senator Joe Biden, "...and, selfishly, may God defend our troops." Dropped as the last item of a long-ish list of closing pleasantries, Biden chose to break up the usual rhythm of "and my God defend our troops" with the word selfishly. By breaking the rhythm and given that slight pause after seflishly it allowed the listener to stop and think about what made it selfish for Biden to say that. Nice word wordsmithing.

BTW it bothers me when normal people say I-rack instead of pronouncing it eh-roq. It drives me nutty when politicians who are interviewing for foreign policy positions say I-rack. Goodgod! List to the educated newscasters for 30 minutes! Listen to your speech coach (I know you have one)!

The good news is that WMU's campus has been doing a crazy-wonderful push to register students as local voters. Most of our undergrads are in-state students and most of the paperwork frenzy has been to get them to vote in the local polls. As an instructor I was emailed that I could have nonpartisan volunteers come and register my class and when they arrived they registered probably 15 of my 21 students to vote locally (in the student union right on campus). I was thrilled to facilitate such a thing.

Highly Recommended