A Day in Town, and a word to those graduating seniors . . .

I'm catching up a bit on the blog. With two kids, there's not much free space after I get home in the afternoon, and as the advisor of the creative writing program, I'm answering e-mails, phone calls, or having student conferences. A day to catch up on all my grading is rare, and I made the most of my Thursday.

So, after my workout (the one thing I will not sacrifice due to time constraints, given my family's vascular history), I wandered over to La Fiamma for the lunch special--an indvidual pizza and a small salad. I also ordered their lemonade which has just a hint of rosemary. I had a stack of ENG 460 prose poems to annotate, and I was behind in much of my work. I've always believed in returning papers with annotations within a week of receiving them. These little exercises were 2-minute stories. I timed the students with a stopwatch when they read their pieces in class.

After lunch, I wandered over to The Woods Coffee to finish up the rest of my grading. Our workshop sizes at Western Washington are fairly large--20 students per class, so the contact time with individual students is difficult to manage. I try to make up for this by writing lots of feedback. The Woods Coffee is a great place to get work done.


Dear Class of 2010,


Turn in your assignments. I'm saying this because 1) they're due and 2) you won't be getting many assignments from me in the future. And about those assignments--I know you find them to be aggravating, and that you feel I'm stifling your "voice," but let me tell you--you're too young to be so rigid with your style. Don't let your work calcify so soon!

Also, I understand that you feel less invested in the poems because they're assignments, but listen--if you want to keep at this writing thing, the challenge of the project should be among the things to spur you along.

This "line-of-work" can chew you up. Find a community. Find people who want to continue to write and who will help you to continue on with your writing.

Be wary of energy vampires and don't become an energy vampire.

Make sure you exercise both your pen and your body. Make sure you work outside as much as possible. Garden, but have your notebook besides you near the geraniums.

Call me or write to me. See you later.


Current Spin: Toro y Moi




Oliver de la Paz