Torn

I can’t decide whether to keep reading or start writing some stuff. This post doesn’t count.

It feels like I’ve read a lot over the break. More than I read this last semester, but I know that’s not true. I hope that’s not true.

Interesting how I’m an English major and my only solid A was in French. I recently asked my professor if I could use him as a reference for something, and he replied he couldn’t think of anyone he could more highly recommend. Very nice of him.

Yes, I complained a lot about French class, but don’t the French gripe about their passions? Couldn’t you tell through my spitfire how much I love the language? I felt a little cheated with the A I received, only because the 100-level classes seemed so much harder. I thought this class was going to really whip me. And coming from a 7-week 102 course during the summer, 201 felt like a breeze. Plus, the 100-level classes prepared me pretty well for 201; perhaps they made me smarter, after all.

Brit Lit History was odd. I don’t know how else to describe it. We read a lot, we discussed stuff and wrote papers. I got to translate 15 lines of Old English Beowulf. The exams should have done me in, but somehow I squeaked by with a very merciful non-B. What I loved most about the class were the personal critiquing sessions for papers. We signed up for 15-20 minute appointments, we handed our papers to the professor, and she read them while we looked up information in the MLA Handbook. Then we talked about the strengths and weaknesses of the papers with the professor. Admittedly, at times it felt like a big thrashing – hung, drawn, and quartered – and I wondered during these sessions what the hell I was doing and why I couldn’t write anymore. But the professor provided some really constructive and encouraging ideas, and each time I left her office a little dejected but with more resolve to write better. She gave us a holistic grade at the end of the semester, so she didn’t give us number grades during our appointments. That was helpful for me, only because I correlate such numbers with my worth as a person.

Kidding. Mostly.

Then I took this Brit Lit class, which covered authors from 1603-1660. I commented on this class before. Just the other day I sent an email to my professor:

Professor [Super Cool]:

I just want to thank you for a truly delightful semester in English 385. While familiar with many of the names we studied, much of the literature was new to me.

The material and your presentation of such invited the Spirit, which I haven’t felt so abundantly in a classroom, even compared to the religion classes I took hundreds of years ago.

Instances:
-Jonson and his deliberate (non)usage of names in his poetry
-Milton and Areopagitica – thoughts on censorship and agency
-Milton and Paradise Lost – enhancement of my temple experience
-Herbert’s “Love (3)” in conjunction with Thanksgiving – eating of the meat means I’m no longer at the kiddie table
-Traherne – my newest big favorite

Even though I didn’t test incredibly well in that class either, that class left quite an impression on me.

Finally, I took a short story class, which, if you know my love for short stories, was better than cookies for fourteen weeks. We read dozens of amazing stories. We talked about them. We wrote about them. The professor was pretty rad and quite funny. My quizzes in that class weren’t the best, and neither were my papers, and yet I managed another squeaker. Maybe I cemented it with the final. Who knows.

This semester I’m taking French 202, which is a literature class.

Then I’m taking French 321, which is a grammar class, and the thought of it seriously freaks me out.

The second half of Brit Lit History should be interesting. I mean, fun.

Then I’m taking a Myth, Legends, and Folklore class. I love that this stuff counts toward an actual degree.

This semester is going to be great.

Oh, yeah. I have real entries to write. Two prompts, one personal essay and the other, fiction. But I guess I’ll work on those later.

I do think I’ll read a little more. It’s been nice to relax and escape these past few days.

Oh, but wait. I have to post this photo. Basically the only photo I took with my camera during the Christmas break. (Our waitress attempted this photo three times, and this was the best of those.) I’ve known these girls for 20 years now. I don’t know what I’d do without them. Biscotti’s (is not a girl, but a restaurant in the Riverside section of Jacksonville. It’s our “place.”). Sarah, May, and Jenny. Lots of memories and laughs, long passed and more recent.

A little discussion.

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