09 June 2013

Early summer education, 9 June 2013


The wall collapse emergency settled down last night (see 8 June), though there were still times when posses of fire engines came roaring through the neighborhood, and sometimes the news helicopters returned.. I was able to do classwork yesterday afternoon and evening. After a few hours sleep, work continued through the night into today's early morning.

Fantasy, science fiction and the mind: I need to finish Grimm's Fairy Tales, so I can write an essay due Tuesday. That might seem an easy thing, but I need to take notes as I read, I prefer to read in the dark (Kindle), and sometimes I'm so tired I can't get the cap off my pen.

For these classes, I got a new Cross gel pen, a deep purple one with a cap that's too tight on the writing end and falls off the non-writing end, plus Moleskine notebooks in three sizes - two quite large, and three each of two smaller sizes. Six of them are the Kraftpaper cover ones, which I love because I don't feel bad when I need to bend them back on themselves. I keep the small Moleskines together with a soft hair elastic, and clip the pen on the cover of the top one in the stack. I'm so organized. This is how it should have been for school and college. The difference between then and now is that no one is MAKING me take Coursera classes. Big yes for that.

Art concepts and techniques: I finished the lectures and took the week's quiz. I still need to make a piece of art in accordance with the class's "Fantastic art" guidelines, scan or photograph the work (in full and in closeup), and submit the resulting images. I have till 7 tonight to finish. Update: I fell asleep twice while reading for other classes, and don't have enough time left today to do the art.

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cover of Abbé Prévost's
Manon Lescaut
The other two classes I'm taking are relationships fiction and behind the scenes in archaeology.

Relationships fiction: I've done the first week's required work, which was lightweight intro stuff. The professor running the class gives lectures so aware and humane, he brought eyes to my eyes. I didn't expect to run into a mind and heart like this in a Coursera class.

Now, on to reading Manon Lescaut in full.

Behind the scenes in archaeology: I haven't done anything for this class. Though it seems like fun, this class also has the least importance for me, given my current focus. Yet, given the novels I'm trying to write, it may turn out to be more important than I'm allowing it to be right now. So I'm going to try to keep on track with it.

* * *

Writing this blog is good. I haven't blogged for a while, and my casual writing technique has kind of slid away. Most of the time I use to compose these posts is spent simplifying and clarifying the story. Uh oh, fire engines again.

Besides practicing simpler writing, blogging makes my classwork more visible to me, which has the strange effect of making me worry less. I guess by writing down what I've done, I don't care quite as much about the things I haven't done.

I hope writing these blogs will push me to doing class essays and peer reviews faster - right now, I'm taking too much time to do them. I'll report back about this in a few weeks.

I'm referring to classes by description, rather than their official titles. I don't like bowing to officialdom. Professors can be awfully officialdom-ish. This is one way I keep what's mine mine. So is calling the courses "classes,"  - the official term at Coursera is "courses." Ya didn't know I was that rebellious, did you? I didn't either, till now. 

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