Writing, Organizing or Procrastinating

Hello from the Fog and Flame,

I am in the Fog and Flame working on getting organized for the coming week. It is always a hope that I have my ducks-in-a-row, but to be honest, as my students will surely confirm, there are times I am more on top of things than other moments. While my intent is always good (or at least, I think it is), those best intentions are not always realized. This past week I met with three of my four sections of this semester (I still have my capstone course of sorts) that will meet tomorrow evening. First, I must commend the #FogandFlame for the great work they do every time I come in here. If you have not been here yet, you are missing a real gem here in Bloomsburg. They are working hard to make their little stop on Main Street a premier meeting place. I have my office hours here on Thursday afternoons and evenings from 3:00-7:00 p.m.. In the meanwhile, check this out (www.fogandflame.com or @FogandFlame).

Today as noted, I am merely trying to get things organized for the time up to Spring break. If I can have all my work into BOLT for my students up through the third week of March by the end of the week, I feel I can focus on other things. I am working on the “flipped” concept of teaching for my Technical Writing course this semester. While I have been aware of the concept up until now, I have not taken the time to really implement it. Because my Technical Writing course is a smaller course, I think it could be the ideal venue in which to implement this pedagogy. It reminds me that I should try to catch up with a curriculum coordinator for whom I have a great deal of respect. It has been too long. She and I have spoken about flipped classes on a few occasions.

If I accomplish what I hope to accomplish, then it will be on to reading and writing and trying to finish up a book review by tomorrow evening or Tuesday morning at the latest. The issue of writing, ironically, in spite of all I do that involves writing, has become more of a difficulty for me. I am not sure if it is I feel incapable or frightened. It is a bit weird to me, but for whatever reason, much like my students, I am struggling to get started. So I have found all sorts of ways to work with it and about it without doing it. That is a problem for a number of reasons. Some of them obvious and some not so obvious. The main issue is that I have to publish. I have so much actually written, but I am petrified to send it out. Rejection happens, but R and R is not a bad thing. I also am fortunate to have some people work with me, so I merely need to do it. I need to listen to Nike I guess.

Actually, I am very excited about all of the classes this semester. I think the changes I have made in texts for my Foundations classes will work with the memoir paper more effectively. I am going to try to do some different things with The Cider House Rules this semester. I think the question about Prochoice versus Prolife is such a complex societal issue and many are not willing to look at the complexity of this issue. I am always reminded of a person, one who was both a friend and a floormate when I first went to college. He borrowed money twice to “take care of an issue” with his girlfriend. The first time I did not think much about it; the second time, I remember asking pointedly, “wouldn’t a condom be cheaper?” I realized I was not comfortable nor was I supportive of those who used abortion as a form of birth control. As I have worked with Irving’s book now, off-and-on, for 10 years, I have been continually amazed how he lays out this controversial topic in very different ways in the book and the movie (he wrote the screen play for which he received an Academy Award). In addition, I am doing some more technological things for their learning outcomes. It will be interesting to see how this happens as I am still formulating that assignment.

In my Writing for Multiple Media class, I am fortunate to have some returning students from the fall Writing for the Internet class. That was one of my best group three classes (part of the Professional Writing minor) and I am hoping to build on that this semester. Because I have two client groups that are the same as well as a template for the other three groups from something a group did last semester, I am hoping that this can be one of my best semesters at Bloom. While it will involve some work, I am hoping that it will be certainly worth the time and effort.

Well, while this has been part of what I need to do, it has also been a way to do the very thing I noted in my title. Back to writing and organizing.

Thanks to all who have read.

Dr. Martin (aka: Michael)

Wisconsin Weather in Pennsylvania


Good Morning from my office,

I am still working on housekeeping details for the new semester and this little corner of the world, known as 119B Bakeless, has seen more of me than any other place. For the last 13 days, it seems I have spent more time at my desk and worked on more things than one might imagine. At this point, I have met with three of my four sections of class (only my Writing for Multiple Media class has yet to meet) and it was pleasant to see so many emails as students tried to work on the first of some of the technological items they have to manage for the first week of class.

In the first six years that I have been blogging, I have watched the importance and the variety of blogs become quite an interesting thing, I initially blogged as a sort of journal. I was working in the Miraflores winery that summer, which is located outside of Placerville, California. I had the pleasure and great fortune of meeting Marco Cappelli, one of the most truly Renaissance persons, I have ever gotten to know. He is amazing. Here are a couple of links you might so you might have an opportunity to meet him also (http://www.winesandvines.com/template.cfm?content=57321&section=features) (http://www.sacmag.com/Sacramento-Magazine/May-2009/On-Wine-Putting-the-Foothills-on-the-Map/). The summer I spent out in the Sierra Nevada Mountains changed my life.

When I came back to Wisconsin, I continued to blog and my blog at that point took a sort of cultural/philosophical personality. I wrote about things I noticed everyday and things that caused me to step back and wonder. In someways those blogs were both cathartic and freeing. I had a space to say things that I believed somehow needed to be said, while I did not ask for a following, I imagine some people did read because I got comments. I should also note that it is not that I believe I am that wise or profound that people need to listen to, or read texts about, things I believe need to be said. Yet, I do believe that I am willing to see a bigger picture often. During the time I have been here at Bloomsburg, I have not been as disciplined about the writing. That is sad because I think it has affected my writing. I find it harder to write, more difficult to get started, and infinitely more frightened about whether or not I have something worth saying. I should note that this seems to be the same across all of my writing.

So, while I have written a bit more regularly in this WordPress blog, I plan to be even more disciplined. I will write at least three times a week. In those posts, I will try to cover three things: things I am observing in my class will provide some of the text that I want to consider in my writing. I want to reflect on what is happening in my classes as well as do some scholarly work with that reflection. Second, I am going to be doing some other needed writing and I want to use this as a sort of sounding board (for my own mind, if you will) for that writing as well as a sort of discipline to say this is what I am accomplishing. Third, in being as I have always been, to be somewhat reflective on what is happening in and around my life.

At this point, I am headed off to a meeting with various constituencies and the dean about the certificate, the minor, and the proposed major track in professional writing. I hope you have a good day and can stay warm.

Dr. Martin (aka: Michael)