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)
One thought on “Writing, Organizing or Procrastinating”
Dear Dr. Martin,
It seems when the time this post was written you had a lot on your plate, just as you do now. There is so much to do now as the end of the school year is just 3 weeks away, for you and for me. Procrastination has seemed to get the better of me lately as well. And while I know I will get everything done, does that mean it’s my best work? Probably not. So as these last three weeks fly by, I am going to try a more productive approach to finish off strong.
It is refreshing to see your thought process on how you hope and plan to accomplish everything. In addition, I have enjoyed your thoughts on the “flipped” concept for this technical writing course. Being that I am in this course now, I can see how much work you have put into making it have your pedagogy, as well as making it a course to benefit your students’ futures. I hope you were able to meet up with the curriculum coordinator to discuss this concept also.
In regard to your difficulties in getting started with your writing. I often have this problem as well. While I do not have to publish like you, maybe someday I might. However, when I have this problem now, it is because I constantly think of all the other things I must complete, and cannot focus directly on my writing assignments as I know they will require more thought. So to fix this, I simply step aside from everything else and try to get my writing done early so I will be the majority of the way done, and can revise later, requiring a little less of a thought process. Easier said than done, but it is what works for me. I do not doubt you also have your own way of fixing your procrastination or writer’s block.
Lastly, I think the change you have implemented to your Foundations class with The Cider House Rules is a great thing. It will get them to think and have their own opinions on Prolife versus Prochoice, and be able to share them without judgment. Even today this is a complex societal issue, and your memory involving your friend really shows the issues with this. Not everyone will always agree in society, but I have to say I agree with your stand on this, even with being a woman myself.
Thank you for your wise words, and I hope you were able to successfully surpass your writer’s block and get back to writing and organizing.