Wednesday, March 14, 2007

Over-workshopped

Spring break came and went way too fast. But now my week is over again and the work I'll do now is less public, if not more intense. I'm teaching two three-hour workshops this semester and it's the best and worst of all worlds. On the one hand, three hours gives us plenty of time to get in the mode of workshopping, to relate our reading to the workshop pieces and to develop a sort of workshop aesthetic. On the other hand, by the end of the 2nd hour, the class starts to lag. I lag. The students get cheeky. Sometimes frustrated with each other. There has to be a way to shake up workshop so it's not all praise and suggestion--although my students are really good at the praise and critique and we're working hard toward making truly creative and helpful suggestions--but this takes so many mental gymnastics--to not only read and comprehend a piece, but to find its signature strengths and its integral flaws and then to imagine how to reinforce those strengths and explore, explode and fix the flaws is more like running 3 miles than running 3 miles is. I am so impressed with my students and their stamina. I'm less impressed with my own until I remind myself that every comment one of them makes I need to: hear and comprehend, find its signature strength and integral flaw and then reinforce its good point and find a way to incorporate its flaw into something constructive. Workshopping the workshop is like hauling up a net of fish, flieting them, cooking them up just right and serving them with an unbroken hollandaise.

On another note: I'm so sad. Z needs an MRI for her ever-large head. I didn't want to blog about it because I don't want anyone to look at her and see how big her head is but what if there is something wrong? Encephalitis? Hydro-encephalitis? What if she needs brain surgery? What if she needs to wear a helmet that re-shapes her head? How do I know how to worry with the right weight? My mom says it never ends, the worry. But an MRI on a 20 month old? Hard to find in my own head about where to hang the balance.

6 comments:

Trista said...

Oh that sounds very scary. I hope they find that nothing's wrong and that she just has a super big brain and is super smart and will grow into her head eventually. But I've never actually seen her in person. Still, that's what I'm hoping for.

Lisa B. said...

The whole thing about a baby and tests is just crazy-making. But what a sweet smart girl she is. That's the thing to remember. Kisses and good thoughts from me to you, Z and E.

val said...

She is perfect. In every way.

Counterintuitive said...

You've successfully motivated me to think about and rev up for my upcoming workshops in 1010. Workshopping the workshop is indeed a complex and brain-taxing task--yet often quite rewarding.

Dr. Write said...

Yes. Love to you and Z and E. I'm sure she's fine. How can she not be?
Plus good job on the workshop. I just try to make sure they are nice.

Scorpion's Tail said...

don't know what to say except do the test and see what they say. No information is bad for writers because they imagine too much. Some information is usually helpful. Don't go crazy with internet research yet. Stay focused on that workshop. LOVE