01 January, 2020

hello, 2020

these reprobates, napping after chaos
I woke up with a headache (sinus and weather, not excess aquavit, though, you know... that could've contributed) and cleaned up cat poop before I even got coffee this morning, so, you know... it's either an omen for the upcoming year or, like, another normal damn day.

I'm going with the latter.

School starts next week, both uni and the high school. I'm pretty psyched about both. The uni comp class has a new theme this year--food, of all things, after years of Beowulf and Sir Gawain and the Green Knight and Aristotle. The idea was...I want them to write, but I want them to feel like they have something to say. Food does that. Everyone (with one exception last quarter) has some emotional connection/story with a particular food or foods. Most of my students are international, and suffering language culture shock along with oh god, you want me to eat what? There's a lot of loving detail to be mined about grandma's jiaozu or stinky tofu or pie.

I feel guilty that the subject's not harder but... eh. I got some Pythagoras in there, translated by Ovid, and I'm still making them read closely and analyze texts. It's just a little easier for them. And I've gotten some of the best writing I've ever seen, so... I think it's fine. It's also a lot less work on my end. When I taught the hardcore texts, I had fabulous peer tutors attached to my classes. Like TAs, kinda, with dedicated office hours specifically for my class and assignments. Mine were exceptional. Both went on to grad school, one to be an actual teacher (and some school somewhere will be goddamned lucky to get her), and without them, there are not enough hours in the week to teach the hard texts, do all the commenting, and...write.

Because I am given to understand that writing is a job, too, and needs time, even if it sits third in my priorities. It shouldn't, but it has to most of the time. Students, y'all. Also the paychecks that actually pay the bills.

The high school class this semester (they're on semester; uni's on quarter. PITA) is basically D&D, which I have been playing and DMing since, oh, never you mind. AD&D and THAC0 and saving throw tables. That long. It's been a bit of a challenge to learn 5e well enough that I think I can teach it. I expect some of the students will already know how to play. Others will be brand new. It's going to be... totally uncharted territory, for me, teaching actual skills to these kids, instead of trying to expose them to all these different texts they won't get in their normal English classes. But this is going to be the last year, I think, I can teach there. Best I go out with the class I am most nervous and excited to teach.

Because... the writing. It does need more than third place. I have plans. I have ideas. I have so many stories I want to write, and no time to do it. I have one manuscript coming back from my editor Soon I Hope(tm), to be published in October, and another due to that same editor in June (currently with my agent, who said I'd leveled up with this book, which means I didn't underwrite it this time).

But after those...

I have an idea. I'm taking notes on it now. Will I outline? Eh. Maybe. Broadly. But for now I'm in the thinking phase--characters are starting to surface, conflicts, personalities. Themes. I would very much like this one to be a standalone, but we shall see. I need to write it first.

But today, actual New Years... I am going to play Borderlands 3 with Nous and drink imperial stout and eat tamales and probably more pepparkakor because my god that recipe makes a ton of them. Tomorrow is soon enough to work.

Happy New Year.