Sunday, December 21, 2008

And Now, More Things I Learned This Semester

I don't know if I've wrapped every semester like this, and I'm too lazy to check back. In my mind, I have done this every semester, and I've boiled each class down to a single paragraph containing one thing I took away from each class.

A list of surprising things Elliot learned this semester.

I learned that eight years later, I remembered all the words to John Donne's Holy Sonnet #14 (the first line is "At the round Earth's imagin'd corners" and it was turned into a choral piece that I sang my senior year of high school). Sadly, though this was in our book, it was not one that we had to read, so therefore, served me no purpose when th extra credit question was to copy out an entire sonnet that we had read for this semester.

Collaborating on a screenplay, even just six pages of one and a synopsis, basically means that by the time it's done you've got a product that nobody in your group really wants to lay claim to. And also that if left to it with no clear direction, one group will turn out a screenplay that feels so much like Beckett's Endgame even though none of them have ever so much as seen a play.

I may have already discussed this, but Ernest Hemingway writes the best.sentences.ever. Don'e believe me? Check it out, Shortstack:

"The girl came in with the coffee and buttered toast. Or, rather, it was bread toasted and buttered."

and this is the best exchange of dialogue in a novel, ever:

"You asked me what I knew about Brett Ashley"
"I didn't ask you to insult her."
"Oh, go to hell."
He stood up from the table with his face white, and stood there white and angry behind the plates of hors d'oeurves.
"Sit down," I said. "Don't be a fool."
"You've got to take that back."
"Oh, cut out the prep-school stuff."
"Take it back."
"Sure. Anything. I never heard of Brett Ashley. How's that?"
"No. Not that. About me going to hell."
"Oh, don't go to hell," I said. "Stick around. We're just starting lunch."

I learned that I am almost as much of a beer snob as some people are wine snobs. And also that I still harbor ill will towards a former employer of mine. And also that getting the teacher drunk before giving your own presentation actually pays off.

See the post just below this one to see another amazing thing I learned. But the other thing I learned for this particular class is that the WU Lab Fee pays for ridiculous stuff sometimes. Like T-shirts and bags of chips and a DVD viewing system that works just about as well as you'd expect a rusted out Pinto to work.

I learned that I can, in fact, be a good writer some day. And I think that one's probably the most important thing I learned. After the spring semester, for some reason I was feeling like maybe my skills weren't as keen as I thought. That actually kind of explains the lackluster blogging. But now, I turned out seriously a hell of a piece, I think. And the thing about it is, like with my one-act play I wrote last fall (which I actually shouldn't mention the title of at this point, since I submitted it to a blind competition and you can never be too sure about who is clicking on links and googling my name), the subject matter is important to me in a very personal way. And that's all I'll say about it for now.

Happy Holidays. Maybe over break I'll blog a little more. And then after that...

ONE
MORE
SEMESTER

3 comments:

bridget said...

one...more...semester...what's next? i enjoy your writing and was about to give you some trouble on your lack of blogging when i discovered this post. happy holiday to you too...see you soon. aunt b.

Molly said...

YaY! One more!! Has your mother told you she's proud of you? She is! You're the best son a mother could want. Even without "frontsies". (eww)

Becca said...

Congrats on 1 more semester!! : ) I'm hoping the same thing for myself... at least, for this degree anyways.

Also, I'm really jealous that you now have 2 kitties.

And, just so you know, this is the first time I've read your blog in ages, and reading it caused my firefox to CRASH! It has NEVER done that before. I'm blaming your blog.

Oh, and I don't forgive you for not coming up to MN during the holidays.

Toodles!