I printed out the grading rubrics and module requirements and everything else that I could, including the syllabus, for SNHU’s ENG 510 “Studying the Craft” course that will begin on 22 Jun 2020. That is a mere week and a half from now. The professor contacted me regarding the disability services that I will need for the course and made sure I knew that she will do whatever she can to make sure that I have the best possible experience in this course. I let her know that I, too (like her) am a Veteran, and I thanked her for her service. She did likewise, which was a good start to great rapport as far as I am concerned. My professor for this course will be finishing her MFA mere days after we finish this course, so she is understandably excited right now. I would be, too! She is retired Air Force and taught at the Air Force Academy for quite some time. I am impressed with her CV and think that I am in good hands as far as a first professor at SNHU goes. I am put at ease significantly by our communications so far. It gives me a lot of confidence to know that she is someone whom I can talk to about any difficulties I am having and ask questions of if needed. My advisor is also a person whom I feel I can reach out to for help, so I think I am sitting in a pretty good spot right now. We will see if I still feel that way at the end of Week One or Week Two of the course…
We are to choose two works, preferably fiction or nonfiction–one classic and one contemporary–that we can build our Final Project from. This Final Project is going to be a “Writer’s Toolkit”, thus we must dissect these two works that we choose ourselves and come up with the “tools of the trade” from them. They must somehow share their themes, which is interesting, and must be of the same genre. I think I have chosen my two works, and I will have to get them approved by the professor before using them, of course. The two novels that I have in mind are both fiction and, though both have television counterparts based on them, I have not preoccupied myself at any time with any of the screen writings or airings of any televised material associated with either of them. One of the books I have read and the other I have not. I do know from a summary of the one that I have not read that I can reasonably make some potentially fantastic connections between the themes of the two of them. Having already read one of them helps me to choose from the classics which of the novels would be a good bet on that count. The classic fiction novel that I have in mind is by Aldous Huxley, and the contemporary fiction novel that I hope to use is by Neil Gaiman. Yes, you may wonder what these two authors may possibly have in common and what books may have any theme whatsoever to do with one another, but my mind is already working in overdrive concerning the similarities in theme and audience between the two novels. True, an obvious tie between the two is that they are both British authors, but I have much, much deeper ideas about their similarities and the “tools” I can extract from their writings in these two works that are potentially going to be my reading material day and night for the next 10 weeks. I do hope that these two fiction novels that I have chosen are approved by the professor!
This being my first term online with SNHU, I am somewhat intimidated for several reasons. First, I am using the “other side of my brain”. Literally. I have two B.S. degrees and an M.S. degree. Science has been my area of expertise and education since the year 2001. I have, however, always considered my sideline writing my saving grace in times of distress for most of my life. I was an active member of Writing.com for a very long time (I still pay my dues, but have not been active for several years), and am now engaging others through my climbing blog that I have been working on for four years now. I have also become active with National Novel Writing Month (NaNoWriMo) for the past two Novembers, in which you attempt to write a 50,000-word novel in 30 days. That’s about 1100 words per day, and that is why I have begun the practice of writing 1000 words a day (or at the very least, attempting it) for the last two months. One thousand words, depending on who you are and what you do with your time, may seem like a pittance of a work, or a monumental work. I find that 1000 words is not a terribly difficult number to reach some days, and other days, it is an overwhelming task and I do not make it. I do try to write something, though! Six hundred words are better than none, I tell myself.
My doctor recommended these exercises to me in order to help me manage my PTSD, and I have to say that they work quite effectively sometimes. I say “sometimes” because I cannot always concentrate well enough to make anything productive happen. For example, today, I did not go climbing. I did not go climbing yesterday, either. As a matter of fact, I have not climbed since 08 May 2020, and before that, I had not climbed since 17 Mar 2020 (St. Patrick’s Day) due to the Governor’s Stay-At-Home Order and the subsequent shut-down of all non-essential businesses, which included, so very unfortunately, my climbing gym. Now, I have a halfway serious case of agoraphobia and have trouble going anywhere outside by myself. I am working on that. Stupid pandemic, anyway.