Friday, December 11, 2009

Wayward Child: End of Semester Recap

Hey guys! First, sorry it's been eight years since I've posted. I apologize for not keeping posted all through the semester. I'm not sure I've written a blog post in the last year where I haven't apologized for my absence at the beginning, so this is kind of par for the course from me.

To recap: Hi, I'm Katie. I'm a fiction writer at Southern Illinois in Carbondale. And an hour from now, I'm going to walk into my afternoon class and finish teaching my first semester of grad school. It's insane. While I was congratulating and praising my first class for their awesomeness this morning, I kind of unexpectedly choked up a little, and got the slow-clap thing from them-- it was nice. I've really enjoyed teaching. This semester, I taught composition, which presented a lot of challenges; however, it was on a department wide syllabus, which is a wonderful thing SIU does that helps.

But I got my teaching assignment yesterday: I'm moving up to 102, which is still Composition, but I'll be writing my own syllabus and making my own assignments. I'm excited, I'm scared, but more than anything, after this semester, I'm ready.

My workshop-- my first fiction workshop of all time-- wrapped on Monday, and was great. I'd say all three of the stories I turned in had major failings in them, but I can see each time some improvement. I'm starting to publish-- poetry at a journal called "Big Lucks" and fiction at a journal called "The Meadowland Review"-- and next semester, because I'm a glutton for punishment, I'm signing up for a poetry workshop and a fiction workshop. Yikes! So again: I'm excited, I'm scared, I'm ready.

This semester has been exciting in other ways, too, though: I've continued writing for the Evansville Courier and Press, even though I moved away, and that granted me the ability to do some really cool music interviews. This semester, I interviewed everyone from Uncle Kracker to Loretta Lynn-- in fact, a few minutes ago, I got off the phone with the singer from the Oak Ridge Boys (they sing "Elvira"). Just a huge, huge semester for me.

But what blows my mind is that it's almost over. Sure, I've got some grading to do, but not much else. So my question to you guys is this: Now that it's winding down, what are you doing over break to prepare? I'm going to try and get a working syllabus for 102, write a few stories for workshop in the fall (Pinckney Benedict!) and some poems ready for my poetry workshop (ALLISON JOSEPH). Also, I'm having my family up from Texas to celebrate Christmas in Illinois and Indiana with my boyfriend and me this year-- so I've got to go Christmas shopping on a grad student salary! Double yikes. (Suggestions for gifting are also welcome. :) )

I basically just wanted to check in, promise I'll do better at updating next semester, and say that I've genuinely enjoyed reading everyone's updates and getting to know them this year. You guys have really helped me feel like I've got a community. Thanks to Jonterri for setting this up and letting me participate.


  1. Katie, it sounds like you've had a great semester! Two publications? That's awesome!!!

    My plans for break are, first, to do all the practical stuff I haven't done recently - sleep, laundry, cleaning, etc. Second, to do some reading for fun which will inevitably inspire writing. Third, to revise my syllabus for spring semester - I'm teaching the same class again and we're supposed to stick to the department-generated syllabus but after teaching the class once, there are a few tweaks I want to make. Fourth, to submit submit submit! I've not made the time to do many submissions this semester, so that's definitely a goal for break.

  2. You got the slow-clap! Nice! Congrats, you sound like you are getting a lot out of teaching.

    My goodness, I see why you are signing up for both fiction and poetry workshops...look who's teaching them!

    I'm using this break to re-focus. I need to read, read, read, read and read. And I need to write after I do that. So I'm just going to focus on getting some work done so I can hit the ground running next semester and have some poems that I have a distance from before I submit them to workshop. I've learned that I get so much more from workshop when I do that. Also, I'm wanting to try a more lyrical style of writing so I plan to read that type of stuff and start experimenting. I'm excited about that.

    I was really hoping people would be posting their semeter recaps so I'm glad you got that ball rolling. We aren't the nervous balls of energy we were at the beginning of the semester. You're like teaching and stuff lol. Very cool. Have a great break!

  3. I need to spend the break writing a new story that I will use for workshop next semester.

    I'll post a recap of my semester soon. . . after I finish a 25 page paper I still need to finish for a lit class!

  4. wow! the people you are going to work with are amazing and interviewing Loretta Lynn and The Oak Ridge Boys? I'm in awe. Grew up listening to them :)

    Had a fiction seminar with Pinckney during the low-res program at Queens and he is intense but AMAZING!

    Have a great 2nd term.

  5. Wow, guys, thanks for all the comments! I'm glad to hear everyone else is looking forward to break, too. I'm kind of excited to get back to my guitar and take a break, but I've got to get some stuff ready for workshop: I have some kind of surrealist fiction that I'd really like to be ready by the time I meet with Pinckney. (And Jonterri, for real! This program is insane! This semester, my workshop was with Beth Lordan-- we also have Rodney Jones, the poet! But I'm really, really excited about working with Allison. She's a poet I wish I could write like.) Jennifer, I'm looking forward to your recap! And Jessie, thanks for the heads-up-- I'm psyched to work with him, but I'e heard he's intense, haha.


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