Books Readings Teaching Travel Writing

Teaching, year 1: achievement unlocked. Also, Wiscon schedule.

Year one of full-time teaching: complete! I taught five courses (three of which were new preps) and supervised four senior Independent Study projects. It was tiring, but I had a great time and got to read some really wonderful student writing. In the fall, I’ll be teaching my first year seminar “Coming of Age at the End of the World” again, as well as introductory creative writing; in spring, I’m scheduled to teach intro again, as well as the advanced fiction/linked short story class I just finished teaching. I’ll also be advising a whole crop of senior IS projects. I love one-on-one writing mentoring, so I’m excited.

And now, novel writing. As of today, I have 37.5K words drafted. Starting last week, I’ve been aiming for 1K/day and hitting it consistently. When I’m not writing I’m usually:

  1. Reading: research and pleasure. Lately the research has included books on the history of vivisection and on schoolroom poets in the late 19th century, as well as some basic information about college debating practices before the turn of the century. Before that I was steadily reading through matchmaking-centric YA dystopians looking for trends. And I’m reading Wolf Hall, finally. I love it and want to eat Hilary Mantel’s brains. All of them.
  2. Doing yoga.
  3. Cooking.
  4. Running. Slowly.
  5. Going to end-of-year parties, retirement parties, farewell parties. Lots of people leaving! But also many people coming back from leave, new hires, etc. More on this soon.
  6. Watching procedurals on Netflix. I loved the hell out of Life and am excited for Homeland to come out on DVD/streaming so I can watch Damian Lewis be odd and damaged again. His Charlie Crews on Life is one of the most entertaining characters I’ve encountered in a while.

I even got to the movies and finally saw The Hunger Games, which I liked better as an adaptation than I’d expected to (especially the first bit, pre-Games).

And, this weekend, I’ll be at Wiscon!

My schedule is as follows:

  • Outer Alliance party Friday night, assuming my flight gets in on time
  • 4 pm Saturday: Adaptations, a reading featuring Malinda Lo, Meghan McCarron, Jen Volant, and me — guess I’d better remind myself which snippets of Killingly I want to read.
  • 8:30 am Sunday (groan):¬†Heteronormativity in YA Dystopian SF (me, Malinda Lo, Neesha Meminger, Julia Rios)
    • One of the biggest trends in young adult science fiction in the last few years has been dystopian novels about matchmaking or marriage. The vast majority of these novels feature heteronormative societies in which deviation from heterosexuality (and, to a lesser extent, traditional gender roles) is not only not done, it is largely erased as a possibility. Because these novels focus on romance, love, and sexuality, the fact that queer sexualities are almost entirely absent from the texts suggests a number of interesting and potentially problematic things about the discourse on girls and sexuality in YA science fiction. The panelists will discuss these popular novels and the representation of gender and sexuality within them.
  • 8:30 am Monday: Responding to the Literary Canon (me, Dr. Janice M. Bogstad. Jeff Heard, Eddie Schneider, Patricia C Wrede)
    • Writers can respond to the literary canon in a variety of ways, from explicit adaptations to interrogations (like Le Guin’s conversation with Virgil in Lavinia) to more subtle revisions (Hamlet lurking in the structure of Atwood’s Oryx & Crake). What constitutes a good adaptation of another work? What defines an unfaithful adaptation? What crimes against source material would you like to outlaw?

I’d promise to post again soon with a Wiscon update, but in fact I’ll probably be doing the above activities for most of the summer. My goal is to finish a draft of the novel before the fall semester begins. Wish me luck!


  1. Your schedule sounds fascinating – I wish that I could be there! Are there going to be videos or transcripts? P.S. Cheryl Strayed and Pam Houston gave great readings last night; I snagged a signed copy of WILD for you!

  2. I’m both excited and jealous that you’re going to be on panels/doing readings with Malinda Lo. Would love to hear the Killingly snippets too–are any of the sessions going to be recorded or transcribed do you know?

  3. Malinda and I are also rooming together! Birds of a… queer-story-adapting feather… or something? Anyway, it should be lots of fun.

    I don’t think the readings are usually recorded/transcribed in any official way, but if I see anybody with a camera recording, I will ask for a copy! And Rach, I can send you a copy of what I’ve got on Killingly so far if you want to see it, rough as it is.

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