Sunday, January 29, 2012

TSS - 1.29.12

Can someone please tell me where all my free time goes in the course of a week?  I started off the New Year with great hopes of writing blog posts two to three times a week, and I find myself barely able to crank out a Sunday Salon post before the weekend is over.  This cannot be the new normal, can it?!

Teaching:
I have started teaching Pride and Prejudice in the British literature course.   This is the fifth time I have taught the book, and probably the seventh time I have read it.  My own children just roll their eyes when I tell them that I "have" to read the book again.  They don't understand my need to refresh my memory in the hopes of fully engaging the class in a lively discussion.

But this time around I have noticed something a bit different.  Since I am already well versed in the plot, and I essentially know what is going to happen in nearly every chapter, I am finding that this re-read is enabling me to see subtle character development that I have missed before - particularly with the minor characters such as Mary Bennet and Charlotte Lucas.  And I continue to marvel at Jane Austen's ability to weave each detailed description into the overall work as a whole.  And of course, I am always anxious to come across my favorite lines of the book - it is as though I have run into a long lost friend whom I desire to visit for awhile.
"An unhappy alternative is before you, Elizabeth. From this day you must be a stranger to one of your parents.—Your mother will never see you again if you do not marry Mr. Collins, and I will never see you again if you do."     - Mr. Bennet
One of the male students in the class remarked that nothing happens in this story, and while I disagreed with his statement I did add that this book is definitely not a plot-driven novel, but rather a character-driven novel.  As a class we spent quite a bit of time discussing this subject and I proposed that while plot-driven novels are a lot of fun to read because they keep us at the edge of our seats, they are rarely suitable for literary study.  Whereas, character-driven novels, and theme-driven novels, provide ample material for class discussions.  What do you think?  Was this too broad of a statement?

Personal:
The training of Feeny, our inherited basset hound puppy, continues at a very slow pace.  I must say that I am pleased that he is now nearly house-broken - having an accident perhaps once every two or three days rather than two or three times a day.  Of course, he still prefers to use our garage to the backyard, but I figure first things first.  He still continues to bark when I leave the room, although it is not quite as immediate or as long as it used to be.  I suppose I should not be too anxious for this new dog to learn new tricks.


He almost found himself on the streets this week, however, when he managed to jump up to the table and take my husband's cell phone.  Before we could stop him, he had already chewed it to the point of destruction.  Fortunately for him - those floppy ears and droopy eyes made it impossible to stay angry for long. 

I have managed to take a picture every day this week - so the month of January only saw one missed day in the 365 Project.  The pictures still tend to chronicle my week rather than focus on creative photography, but I figure there is plenty of time to work my way into that arena.

I spent my free Thursday this week trying to teach myself PhotoShop Elements.  Oh boy, this is going to take some time.  In the nearly three hours I spent with the software program I learned how to upload a picture, make use of the quick edits, and employ the basic concept of cloning.  I tried to eradicate the "black scarf" from one of my Paris pictures (for those who are regular followers of my blog, you know to what I am referring).  While I did manage to make the blemish "disappear" - I must confess that it is rather rough around the edges - literally.  Oh well, I keep reminding myself that I am on a long journey here and I wish to enjoy every step of the way.

Reading:
Unfortunately, this continued fascination with photography has meant that I have failed the TBR Double Dare Challenge.  Sorry, C.B.  I have picked up several books from the library, and actually used my recent Barnes and Noble 20% off coupon to purchase two new books for my personal collection.  To try to broaden my scope of potential pictures for the 365 Project, I purchased Jim Krause's book, Photo Idea Index.  I like the fact that he uses ordinary cameras and lenses (available to the masses rather than just the professionals) and that he uses lots of pictures to illustrate his points.

And to continue to help me understand the fundamentals of photo composition I purchased Peter Ensenberger's book, Composing Photos.  Again, this book provides lots of visual stimulation - as well as post-it note comments - to help me understand what I have read in several other books before.

I have continued to read - albeit rather slowly - the first book in the Harry Potter series.  And while I am probably half way through, I am sure that I will not finish by the end of the month - which was my original goal.  Oh well, this is another test in my resolve to enjoy the journey of life - and not be so intent on the end results.

Writing:
I continue to enjoy the Travel Writing course with Dave Fox - although this week I have not been able to motivate myself to write the assigned essay.  I have received some positive feedback on the previous two essays, as well as some very good constructive criticism.  Perhaps I am afraid that I don't have a third quality essay inside me?  Or perhaps my travel journeys do not quite have the universal appeal as I originally thought?  Or perhaps I don't have the necessary discipline to be a writer?  I'm not sure....but I refuse to admit defeat - just perhaps a bit of writer's block.

I cannot that this week marks the beginning of February!  Perhaps I will be able to do a better job of posting this next month.

12 comments:

Liz said...

Your personal cheerleader says you're doing great!:) Always fun to catch up on your week. You're doing a lot, Molly!

Kaye said...

Sounds like you got a lot accomplished this week,Molly. The time does seem to slip by very quickly, that's for sure.

Have a good week!

C.B. James said...

Free time!! When do you have free time? You are one busy person. I'm in awe. Even if you did stray from the TBR goal.

As for a chewing Bassett hound, I'm afraid you'll probably just have to get used to it. They love to chew. We've just decided to adapt to Dakota's chewing habits and now keep the coffee table in the living room well stocked with chewable coasters we pick up at thrift stores. This tends to keep her away from my books at least.

Staci said...

I would love to be in your Lit class while reading and talking about P&P!!! Photoshop Elements 10 makes me crazy!!!!!!!!!!!

Jenners said...

Amazing what cute dogs can get away with, isn't it?

Sandy Nawrot said...

So much to comment on! I absolutely LOVE P&P, and in a perfect world I would read it every year. Ha! That is not going to happen, but it sounds like heaven to be able to dig into it like you have. And no I don't think that is too broad a statement. What can you discuss about a plot-driven novel? How exciting it was when they jumped off the building? How devastated you were when Joe was shot? I think you are steering your flock down the right path!

Alyce said...

I completely understand the value and comfort of re-reading old favorites. I anticipate my favorite lines during my best-loved books too. :)

I had forgotten about how much puppies chew on things. Our dog did so much damage to our house that first year we had her (she chewed through our downstairs carpet and we ended up installing wood floors instead). She's an angel for the most part now, and her only flaw is that she gets too excited and pulls on the leash sometimes. I'm sure your puppy will learn quickly too (hopefully before any other damage is done).

Cozy in Texas said...

I know what you mean. Here we are - Monday again.
Interesting project - 365.
Ann

Belle Wong said...

It's been a while since I last read P&P - and now you've made me want to do a reread! I can't believe how January's just flown by, too. I'm not nearly as busy with work this month but there are so many things I want to do, so many creative things, that I feel like I can't just pick one. And then I get stuck not doing anything, because I'm worried I'll focus too much on any one thing.

Lisa said...

I think the rest of the post answered the question you posed in the first paragraph - you've been a busy lady spreading your interests in all kinds of places. Your photography exploration really has me wanting a new camera - although I don't suppose I've explored all that the camera I have could do yet. Maybe it's time to get that instruction manual out!

lifeonthecutoff said...

I was just telling a friend the other day that someone broke into my day and took several hours and I haven't been able to find them since. The good thing is, my, and your, days are filled with wonderful things.

Your posts always inspire me, Molly, and I'm in awe of your readiness to always learn and do more.

(Diane) Bibliophile By the Sea said...

Your new puppy is adorable Molly -- maybe he needed to make a call?? LOL

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