Stephanie Burgis
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Hell Week
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Sorry for the lack of journal entries lately--this is Hell Week (which may stretch a bit into next week, depending on how my conference paper-writing goes--the conference is next Wednesday). Teaching much more than usual, at the same time as trying to meet major thesis deadlines, fun. My first-ever lecture to 200 students yesterday was so fiasco-like that someday in the future, I'm sure it'll seem funny. I got there early. I figured out how to use all the computer equipment. I took deep breaths and waited calmly for everyone to come into the lecture hall. I hoped not to stumble too much over my words, and worried that I wasn't prepared enough. Ten minutes after class was due to start, I still hadn't seen a single student. Guess what? The class had been moved to a different building, on the other side of campus! (And no, I hadn't been told.) As I tore across campus, gripping my hundreds of handouts, notes, video and CD, I told myself, Someday this will seem funny to me. But it'll be a little longer yet before that comes true...

I got there 15 minutes late, just as everyone was starting to leave. They turned around. I apologized, told them they were free to leave if they felt they needed to--but that they might be missing important information for the upcoming final exam (which is true). They decided to stay, I figured out how to use the different computer/projection equipment in that lecture theater, took a deep breath, and got started. Bizarrely, the lecture itself went pretty well, maybe because I was too upset to worry about being nervous. I got the students to participate quite a bit throughout (my biggest priority for any lecture, because I hate the whole idea of lecturing AT people as a teaching method) and I got good feedback from students at the end. But still. Afterwards, I collapsed--then went home and started working madly on my thesis.

No time for writing yesterday, but I wrote another 3 pages of Chapter Ten of Music of the Stars this morning, and I've borrowed a copy of The Screenwriters' Bible, which is supposed to be a really useful writing book for novelists as well as screenwriters, in terms of working on dramatic structure. I'm also trying very hard to think of some new short story ideas...we'll see.

As long as I can get through the week!

My big consolation has been that I checked out the Joan Sutherland box set CD "The Art of the Prima Donna" from the library this week. She's my absolute favorite singer for 19th-century opera arias, and there are some amazing moments in this CD. My favorite aria--which I'd never heard before--is the Bell song from Lakme, by Delibes. Absolutely gorgeous and, at times, even eerie. Really, really cool.

Now back to work!

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