Wednesday, February 28, 2007

Process Paper G1-2/Goddard

Well, I’ve decided to begin the process letter before getting all of my packet number two materials together. First I acknowledge the record being made with the use of the process letter, and I feel this is an adequate time to be recorded in history. I read your response a few days ago, and received my return packet today. Naturally I’m disappointed in the response as well as my work. Indeed I am livid even thinking about having to go over my critical work again. It left a bad taste in my mouth the first go around, and it’s a certain character flaw I’ve got, getting angry about having to do something more than once. I was a little shaky on the whole annotations process at the residency, and now I feel I could kick myself for not saying something then. The short session I attended didn’t help me, and I wasn’t able to formulate questions during that time. Who knows, perhaps it wouldn’t have saved any time. But alas, I am going through something in my life as it is, and so instead of barking at problems I’ll offer a solution. Simply said we are required to complete 45-60 annotations, and I hope I get more focused and better at doing them. I think a good use of my time during the residency, and more specifically enough during our group session would have been the writing of an annotation. I think if I had the opportunity to have instant feedback, and instant practice and a time to work with others I would have been in batter shape now. As it stands I feel this is a step back I didn’t really need, because it isn’t just the first three annotations, it’s the second group of three I wrote before getting the response. At this point I’m concerned about time, the deadlines and more specifically enough, my time. I’ll leave this portion of the letter as it is, and I hope the MLA handbook (yuck!) and your notes will prove helpful. I also hope I tackle the rewrite with grace rather than contempt.

After about a week of working on these annotations and my creative work I’ve had some time to reflect of things. Admittedly I still have a bad taste in my mouth about the critical work. I’ve also spent some well needed time thinking about the process as it were and my motivation in this MFA endeavor. I’ve also been working on time management too.
Of the first three annotations I was only able to rework the Johnson annotation. I’m still working on the other two. I will have them ready by the third packet and the first critical paper as well. They are taking more time than I had anticipated, which I suppose is typical. It’s been more than ten years since I’ve had to tax my critical writing. I feel those ten years too. Are these annotations this difficult for everyone?
The creative work it proving a little more difficult than I thought. When I think about it I’m not sure why I’m having such a difficult time. When I feel a little deflated about it I like to look at my collection of composition notebooks which I feel are noteworthy here. After I graduated from Metro State in 1997 I started writing in notebooks. I suppose it was because I was traveling constantly in those days and the notebooks were convenient. Mostly I think there were a few thrills with notebooks. I loved getting a new one and the promise of the things I would write. The only thrill greater than a new notebook was the thrill of 200 pages of short stories and vignettes once the thing was filled. Of course a filled notebook meant a new notebook and a new process. In the years I carried these notebooks I felt like I was moving in a direction I wanted to go, and assembling a mass of drafts which at some later point I would build into publishable pieces. That said the ultimate goal was, and is still publication. In early 2005 I decided I would spend the year doing just that, attempting to publish. When it comes down to it, I want to publish. Even after collecting dozens of notebooks filled with all sorts of trash and treasure I realized I needed to get motivated to actually produce something. Just writing in those notebooks as fun and as free as it was, isn’t going to move me forward.
Rethinking my decision to attend Goddard it’s more insidious. I have great respect for teachers, mentors, and professors, but I have never had any interest in doing that myself. In fact I really do have much interest in having a “real” job, mostly because I don’t care for where tax dollars go, which I suppose is a different story for another time. I’m certain the outcome of more education for me is not the concept of occupational development. The goal is not job advancement. As I was thinking of furthering my education it was always with my primary goal of publications in mind. Secondary goals of course were improving my work and my mode of doing so. And in many ways decisions I’ve made are very ego driven. I like the idea of another degree. Learning for learning sake? Yeah, that’s good too, and I get plenty of that in my life. However as an adult learner I like to have an exact idea of what I’m getting into, clear objectives and of course I want to answer the question “What’s in this for me?” These are things I’m thinking about. With that on my mind I’m trying to fit the academic facets into my thinking. That said I waited too long for my return packet to see your notes. I feel like I’ve got a better idea of what’s expected, and I hope to be a little more expedient in future packets.
The Omma piece seems to be going well for me thus for. I read all your notes, and I have taken them seriously. I have spent a few hours already looking at those first twenty five pages. There are many opportunities. I think this next installment will answer many of your questions about the narrator. He’s developing as the story develops, which I suppose is natural. I’m sure critical writing helps with creative endeavors, but I do not have an outline of where the Omma piece is going. I do not have a first second, third point to argue. Something will happen, as it does with fiction. The plot is moving along alright, as I hope you’ll see in these pages. There is more going on than in the first twenty-five. As I looked over your notes and what was written, I wonder how much of the first part I’ll actually keep.
The reading is alright. Yes, I know I’m reading critically and not just for pleasure. Although I feel like I’ve always read critically in a way, and my thoughts on that are changing too. In the past as I read I examined different things. Ray Bradbury for instance (no real formal education and thousands of publications) is one of my favorite writers. I don’t care for Martians or space travel or things of the like, but I’ll read 200 pages just see him use and adverb to adjective. I like the combinations or words rather than what’s going on thematically. Now that I say this, am I forcing something out of these annotations? Perhaps I should be writing on such ideas as word combinations.
This process letter feels vague. Which kind of sums up the process right now.

The first short critical paper? Well, it was a little vague too. I think I remember where it was I was trying to go. I’ve been doing some of the mechanical homework for it. The MLA handbook is still dispensing the same stuff I remember it dispensing the first time I was acquainted with it. As far as a style guide goes is there one available which is more readable? In short, some guide to offer advice on style less grating? Thankfully I still have another solid three weeks with this paper.

Anyhow, the process goes. These last couple of weeks has proved to be challenging. The greatest challenge of all of course is time and time in a positive process. I’m still forming habits, hopefully for the better. I even have an outline (like the MLA suggests) for the next packet. Hopefully I’m getting the hang of these annotations, and along with any new annotations I write, I’ll get the first two revised and submitted. I’m grateful to have a few weeks more for the first critical paper. I don’t have any questions specifically with it yet, and your notes seem adequate enough.

Kyle, thanks for your time.

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