Thoughts about grad school, Veil goes there and back again, I squee over shared literary history, and I talk papers


Graduate school–or this grad program at least–is more about building the scholar than the person than I could have predicted.  I ought to have predicted.  This program is 6 weeks and we are trying to finish 8 credits.  Classes are INTENSE.  Example: for Dragons, I spent 4 hours reading 3 articles Tuesday (Jack Zipes and I are unlikely to become friends except perhaps in the odd way where I publish a response, which one day I feel someone should do because he is too clearly writing in an era pre-Internet and pre-midnight movie releases).  Hollins being Hollins, it tries to cultivate the person as well as the scholar–and I greatly appreciate that.  There are lots of opportunities for scholars to come together in community and there are even some extracurricular, nonscholarly activities–like a yoga if you have the money to pay (I won’t mention the “free time”).  Now, all that said, other grad programs may be different.  I wonder if a full year program would offer more opportunities for growing self.

I feel like I should tell you all that Veil has been walking about in the world.  He paid a visit to Ellen Kushner, fantasy writer and genuinely kind woman.  Having looked at the first 25 pages, she gave him back to me on Thursday with some very useful comments, things that I wouldn’t have caught on my own, but now see were in ways somewhat ridiculous.  I need to talk to Rosy, who is thinking like a 21st century agnostic, and Mr. Fowler, who is the only person clinging to his honorific, possibly within the world.  He can’t do that.  I was also given a reading list to brush up on English village life.  I’m very much looking forward to diving into that come August.

I was cheered too to hear that she and I have somewhat similar personal literary histories, namely fanfiction and being told that our short stories are actually first chapters, hopefully I can later add that I began as an editor (fingers crossed.  I need to talk to her about that too).  She told me that I write like her partner, Delia Sherman, though, where my first draft–or possibly “0-draft”–is utter world-building, and then I have to go back and add in the characters.  What do you think?  And we, friends, decided that Veil is likable, yes?  For now, I think, though, write towards the end and edit later.

For now, also, you should know that the HP paper that I was mentioning has become a paper on Madeline L’Engle’s A Wind in the Door.  We’ll see how that goes.

Beyond that, Ivan is turned in and out of my hands, having led me down the sinuous and flower-strewn paths of Welsh and Cornish history, places I will need to go back and explore for my own sake when I have more free time.  I really did a sloppy job on the paper probably, but it’s not graded, so no big deal.  I want to maybe expand this one.  I plain skipped 3 of the countries Ivan passed through.  (Ivan, ’cause I don’t think I’ve mentioned it before, refers to the Cornish folktale “The Tale of Ivan” on which I was doing a paper for History & Criticism).

Classes…. we talked about riddles, subversive dragon stories, and we talked about folktales.


About Kathryn

My love of books has been carefully cultivated by the adults who raised me and also by the friends who love to share. My life has led me down long library shelves, to online forums, fanfiction sites, the front of a lecture hall, and into the desks of college classrooms. With an English degree and a couple master’s classes in Children’s Literature, I am now a bookseller for Barnes & Noble. I have been an editor for Wizarding Life Networks (the people who brought you Wizarding Life, Panem October, and MyHogwarts now HogwartsIsHere).

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