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Tuesday, October 30, 2007

Objectives

I did very well reading over the weekend primarily because I stopped everything and read all day Saturday. Now, of course, I am paying for it. It is not only painful to be so few pages from ending "A Plea for Eros," but also to be so close to finishing and so over-loaded with work as a result of my little "Saturday of joy." Siri Hustvedt really does have an excellent mind; she is bright and knowledgeable and really doesn't have to strain to come across pleasant. The problem--as I pointed out earlier--is that she is fixated on the "I" too much. The personal essay is an art form, and to master it one has to really not so much master the art of writing personally, but mostly to detach ourselves from the "I" and treat the subject. I am personally terrible at doing so, and as a result my personal essays sound over-stuffed and conceited. I do have to say that Hustvedt's treatment of "The Great Gatsby" is one of the most enlightened essays on the topic I have read. I teach Gatsby almost every year in a Survey of the American novel, and I have read a great deal of literary analysis on it. Hustvedt's analysis of the word "vitality" and Fitzgerald's use to describe Myrtle Wilson is outstanding. I have no idea how many times I have read the novel and didn't really notice the use of the word.
Two days away from starting NaNoWriMo and even through I have a little bit of an idea as to where I am going, I am afraid it will fry itself out of steam once I start. They say that the first few days are the most difficult--we'll see how it goes. And again, I have tons of work to get to from school. Let us pray!

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