I’m guessing most of the…

I'm guessing most of the writers among you know this quote:

I have been correcting the proofs of my poems. In the morning, after hard work, I took a comma out of one sentence. In the afternoon I put it back again.  Oscar Wilde (1854-1900)
Putting together a syllabus is sort of like that. Let's say I want to have them read Anita Desai's "Winterscape." (A lovely story, btw, if you haven't run across it.) First I put it in week 1, Wednesday, just because I like it so much and I want to start them off with a sure winner of a story to engage them quickly. Then I change my mind, move it to week 5, Monday, because it follows so naturally from a Mukherjee story they're reading then. Then I move it to week 8, because that's when we're doing Jhumpa Lahiri, and I want to contrast their styles and talk about their work in generational terms. Then I think no, maybe I should do all the first-generation folks together, so I move Desai back to week 1. Then I think they need some historical and theoretical grounding before they encounter the texts, so I move the story down to week 2. Then I think 'god, that's going to be a dull first week,' and I move it back to week 1. And we're back where we started from.

Now imagine doing this with every single item on your syllabus. Over and over and over again. That's what I'll be doing the rest of the morning. Thank goodness I have a SAPAC meeting in the afternoon, and a reading this evening, or I'd no doubt keep obsessively futzing with it for the entire day.

I'm also lucky my creative writing syllabus is so simple. Read a chapter of LeGuin's Steering the Craft (in the same order they appear in the book!), do the exercises, read and crit workshop stories. That's it.

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