Friday, September 3, 2010

Conclusions-- for literary analysis

I'm having fun coming up with conclusions for non-existent literary analysis papers (to show students how to write a conclusion). For ex:
For a Hamlet paper:
The plot of Hamlet is initiated when the ghost tasks Hamlet to take vengeance, but it is individualized by his unusual reaction to the command. He could have reacted like his friends Rosencrantz and Guildenstern and just obeyed orders. Or like Laertes, and like the typical hero in a Renaissance revenge drama, he could have steeled himself to kill with pleasure. Yet Hamlet is too much the thinker to give in to emotion, and too skeptical to surrender to someone else's will. In Hamlet, Shakespeare has again created a man we moderns would recognize, a cynic, a skeptic, an intellectual. But Hamlet's own time rewards action, not thought, and his ultimate tragedy is that his refusal to act causes the deaths of those he loves and the loss of his father's kingdom.

This really makes me want to go back to school and write more literary papers. I know, I know, what a sick desire.

Wednesday, September 1, 2010

The Intrepid Volunteer Driver

Years and years ago, I wanted a volunteer job where I could help without writing. Or talking much. I don't have a lot of other skills, but I figured I can drive. So I started delivering Meals on Wheels to the elderly. Easy, low-stress (though sometimes depressing when one client's name disappears from the list-- there's usually no good news then).

Last year, after a friend went through cancer treatments and every time had to scramble to get a ride to the hospital, I decided to drive for the American Cancer Society Road to Recovery. So I'm also doing that now. Hmm. I have to drive tomorrow. I think I better get my car washed.

Anyway, I'm a writer, and so of course I think, "There ought to be a novel in this." Everyone gently suggests it sounds sort of boring. But I'm still thinking of that: The Adventures of a Volunteer Driver!

I think in the future, on the web, we might see a lot more serial stories because they replicate the immediacy of blogging and social media (even if in fact they take many hours to write). I'm think shorter, linked stories, like a series of stories about an intrepid volunteer driver! You finish reading one, and if you're still awake, maybe you click the link to the next.

No, I haven't actually had any adventures as a volunteer driver (though driving through a flooded street to faithfully deliver a meal might count-- my car wasn't the same for weeks). But I have had the potential for adventure. It's just with my natively cautious approach to life, I always cut off adventure before it has a chance to bloom. I just need to create a heroine who isn't so adventure-averse.

Really, it could be a FASCINATING series!