11 December 2006

Thought Stew

So I have a whole bunch of things to blog about, but school is currently consuming my life. And I do mean consuming in its fully literal sense. Once we hit reading day, things should slow down considerably. (I never work during finals' week (should that be possessive?), so I have a ton of free time.) Until then, I doubt I'll have time to pull together anything decent for you to read. But since I feel guilty leaving you out in the cold, consider this post a preview of things to come. Here's what's been occupying my mind:

  • I GOT INTO MY STUDY ABROAD!! I was so nervous, but it's really happening! I'm going to England in the spring to walk all over and write stuff. Joni is coming too, and it's going to be miraculous! I can't think of a better way to spend two months! Although, this does mean I have to get in shape for the hiking bit . . . drat.
  • I finished reading Style: Toward Clarity and Grace, and holy crap! it is amazing. I want to write about it in more detail later, but here's a two page summary of the book that I whipped out as part of my ELang final project. Hurrah for classes that motivate you to do what you already want to do. Sorry about the yucky formatting. No time for making it look better. Read it, or better yet, read the book. It will improve your consciousness of good writing. I can already feel a difference in how I think about things.
  • On Friday, I had an epiphanic moment in History of Rhetoric class: I found my philosopher! I've always found at least some truth in each philosopher I've read, but I also invariably find problems which make their philosophies unacceptable. On December 8, I discovered Kenneth Burke. His theory of dramatism explains exactly why I feel so uncomfortable with experimental fiction that tries to eliminate storytelling *coughVirginiaWoolfcough*. And he has a pyramid theory of rhetoric that almost exactly echoes my circle theory that I've been ranting about for so long! I almost gasped when the teacher introduced it to us. It was like someone read my thoughts and deemed them worthy. It made me want to sing for joy! (I know; I'm a nerd.) I'm now planning to read at least some of his works over the break. I'll write when I find out more.
  • Speaking of History of Rhetoric, I'm writing my final paper on early Mormon rhetoric. It's making me think a lot about the previous debate on what makes a good talk.
  • I'm planning out some Christmas personal essays. Hope you guys are up to some of my crummy attempts at dialog.
  • I saw Happy Feet over Thanksgiving break, which has strangely inspired an essay on dealing with the institutional Church in Mormon literature. I promise I'll explain later, though reading Orson Scott Card's review of the movie might help you see where I'm going. (The review is towards the end, but this column also has some stuff about Scotch tape and Bill Bryson, one of my favorite nonfiction authors, so you should just read the whole thing.)
  • Also, some thoughts on lit crit provoked by CS Lewis' essay "Fern Seed and Elephants" are in the works. For anyone keeping score in my creativity/criticism debate, creativity is beating the snot out of criticism, but we'll find some virtue in her yet.
  • And I promise I have a follow-up for Ben's rebuttal to my Santa post. I will defend Saint Nick to the end. "I believe in Santa Claus like I believe in love . . . ." (Maybe that's not so apt after the last two posts.)
And people wonder why I'm so distracted.

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