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The journal as a true memory


You think you will never forget feeling this way. The emotion, the memory, burns in you, consumes you.

You will forget. The details will blur, shift, fade, disappear.

The daily journal is your chance to chronicle your life: the feelings, the details.

When older, and those younger in your life ask you what it was like — when they accuse you of never being young yourself! — the record will stand as you have written it today.

Understand me?

“Before and after”

“Before and after”

How are you filling the spaces in between, friends?

Handwriting fluency and the in-class thesis

Handwriting fluency and the in-class thesis

Another reason that I assign a hand-written journal: seeing as you will be tested largely by hand writing essays in class, fluency and practice are crucial.  The journal is a training ground.

From the article:

“Students completed a measure of handwriting fluency and provided samples of writing from exam conditions and a formative class essay. The results indicated that, compared to a class essay, exam writing was constrained by the low level writing skill of handwriting fluency. Surprisingly, it was found that the undergraduates were very slow writers whose writing speed was equivalent to published fluency data on 11-year-old schoolchildren. The relationships between handwriting fluency and writing quality were also very similar to those of published data on 11-year-old children, with handwriting fluency accounting for large amounts of the variance in writing quality and tutor marks for exam answers. The results of the current study indicate that lower level processes constrain the higher level performance of undergraduate students to a significant extent.”

Worth a read if you want to see for yourself.

“Fiction books give a boost to the brain, says Stanford professor”

“Fiction books give a boost to the brain, says Stanford professor”

“Landy’s new ‘formative fiction’ theory advises against a utilitarian search for meaning or information that results in an ‘I got what I need and I can move on’ attitude. His theory implies that readers will get much more out of a text by lingering over passages, contemplating ideas between reading sessions and re-reading passages after some reflection.”

Crime and Punishment: thinking through and questioning

Nature is what you find in the pristine world: dirt, soil, seeds that are neither sewn nor selectively bred, minerals, the workings of the animal realms.
Artifice is what man makes, whether that is tool or clothing or custom or law or idea.

Stopping at a red light and going on a green: nature or artifice? A hamburger: nature or artifice? Setting aside a hamburger for a loved one who will be an hour late, and not eating it although we are hungry: nature or artifice?

1.  Raskolnikov’s dream: think of the horse as nature and the people as artifice.
What part of nature or the natural world could the horse symbolize?
What part of man-made laws or ideas could the people represent?
Now that you’ve thought that through, flip it: what law or idea or custom could the horse represent?
What natures or instincts could the people symbolize?

2.  Raskolnikov, early on, thinks the amateurish criminal makes many mistakes, and that he – the superior intellect – won’t.  How does that work out for him?

3. How/why does Raskolnikov think he’s a superior intellect?  (You see how that question is answered as the story unfolds, yes?)

As you are realizing, much of what you thought was foreshadowing is being answered as you read: you can go back and answer, or even reformulate, your questions.

4.  Does Porfiry really suspect Raskolnikov? How R.’s thoughts run around and around trying to figure that out! When did you, the reader, become sure of that? Did you get the “I knew it!” feeling?

5. What is fever? How does it work physically and mentally? What causes it?
Raskolnikov spends considerable time in a feverish state: perhaps an hour reading up of fever might be illuminating?

The Discovery of Poetry

The Discovery of Poetry

The google ebook preview of Mayes’ book that is cited in the previous posts.

(You might notice page number citations on my handwritten notes, but I believe the pagination is different in the edition of the class set we use.)