le plus loin le plus serré

le plus loin le plus serré
mourning art

in memoriam

"yet I tell you, from the sad knowledge of my older experience, that to every one of you a day will most likely come when sunshine, hope, presents and pleasure will be worth nothing to you in comparison with the unattainable gift of your mother's kiss." (Christina Rossetti, "Speaking Likenesses," 1873)

Monday, April 21, 2014


Things have been quiet here for awhile; I try not to get too personal here, so I'll only say my absence has been due mainly to the sudden and unexpected death of my mother in early February. The disruption in my life this has caused has been, to say the very least, considerable. I've also been quite busy with teaching this semester; both courses meet three days a week, which makes every day except Saturday into a teaching/prep day. I've chosen to teach books that, for the most part, I've never taught before, too, so that has required more prep than usual (I also misjudged and assigned several very long YA texts for my Representing Adolescence class). I did a week of picturebooks in my Childhood's Books class, the first time I've ever taught picturebooks in such a concentrated way. I often use Where the Wild Things Are as a way to teach/demonstrate close reading, but rarely as part of the canon of children's literature (I also did Green Eggs and Ham and David Wiesner's The Three Pigs - I had a fantastic week doing prep for picturebook week). I have also realized that I am terrible at teaching Diana Wynne Jones, for all that I passionately love her books; my critical faculties just wilt in the face of her brilliance. I tried teaching Charmed Life, and they were underwhelmed. The only Jones book I have had any luck with teaching is (of course) Howl's Moving Castle. I don't know what to call it if something is both your weak spot and your favorite thing, but Diana Wynne Jones is mine. I think I can live with this.

I've been thinking a lot about adolescence and high school and YA and YA dystopian fiction; I had the incredible good fortune to have a fantastic group in my Representing Adolescence class, and our discussions were consistently thought-provoking and intriguing. I've been working on some of my ideas about dystopian YA, and hope to post that before too much longer. I also have my dissertation to work on, as well as converting some papers and draft chapters into articles for submission. A busy summer of work ahead, which is good.

In the meantime, Jonathan Auxier has a new book coming out in May, and he is writing about becoming a writer - "After the book deal" - on blogs around the internet - check out what he has to say (he's quite smart). The book, The Night Gardener, has been getting very, very good advance buzz, and I'm keen to get my hands on a copy; I've already placed a hold on a library copy.

Thus the quietness around here, and the plans, or hopes anyway, for making at least a little bit of noise in the near future.

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