Wednesday, July 4, 2012

Classes Begin

I have spent the last few days running around Cambridge, being amazed at the glory and magnificence of it all... and completely forgetting that part of that honor and privilege includes the responsibility of studies.

I am taking Varieties of English, a creative writing supervisory, and In Sickness and In Health (which doesn't start for another few weeks). Varieties of English is taught by Mr. Vaux, a linguistics professor from Texas. It's very interesting being surrounded by men and women with very British accents, and then to hear him refrain from using the term "y'all." He's a very intelligent man, and knows his stuff. But you have to know your stuff too, before you go answering any of his questions. Which is good. It forces you to do more research than just the assigned reading.

Right now, we're covering varieties of English dialects, and how they were influenced. Of course, much of the influence came from "settlements" (i.e. invasions) by the Vikings and other Norsemen, as well as Germanic, Roman, and even (less violent) settlements by the French. It explains how exactly we get such interesting terms as "cow" and then "beef," as opposed to "cowmeat."

My creative writing supervisory is taught by two writers: Anne Rooney and Brian Keaney. They are both fascinating people with very interesting things to say about writing. Before the program began, I did some research on them both. I was really excited to see that Mr. Keaney and I had a lot in common as far as our philosophies on writing. I don't discount Mrs. Rooney at all, because she is equally as fascinating and helpful. But Mr. Keaney said some things on his blog that I definitely knew I agreed with. I fashioned my proposal to the supervisory based on him, hoping he would choose me as one of his students in this process. I must have done something right, because it worked.

I have an assignment already, and that is to work on something by next Monday and bring it in. I'm going to try something a bit different, and you guys are getting a sneak peek at my idea.

There is a story of the gods Thor and Loki, and how Thor had to fight the giant Geirrod. In the story, Loki is held captive in the form of a falcon for three months until he reveals who he is, as it's obvious he isn't a plain falcon. The giant Geirrod forces him to swear he will bring Thor without his weapons to Geirrod' lair. Loki has to agree, and so tricks Thor into accompanying him on this trip. To make a long story short, Thor defeats the giant by throwing a ball of red-hot iron straight through him. The two gods walk away, wary of each other and on shaky ground.

Well, I thought it would be a good idea to fashion a story with characters I already have based on the basic formula of this myth. A is forced to betray B because C will kill him if he doesn't. So A brings B to see C, but then B beats the daylights out of C, and A and B need to have a serious sit-down afterward. Or something.

If the story is any good, I promise to post it up here and take any comments.

In any case, I will have pictures in my next post. Last night, we had our first Formal Hall, which was very much like what you see in Harry Potter. One large room with an enormously high ceiling, in which everyone takes their seats at a table and the staff brings out the meal, one course at a time. We had the most amazing chicken I've ever tasted (and lemon tart for dessert!). Needless to say, we all wanted pictures of each other in the little group I've joined, so I'll post those up soon and introduce you to some of the people I've met so far.

Also, I plan on putting up a video soon, because I realize just how little the pictures do to serve justice to this place.

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