Monday, January 14, 2013

Day One, Spring 2013, Part II

My Oulipo (HON 373) class didn't have quite the zing I was hoping it would have, but it could be because everyone was a bit tired. We'll see how it turns out.

As planned, I started off by asking all the students to join me in writing for ten minutes or so about what they did over break. After this, I gave them each (each of 9) one of the 9 most common letters in the alphabet (giving myself the last of the most common 10, out of ETAOINSHRD) and asked them to revise what they'd written and, retaining the same meaning and tone, omit the letter they'd been given. Hilarity ensued.

Well, for some it did. I'm not sure what folks thought of this first exercise in constraint. Admittedly it was a bit contrived, but it was a nice introduction, I thought. We'll unpack it some more on Wednesday, before which I've asked them to think about the role constraint plays in everyday life.

Meanwhile, Honors Program nonsense made up most of my day. An incident with the Honors sections of our Humanities courses made me think deeply about the inherently exclusionary nature of the Honors Program. It made me feel a little dirty about the deeds I do.

More on this tomorrow, perhaps. Now I'm off to my first real meal in nearly 8 hours...

P.S. -- for those of you not familiar with Oulipo, check out its Wikipedia page, at least...

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