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Historical Notes

My life lately:


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Yeah so in writing class today we workshopped my revised 16th c. printerfic. Now at this point everyone in the class *knows* I TEACH printing/print history for a living. And YET, there were a bunch of comments like "Would this be happening then?" "Women couldn't do that back then!" "Were there black people in England back then?" (They got some polite historical footnotes verbally.)

Here's the killer to me though. Here's a line in the first paragraph: . I felt foolish in my boy’s garb, a half-wrought Cesario, with few pennies and less honor to my name than any Viola.

THREE OF NINE ENGLISH PHD STUDENTS DID NOT RECOGNIZE THE REFERENCE.

This...kinda makes it hard for me to want to take any of their other comments seriously.

Am I being pedantic? Snobbish? ...Something? Or do I have a legitimate reason to finish the box of chocolate jo-jos in the cupboard? (That last question, possibly not academic.)

SO HAI GUYS HOW ARE YOU?????

Comments

( 33 comments — Add your .02 )
treksnoopy
Apr. 3rd, 2012 03:31 am (UTC)
I grieve with thee.
Finish the chocolates.

How am I?
I'm restless. I need to go somewhere and do something. The question is what, where, and who with. *ignore the grammar. I've been drinking*

caitri
Apr. 3rd, 2012 03:33 am (UTC)
*KOALACLING*

I think you should drink in the Rec with me sometime this week. While I write fic. Cos I've EARNED the right to fluffy ridiculousness for a few hours!
treksnoopy
Apr. 3rd, 2012 03:40 am (UTC)
You have earned it!!!!
I'm going to try to make it to WW this week but my head is currently having issues with the time zone converter for this week. I figure I'll show up and see who's still playing when I get home from work on Wednesday.
caitri
Apr. 3rd, 2012 01:58 pm (UTC)
SWEET!
anutty1
Apr. 3rd, 2012 04:59 am (UTC)
"Were there black people in England back then?"

Seriously, educated people, seriously? How did you not hulk out at that question?!? Also, thank you for adding black people to your story, we tend to get left out of historical fiction :(. I'm just an undergraduate English degree student who has no great love for Shakespeare and even I recognized the reference. (It is Shakespeare, right? If it isn't, umm...). Also, I'm now totally curious about this story. If you ever want to post it, I'd totally read it!
caitri
Apr. 3rd, 2012 02:05 pm (UTC)
*SQUISH*

I'll post it when it's closer to "done"--I got into a time crunch and had an awkward closing spot. I had an initial beginning I posted here that got absorbed into the rest of it.

Some people thought I was also doing "too many issues" in having a black girl dressing as a boy and then she was 'too easily' accepted by the other characters--which I have mixed feelings about. I am thinking of maybe switching it up though so I can have my girl-dress-as-a-boy plot and then have another character be black. The thing I like about that is then they can both kind of be 'outsiders' together as they observe goings on and such. *ramble ramble*

We'll see. I was thinking about structure and wondering if it might not be more manageble to have a series of novellas that are interconnected through different pov characters or something. But I think I should try to finish this one idea and then see how the rest turns out. *stops rambling, for real this time* *MORE HUGS JUST BECAUSE*
rubynye
Apr. 3rd, 2012 05:37 pm (UTC)
Fuck "too easily", honestly. You've seen my rants about the people who criticized X-men:First Class for having its CoCs accepted by the other mutants, right?

It's your story; do what makes sense for it. But I can tell you that this little Black girl's heart did a happy dance when I saw your description of a crossdressing Black girl above.
caitri
Apr. 3rd, 2012 10:48 pm (UTC)
*GLOMP*

Thinking on the whole thing more, I dunno, it's weird. Like, the class also thought I could do more with the girl-in-male-space and felt I should work in a scene where all the guys are talking like allegedly guys talk crap without women. I told Todd and Anton this (rl printer bros) and they were like "oh that's just bullshit, dude." Because the scene I have as the emotional heart for that first section is--sure she's hiding who she is at first, but when some characters find out, they don't care because she's still one of them.

Anyway they wanted to know the demographics of the class, which is (aside from me), two male students, six other female students one of whom is Hispanic, and a Hispanic woman prof. And of that, there's 2 Californians, 1 West virginian, 1 North Carolinian, and the others are Texan I think. (Prof from, I think Dominican.) I'm not sure what if that really means if anything at all, because I know people bring stuff to stories but...

I dunno. I'm rambling now. I'm trying to rationalize what can't necessarily be rationalized. So screw it, I'm going to do the story my way and then worry about other stuff afterwards. *grump*
erynwen
Apr. 3rd, 2012 07:55 am (UTC)
You have all the reason to finish the chocolate ^^

If you join Starfleet, can I come with you?

caitri
Apr. 3rd, 2012 02:06 pm (UTC)
Totally. You can sit next to me on the shuttlecraft and I probably won't throw up on you.
morfin
Apr. 3rd, 2012 01:02 pm (UTC)
Classic example of people going to college and remaining uneducated. I'll bet you the English students who didn't get the reference are majoring in 20th century "literature" where grammar, spelling, and punctuation are optional. It's like "history" students studying current events. Sigh.
caitri
Apr. 3rd, 2012 02:08 pm (UTC)
I think they're just REALLY into contemporary literature--like they throw around the names of all these books I've heard of/seen in bookstores but never read because I don't typically do mundane fiction. (Does that sound mean? It wasn't meant to be. But that's how I think of it sometimes.) Mostly I've just never understood people writing about contemporary times if it's not genre--if the main characters aren't going to hook up, solve crimes, or run into vampires or aliens, but just go about being people...why bother? *is honestly perplexed*
morfin
Apr. 3rd, 2012 05:27 pm (UTC)
And there's the rub. "Contemporary Literature." Snort. If they're going to be REAL academics, they need to bury their nose in Beowulf, The Wanderer, Sir Gawain and the Green Knight, Chaucer, Shakespeare, etc. As you said, in modern times, it's the genre stuff that's important, not the latest novel by some yuppie scum contemplating their why their parents didn't spend enough on them or why they aren't being coddled until they reach their point of self-actualization.
rubynye
Apr. 3rd, 2012 05:34 pm (UTC)
Wow, that list conveniently leaves out everyone from Lady Murasaki to Zora Neale Hurston, just to name a couple off the dead White male beaten track.
caitri
Apr. 3rd, 2012 10:38 pm (UTC)
And all of those go back to genre issues, right: there's the medievally romances, there's the...I don't know what to call contemporary stuff. "Literary fiction" covers a multitude of sins and makes me squirm, because say a book like Mists of Avalon should be covered there but it gets pigeonholed into SFF. (I think Lady Murasaki could go into romances and Hurston into folklore.)

**Librarian disclaimer: I am a librarian. I like to classify things, even when I don't. >_>
morfin
Apr. 4th, 2012 12:17 am (UTC)
One must remember, since I specialized in medieval history in college, I consider anything after 1746 to be current affairs, not history ;)
caitri
Apr. 4th, 2012 12:32 am (UTC)
I feel like there's a Scottish devolution and possibly a bonus Highlander joke just out of my reach....
rubynye
Apr. 6th, 2012 12:29 am (UTC)
*beams at you* Last year I convinced two of the Literature teachers that Lovecraft has literary merit so they sould let a kid write a paper on it. That whole 'real literature' vs 'genre literature' thing is so ludicrous.
caitri
Apr. 6th, 2012 12:33 am (UTC)
And YET it persists!

BTW my week has been insane and I have not had a chance to call you. Is there perhaps a good time this weekend? I know people I'm meetign up with haven't really lined things up uber-well either, but possibly the best nights to meet up will be Friday or Saturday. Do either of these work for you?
abigail89
Apr. 3rd, 2012 01:19 pm (UTC)
TAKE ME WITH YOU, BB!!!

JFC, I am no literature person, but even I caught that ref. No, you're not being a snob.
caitri
Apr. 3rd, 2012 02:09 pm (UTC)
*cling*

Shuttle leaves at 0800 I hear...
ithiliana
Apr. 3rd, 2012 01:48 pm (UTC)
Remind me sometime to tell you about the one time i tried to do a science fiction story in a creative writing class in the late 1970s.

Two issues I see here: one, white people in the US, and not necessarily even more so in Texas (but I have a lot of my students who are now alum and teachers telling me that their principal/superintendent forbids any teaching of anything about race in the classrooms--and look at the shit going on in Arizona -- and the idiocy of the white asshole who went after the MAS program for examples) are stone ignorant about race. And women's history.

But given how seldom that is taught in the schools, why should we be surprised?

The Shakespeare references--welllllll....trufact, it is possible to be an English majors, even an English doctoral student, and not recognize all Shakespeare references. One of the changes in education related to the social justice work of the past four or five decades is a bit less canonization of Shakespeare (his work is still taught, but not all hsi works are taught to all the people).

And I'm not going to respond to the commenter personally, since I teach 20th and 21st century literature (and allow fanfic in my creative writing classes and somehow manage to teach grammar, spelling and punctuation), but the idea that I'll bet you the English students who didn't get the reference are majoring in 20th century "literature" where grammar, spelling, and punctuation are optional. is an interesting comment--you cannot on the one hand demand knowledge in all the canon of dead white men AND also condemn students for not knowing all the people besides the dead white men.

So, yeah, well, I'll shut up now before I get wanky because I'm not feeling too good.

caitri
Apr. 3rd, 2012 02:20 pm (UTC)
Aww. *pets* At K'zoo we shall have a proper geek-out about both fic and writing generally!!!!! <3

I mentioned this in another commment above, sort of, but I wonder how much of my issues are genre-driven (I'm the only one writing non-contemporary stuff, though in this class all my workshops have been historical stories, except for one fragment I brought in that was historical fantasy) or convention-driven. Basically, the others don't know what to do with me, and I look at their writing more as writing than as stories, I suppose. Does it work structurally? does it communicate what's going on? It's unlikely I'd ever look at that type of stuff outside of a class though.

But anyway, altogether ... I have mixed feelings about it all. I do feel like I got some useful food for thought but when we come from different writing worlds it's hard for me to really pick up what's good and what's not, if that makes any sense at all. :/
avictoriangirl
Apr. 3rd, 2012 01:57 pm (UTC)
EAT ALL THE CHOCOLATE. Some days that's all you can do to in order to get over all the stupid in the world. ;)
caitri
Apr. 3rd, 2012 02:09 pm (UTC)
Have I told you lately that I love you? <3
avictoriangirl
Apr. 3rd, 2012 03:34 pm (UTC)
D'awww. :D I love you too! *tackle squishes*
rubynye
Apr. 3rd, 2012 05:31 pm (UTC)
You're being INTELLIGENT as opposed to those gits. You are suffering the pains of a great mind crammed into a narrow pen with shrimpy, pointy ones.

FEH.

(Not that I have opinions on writers groups or anything.)
(And all my lit teacher coworkers would kiss you for that allusion.)
caitri
Apr. 3rd, 2012 10:50 pm (UTC)
*SQUISH*

I just kinda want to tell the "other" side of stories, but not exactly in a "we're all oppressed way." Because, y'know, well-behaved women don't make history, and also, our ideas of how people behave historically are so often wrong and sugarcoated. (I love that the Victorians were total porn fiends, for example.) So maybe it's not conventional or "believable" but...it's still "true" in ways that matter?
rubynye
Apr. 6th, 2012 12:33 am (UTC)
Totally true in the ways that matter. :)
aadarshinah
Apr. 3rd, 2012 06:33 pm (UTC)
I'm sorry. People are generally idiots. It's best not to take it personally. (Though you can still have the jo-jos if you want.)
caitri
Apr. 3rd, 2012 10:52 pm (UTC)
<3333 *SQUISH*
emluv
Apr. 6th, 2012 04:14 am (UTC)
*waves*

So, I wandered over from the J&B friending meme to see if you'd written anything new that I'd missed, and this caught my eye, first with the fun graphic and then with the Shakespeare reference. My former-English-major soul would not let me leave without commenting.

There are way too many idiots in the world, without question. And my knee-jerk reaction here is pretty much the same as yours was. But I do try to allow for differences in background education. We can't all study the exact same stuff, and I know there are gaps in my own studies because I so vastly preferred English lit to American lit when I was in school. But, the catch is I assume that my lack of knowledge is my lack of knowledge, not that someone else has something wrong rather than me being unfamiliar with a subject. That's what I find ridiculous. That anyone at a PhD level could sit there and question you in areas where you're obviously more informed than they are.

Well, except for the part about there being black people in England during the 16th century. I'm sorry, but that comment should have earned someone a serious smack up the side of the head.

On that note, I hope you enjoyed your chocolate fix and that the rest of your week has been better. And I'm very, very curious now about your 16th c. printer fic (which I'm assuming is original...yes?). Also, I'm friending you now because I'm not sure why I haven't before... :)
caitri
Apr. 6th, 2012 01:37 pm (UTC)
*hug* Thanks, bb. I think I just get flummoxed over the oddest things sometimes. And my rant was, I guess, strangely about people questioning me, which is probably uncool, but on the other hand, I think there's an element of trust inherent in both workshopping (I trust you to tell me what's working and what's not, you trust me to give my best effort) and in reading, and I felt like they didn't trust me despite the fact they *know* that I know what I'm talking about? Maybe? *rambles*

Anyway, so, the story itself! I posted a rough draft a while back
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*hug* Thanks, bb. I think I just get flummoxed over the oddest things sometimes. And my rant was, I guess, strangely about people questioning me, which is probably uncool, but on the other hand, I think there's an element of trust inherent in both workshopping (I trust you to tell me what's working and what's not, you trust me to give my best effort) and in reading, and I felt like they didn't trust me despite the fact they *know* that I know what I'm talking about? Maybe? *rambles*

Anyway, so, the story itself! I posted a rough draft a while back <a href="408850.html#cutid1"here</a> and then a snippet of the new draft <a href="431788.html#cutid1">here</a>. (Bonus about 'trust'--my friends get to see additional fiction and nonfiction that I haven't published yet in addition to personal rants about family and work! ...yaaaaay) Anyway I have vague plans for it all and will hopefully finish the draft of the story proper for posting sometime soon. :)

Thanks for commenting, I feel warm fuzzies now!
( 33 comments — Add your .02 )

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