Wednesday, October 09, 2013

Cough and Learn!

An indifferent day of coughing, where lung wrenching was mixed with concern about how much energy was being devoted to the expulsion of phlegm rather than the retention of specific knowledge for the examination which is now within fifteen hours (Spanish time) and I have probably reached some sort of limit of what I can actually be expected to parrot.

Though, thinking about it, I realise that I am hoping for “unfair” questions which demand difficult interpretation rather than a simple invitation to parade facts.  I need examiner trickiness to work for me and give the edge on which an experienced questions answerer (and setter) should be able to thrive!

As has been my wont in all my past examinations I will use part of tomorrow morning to do the last minute revision which will prove to be of no use whatsoever.  But do it I will because do it I have.

And Thursday evening I will really get down to taking a full part in the new course.  I have already written something, but that was merely displacement activity from the revision I was supposed to be doing.  I realise from cursory searching through the forums that I am fortunate to be part of a lively and responsive group and that is something to keep going as they are going to be as important as individual effort in making a success of this course.

A major problem for me is the whole idea of a Day School.  The tutor group for those people taking OU courses on mainland Europe is with The North of England and the first Day School is in Penrith.  The second Day School is in Geneva.  I am not sure that either is a realistic proposition and I have looked at Cardiff as a possible base.  The whole point of the first of the Day Schools is however to make a real link with other people in the group so that the quality of the feedback on individual writing is facilitated.  The tutor has said that after the Day School the response is markedly different and more personal.  Well, that will have to be something that will have to be the basis of another story!

I am still writing a daily Haiku and I have to admit that I am enjoying the experience.  On my writing in the past I consider that my strength is more towards poetry than prose, yet I have written much more prose than poetry.

I do think that I have something of a feel for words and when I am writing a poem I have a keen sense of when something is an approximation rather than a fit – though I would be hard pressed to say why I change some of the words.  The most important change during the forthcoming months is that my writing is going to be more public.  I know that there is my blog, but the blog goes out into the ether and is probably not the sort of thing that invites responses.  This course is greatly about writing and response and from the look of the group they appear to be able to respond.  The private nature of previous writing is now being changed and I am nearer to my school days than anything else in the last forty odd years!

The first exercise deal with what the course calls “Freewriting”.  This is a technique where from a given starting point you write constantly and continuously for something like twenty minutes, writing whatever comes into your mind rejecting correcting, editing and too much thought.  It is an opportunity to write fluently and badly – the thing to remember is not to stop and not to go back.  I have written a couple of these and the element that I find most difficult is making reasonable and helpful comments on other people’s work.  And that is the essential part of this exercise at the moment so it is something to which I need to give time.  Almost being a teacher again – though hopefully without the teacher voice!

And an early night tonight.  Though I have not been going to sleep easily as there is always important coughing to do when I lay down!

A fresh start tomorrow!

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