June 20th, 2005

View from study (sunny)

Please, no more clowns!

Please, no more clowns! Or carnivals or lost balloons or car crashes.

Yes, I'm marking assignments again. 19 students did the assignment, which means 57 five hundred word stories to read and comment on and grade within a couple of weeks. I ploughed through a lot of them today, but after wrestling with a story that began:

I spoke up, past were my hand's swallowed by his one: dad; spoke way up, my neck arched back and the sun spread warmth across my face, sinking in like butter into toast. So that I had closed my eyes.

And said 'But where has he gone?'

and also contained the sentence:

And I ran out and Stevie shouted and I kicked the ball and Stevie cheered and caught it and I thought the dead man was gone and he wouldn't want to stay somewhere dark where there was no one to talk to only spiders and creepy crawlies but would be were granddad had been looking.

which every time I try to read it I fall over the typo were for where, not to mention running out of breath by the time I reach the word spiders, I decided that I really had had enough when I opened the next story and saw that it was about a clown giving a child a balloon at a carnival. Aaaaarrrgghh!

To be fair, this student's second story was good and, although I complain about endless RTAs, another student showed that you can take a well-used idea and just do it really really well. Her story of the aftermath of a car accident was delicately and subtly done, with the whole accident implied rather than told directly. And it had a happy ending, without being trite.

Finally, as if having a deadline for all these assignments wasn't enough, G flies out to the US early on Saturday morning. He is going to a meteorological modelling software conference in Boulder, at which he is giving a paper, and he is as hyper as a small kid a few days before Christmas. I think I will be glad to get back to work tomorrow for, if not a rest, at least a calm and organised day.
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    excited twitchy
View from study (sunny)

And in sadder news

G came back from college at lunchtime with the sad and shocking news that a colleague had died at the weekend. N fits in that awkward category between acquaintance and friend. I actually knew his ex-wife much better and at one time was quite friendly with his mother-in-law, who ran the local book shop. In fact I knew J (bookshop owner) long before her daughter and new husband N moved from Cornwall to live in town. N was a Buddhist and ran a small local Buddhist group, which I could hardly ever get to because they met on Thursday evenings when I always teach an evening class, but I did manage to get to some of the talks he organised, given by a Buddist monk who spends part of his time in India at a monstry and the rest of the year in Britain.

N taught Religious Education at the local college and was also involved with the child care lecturing. He and his ex-wife were on excellent terms and they have a delightful daughter between them. S must be 11 or so now. The death came as a particular shock because he must be 15 years younger than we are. Cause of death is not yet known.

He will be sadly missed.
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    sad sad