I feel very lucky to still have my job (some schools have had layoffs), and also very lucky to be safely at home. I'm always glad to be teaching online, but this semester even more so, and I'm relieved that this class will not be requiring anybody to come to campus. Hopefully this class can be a chance for you to relax and get away from some of the stress of this semester... because it is definitely going to be stressful.
Each semester I enroll myself as a student in one of the two classes, but this semester I've decided to participate in both classes as a student: Indian Epics and Myth-Folklore. Since this semester feels completely weird right from the start, I thought I might as well try my own weird experience of taking both classes. I always have fun writing stories and doing a class project, so this semester I will be reading and writing stories and doing a project for each class!
I used reading and writing as a distraction this summer (I had some intense family stuff going on too, plus all the pandemic mess)... and I am really happy to have discovered my own writing niche: 100-word stories. I first started experimenting with microfiction over Winter Break last year, and then I included some microfiction options in the classes last Spring: people wrote so many great stories! Then when summer came, I made it my goal to write three little books of these 100-word stories, and I did it. You can see my three "Tiny Tales" books at my website (they are all free!), along with a guide I wrote for teachers, hoping that maybe these resources could be useful for writing teachers in both K-12 and college:
I even made audiobooks to go with the books, and that was really fun too. For example, here's the audiobook for the Tiny Tales from India:
Since the stories are so short, each one takes under a minute to read, and that made the whole recording process less stressful. It's nothing fancy; I just recorded myself as I did the final proofreading for each book. I used my phone for that! Then I just uploaded the little audio files to SoundCloud: instant audiobook. (I am a fan of audiobooks; given a choice, I would rather listen to books than read.)
To make the actual books I used a fabulous service called Pressbooks, and I was thinking that maybe we could make a class anthology this semester, publishing a book together! I have got a great system for managing the book production for these 100-word stories (each story fits on a page, which makes the layout is super-easy), so if people want to experiment with this particular story format, I would be glad to collect the stories and publish them as a book. I'll try to get that set up early in the semester so that people will have time to think about that and see if they have any stories they want to contribute.
I know this is going to be a hard semester, but I am a true believer in the power of writing and connecting and sharing to help make the world a better place, so I hope that we can write and connect and share as a class this semester. :-)
When life gets complicated,
choose to create.