November 24, 2015

It’s the straw, not the large and heavy bale of hay, that breaks the camel’s back. ‘So, beware of being unseated by minor irritants’, John!. 9.00 am. An additional essay-prep tutorial. Once one objectifies thoughts — laying them out, visibly — the burden of the task and the student’s anxiety decreases noticeably. (But I must improve my handwriting in a vertical plane. Yikes!):


The latest plague (which I’ve contracted big-time) is establishing itself among the student fraternity/sorority. I sent one of them back home to Lemsip and bed. A swift and helpful review of my draft funding proposal, from my colleague Dr Roberts — a man who knows his beans in these matters — landed at 9.30 am. I need to finalise this document today, without fail.

10.00 am. An MA Fine Art tutorial. It ranged from a discussion of the Rococo to one of bums in art, mother of pearl buttons, parenting, and dogs in art (a very practical concern in this case). 10.50 pm. I held an emergency micro-tutorial with a second year Fine Art student who was not well enough to attend her regular tutorial last week. Now, she’s back on track.

Medical matters disrupt. In the late morning, on my return home, I implemented changes to the funding proposal and posted it off. (Cough!. Cough!)

2.00 pm. I held a short sound remastering tutorial with one of our illustrators who’s working on a fascinating visual/sonic animation. The objective: delimit the ambient traffic sounds and enhance the presence of the voice in the recording:


2.30 pm. An impromptu Abstraction essay micro-tutorial, followed an arranged magna-tutorial on the same  (1.5 hours) … :


… followed by two regular-tutorials (with marshmallows but without cream, please) on the same.

Some principles and observations derived from today’s literary encounters:

  • Woolly writing indicates woolly thinking.
  • If you wrote as often as you drew/photographed/painted, or whatever, you’d improve very quickly. Continuity and regularity in the exercise of a gift is crucial to its development, and to the promotion of self confidence.
  • In the past, even people with only a moderate education wrote passably well. This was because they kept daily diaries and wrote letters habitually. Texting and messaging are no substitute.
  • If you read as much as you watched TV, your writing would improve considerably. Reading is an engagement with how others write. Therefore, learn to write from reading.
  • Writing is the mind’s exhalation.
  • The only thing easy about writing is stopping.

6.30 pm. Practise session 1. 7.30 pm. An excitation of the PowerPoint presentation for the next Abstraction lecture. One day, I’ll miss doing this. (Wagner’s, Der Ring des Nibelungen played in the background. The opening section is almost unbearable.) While both were underway, I fielded emails/Facebook messages from/with postgraduates, both current and to come. Social media is a useful pedagogical tool. Sometimes, when looking for images and articles on the internet, I come across something that’s useless to me but very relevant to a student under my charge. If they’re one of my Facebook buddies, I can slip it to them, effortlessly. In this way, the tutorial relationship remains open … like a conversation that never quite concludes. 

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