A Hurricane of Textuality

I guess I have some super-secret MezzoSherri playbook, where the private definition of “I’m going to post a couple times a week” means, instead:

I’m going to take two weeks off where I don’t write a damn thing at all.

I guess radio silence is sometimes unavoidable.

In part, this has been the result of living in a fortnight-long perfect storm. The last 16 days have brought me the following waves, in sequential yet overlapping order: deadlines, travel, more deadlines, illness, more travel. (Whee!!!)

Take a system already on the low slope of one’s personal energy curve and put her through that precise sequence of events and you pretty much have a textbook case of “something’s gotta give.”

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Expanding My Horizons

My decision to keep the Comics class out of the rest of my Coursera options isn’t just about the pop culture/high culture divide. It’s also a class where I have a very particular learning goal in mind. I’ve read comics and graphic novels intermittently throughout my life, but I am very aware of the ways that my reading has always been focused more on language, plot, and characterization — the things I’m good at and was trained for in grad school. This approach has always given immense short shrift to the visual content of comix.*

So by taking this class, and by choosing this particular class as the one to stay with, I’m hoping very precisely to strengthen my understanding of the visual elements of comix, and how to read them as visual documents.

Now, there’s no stakes, really, if you take a MOOC course and do it only halfway — watch only part of the lectures, or watch all the lectures while skipping the assignments. But I’m enough a believer in active learning that I usually try to do all the lectures and “homework” in the MOOC courses I take. This is part of why I try to be thoughtful about not overloading my schedule.

What I hadn’t counted on with this class is one of the main homework assignments: drawing your own mini-comic book!

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Lowering the Brow

Way back when — I mean, way back when I was right out of college and still in the musicology Ph.D. program I attended, before jumping ship to literature & culture, which was before jumping ship en toto — a few of my school friends and I took a road trip up from Philly to see a performance at the Met.

Enough years have passed that I can’t tell you which opera. It was definitely something 20th century and modern/post-modern, knowing the operatic tastes of the group members (myself most emphatically included in the tally of that preference). Strangely enough is how one of the clearest memories I have from that trip (aside from impressing the gang with my ability to surgically insert my Honda into the flow Lincoln Tunnel traffic) was something that happened at dinner before the show.

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