Okay, since I now seem to be crawling out of the tunnel of crazy hard work that has been ruling my life this month, I wanted to offer one more excuse, in addition to THE BOOK
, which has been taking up some of what would have been my free fun time... but it's something very nice: a fine little online journal called Journey to the Sea
This is a project created by my genius former student, someone I met in my very first class on my very first day of university teaching in 1999 in a course on Ancient Epic (which has now morphed into my online Mythology-Folklore course). We've stayed in touch all these years - he's since graduated, and then got a master's degree in Business school (MIS) and now he's a webmaster for Blockbuster. You can tell this guy is a genius at web design - the journal looks marvelous, if I do say so myself. Talk about a tale of the pupil surpassing the master! Randy may have done his first webpages in a class with me ten years ago, but now he can run circles around me when it comes to web design. He is so talented! (He's also the genius behind the RotatingContent.com
tool I use to build all my widgets, and he also created the online classical Greek typewriter at TypeGreek.com
which I used when I was teaching Biblical Greek online.)
Anyway, over all these years Randy has kept pursuing his interest in mythology, and about six months ago he came up with the idea of creating an online journal. And sure enough... he's done it! The third issue just came out
(it's a once-a-month thing) and so far it is all going according to his very nicely thought out plan. The idea was that he and I would each do pieces for the first couple of issues and on that basis he would then start approaching the artists and authors and scholars who interest him, and soliciting pieces from them, or asking for interviews. So, in this third issue, he has an interview with Travis Prinzi, and he's got the next four issues or so planned out with interviews and articles from some really interesting people whom he has contacted and who have agree to participate. The stuff he has been writing for the journal is just super. I think his piece on the Islamic legend of Iblis
in the latest issue is fantastic.
What I think is really marvelous about this is Randy's decision to keep the articles all to around 1000-1200 words in length. This has been really good for both of us, keeping us from being too long-winded about things! (Everybody here knows I am prone to be verbose.) We've been reading each other's drafts and giving each other lots of feedback, which has been fascinating for me. I don't ever think I've had the luxury of someone really helping me with my writing like this. This type of writing - let's call it semi-scholarly - is not the kind of writing that I am normally inclined to do (I had totally sworn off scholarly writing), and without the structure of this whole project I never would have thought of doing anything like this on my own - but I am really pleased with the results!
For the next issue, the one we are putting together right now and which he will publish online on October 1, I wrote an article about a mystical Sufi interpretation of an Aesop's fable. It was so much fun to write! I used to be quite a keen student of Sufi wisdom literature, although that is definitely from a long-ago chapter in my life... but one which I am glad to reopen! I'll post a note here when that issue comes out. In the first three issues, I did a series of articles on the themes of European, Native American and African-American magic in Orson Scott Card's Alvin Maker series (so of course I was excited when Orson Scott Card came up as one of the authors Nancy does with her students).
Anyway, I'd like to be better about blogging here - I'm afraid of falling into that trap Nathan just mentioned in the technology discussion about teachers who are so busy teaching that they don't have to learn. I don't want to be so busy getting my students to learn how to blog that I forget to take some time to do a bit of blogging, too! But it's been a very productive few months for me, so I'm not complaining exactly... just bemoaning the limited number of hours in the day! :-)