Wednesday, November 19, 2008

Conference Jitters

This Saturday is the conference for my senior seminar course. We're all going to be presenting the very long papers we wrote as our English capstone project to a group of professors and audience who are all only vaguely interested because they're obligated as university professors and family/friends to attend this conference.

There are 10 of us graduating from the English department this year (it's a small university) so there are 10 papers to sit through.

This year, for the first time, along with the option to write a painfully dull academic research paper, the instructor gave the option to write a creative paper. Oh Joy! Because I did not want to write a super long and boring academic paper.

So, I chose to write 3 chapters of a novel I'm working on, and I'll be presenting one of those chapters at the conference on Saturday. I was the only person who chose the creative writing option. The rest of the paper subjects consist of:

1. A biblical analysis of Fellowship of the Rings
2. A feminist gender analysis of Katherine Mansfield's "Bliss"
3. An analysis of how Hawthorne's story "The Great Stone" is symbolic of man's connection to nature
4. An exploration of the tendency of Victorian authors to revere the dead female form
5. A paper by an English ed. major on the importance of teaching reading for deeper comprehension
6. A feminist analysis of Captain Kathryn Janeway in Star Trek Voyager
7. A feminist analysis of Hawthorne's "Blithedale Romance"
8. A feminist critique of Kerouac's "On the Road" and "The Subterraneans"
9. A feminist analysis of romance novels as a genre.
10. My novel chapter.

(There's only one guy in the class...can you guess which paper is his?)

Lucky for me, I drew the very last spot on the conference schedule, so if anyone is either a) left in the audience, or, b) still awake, I get to close the show with a literary reading from my novel-to-be.

Needless to say, as the only creative piece in the bunch, I'm a nervous wreck. On the one hand, I feel like I lucked out because I haven't had to kill myself researching, citing sources, making airtight arguments, etc. Blech. On the other hand, I feel like because I haven't done that work, because my whole paper is fiction, that perhaps I will command less respect for not having worked so hard on an academic analysis of something.

So, I have 2 more days to polish my presentation, practice reading my chapter out loud, and trying to squeeze the whole thing into 10 minutes.

Wish me luck...and send me all your positive vibes on Saturday! I'm hoping I can make my little creative piece shine in comparison to all the high brow academic work.


Angie Ledbetter said...

Good on you for taking the road less populated. I'd have done the same.

Think of the others' academic papers as students writing about someone else's work with their own opinions thrown in. Yours, conversely, is SHOWING how to take all you've learned and creating an original new work! Kudos and best of luck. Let us know how it went! (Hey, maybe there'll be an agent or editor in the audience who wants your work. Wouldn't that be stupendous?)

Wall_Flower said...

I think you will do great. Just think about how you are one of the only creative writers graduating. Next year another instructor will be teaching the course, and creative writers wil not have the same wonderful oppertunity you have had to break free from the confines of academia. Don't worry, I promise not to stare too hard when you read your chapter!:)

Embee said...

Okay wallflower...are you going to let me know who you are or are you just messin' with me?!

Embee said...

Hah! I knew I was right! I figure out who wallflower is, in case anyone cared!