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Final Performances: Behind the scenes of the Literary Lab!

vspaeth's picture

So EGrumer and I worked with dglasser to help flesh out her idea of Literary Labs a little more!

Some of the things I was responsible for were:

I linked to the websites where I found both the list and character profile in case anyone wants to see them again.  The book list was something dglasser knew she wanted when she originally designed the labs.  The idea, and she can correct me if I'm wrong, was that you would be able to draw inspiration from these various works.  The character profile is something that I (and EGrumer) had used before when acting.  Normally they're used to help people in the chorus or minor roles flesh out a character for themselves so they can put more into their performance on stage.  I liked this one because it was really detailed and I thought it would be useful to help writers develop characters if that's what they wanted to work on in the lab. 

We didn't end up using the playlist that I made (which is fine) but I actually had the most fun making it.  I like to listen to lots of different kinds of music; from country to Evanescence to JPop and anything in Spanish.  Sitting down to make a playlist that would have a least one useful song for each person in the class.  It was hard and I don't know if I was successful but it made me think a lot about the difficulty behind genres but also how useful they can be.  If I had a genre for everyone it may have been easy to pair music with them, but people surprise you.  So yeah, let me see if I can link to some of the songs that were on the playlist I made! 

Abridged Playlist!

Antologia - Shakira

Anywhere - Evanescence

Be Okay- Ingrid Michaelson

Goodbye Earl - Dixie Chicks

Goodnight - Evanescence

Hotel Song - Regina Spektor

I'll Cover You- From the movie version of Rent

Fukai Mori (Do as Infinity) - From the anime Inuyasha xD

Passion - Utada Hikaru (From Kindgom Hearts II video game)

Sadness and Sorrow - From the anime Naruto XD

Vanilla Twilight- Owl City

So these were some of the songs on the playlist.  It's a random collection, and hopefully everyone would have like SOMETHING on this list.  As for being inspirational; if the songs had words in languages most of us understand than I wanted the words to be...meaningful in a way.  Then there was more space for someone to find inspiration.  The songs in languages like Japanese maybe would remind someone of their childhood or a particular friend and that would inspire them.  Otherwise the songs were just instrumental like Sadness and Sorrow and would theoretically make someone feel something that could inspire them.  Overall I had fun making the playlist, and I wanted to share a little piece of it with the class!



EGrumer's picture

My part in the English Lab

I also worked on the English Lab. As well as brainstorming, helping with the teach-in presentation, and providing some crazy props for said teach-in, I was also responsible for creating a database of literary criticism and analysis.  One of the first steps, in the English Lab, is to study what other writers have said about writing and English.  To create the database, I looked at a wide range of works about literature, then chose ten that seemed fairly eclectic.  I wanted different options from different people who thought in different centuries.  What I ended up with was a list of works (to be shown below), and I provided a summary for each one.  I also found online versions of each piece, except for two, and listed links to these digital versions, although Fish only got an excerpt, and Derrida had no link at all.

The pieces I chose were:

The Pleasures of the Imagination by Joseph Addison (1712)

The Decay of Lying by Oscar Wilde (1891)

What is Art? by Leo Tolstoy (1897)

A Room of One's Own by Virginia Woolf (1929)

Politics and the English Language by George Orwell (1946)

Death of the Author by Roland Barthes (1967)

The Western Canon by Harold Bloom (1994)

Where Do You Get Your Ideas? by Neil Gaiman (1997)

Monolingualism of the Other by Jacques Derrida (1998)

How to Write a Sentence by Stanley Fish (2011)

Some of these are books, some are essays, some are book-length essays, one is a Socratic dialogue, and one is a blog post.