Monday, November 14, 2011

post 14 november

Ah, travel. How much I like being in many places, and how excited I am for the invention of teleportation so I can get to all of them more quickly and efficiently!

Spent last weekend in Mykolaiv for the third seminar in the Writing Beyond Reality series. Good stuff. This time we moved on from just working with our five chosen genres—fiction, poetry, drama, creative non-fiction, and essays—into a wider variety of mini-lessons and onward into publishing. We had fun with found writing, slam poetry, a character support group, exploded moments, prose poetry, flash fiction, and more, plus zines, performance, blogging and other digital media, sound art, and bookmaking. The hope is that we—and all participants!—will make their own individual publication projects, as well as contributing to a group anthology.

Traveling between Kyiv and Mykolaiv in coupe instead of platskart was surprisingly exciting. Having a closed-in cabin instead of open sleeping shelves was a luxury, even being on the top bunk. Quality traveling companions always improve every trip, of course—here’s looking at you, Andrew and iea, plus Shannon and Jason!

I just got back early yesterday morning from Kyiv again, having spent three days in Chernihiv on Adopt-A-Cluster activities. This was a chance to meet with a group of Peace Corps Trainees, as well as members of their link clusters, and share my experiences with them. I co-taught a lesson on teaching vocabulary, then led another session on teaching writing. Good times. I think they may have thought I was a little ridiculous with how excited I was to be talking about writing, but hey. Peace Corps Volunteers are a little odd in general, and yes, I am excited about talking about writing! Another activity I got to take part in was a city-wide scavenger hunt. Despite the cold weather—big lovely snowflakes in the morning, but nothing but wet on the ground—the misty, intermittent rain, and the unexpectedly complicated instructions, we muddled through. Where is the 13th cannon? Where is the cheapest place for a man to get a haircut? For a woman to get a haircut? Where is the oldest church in Chernihiv? What’s playing at the philharmonic? The children’s theater? Who is the cut-off man? So many opportunities to gain confidence in asking for help… so much time to build up anticipation of the sweet, sweet hot chocolate to follow. Not all made it through, but those who did were richly rewarded with tiny cups of thick, melty goodness. Mmmmm…. melty goodness…

The deadline for the film fest entries has passed, and we have just four and a half entries [one might be on its way tomorrow, but we’ll see]. Still, it’s really cool to see the work that each team put into their story and production. Vika and I finished our film, too, and it looks pretty good. Will it—or any other films—be available online? Maybe, but you’ll have to wait until after the film festival! It looks now like we’ll have the showing on November 23, but we’ll see. Have to wedge this event between one Ukrainian holiday and one American holiday: Students’ Day—November 17—and Thanksgiving—November 24.

In other news… Newvember is going fairly well. I’ve been doing my best to fit in 30+ minutes of Something Active each day, plus morning yoga, and cutting out extra treats. Hard to tell if there’s much of a difference in how I look, but I feel pretty good. Plus, I’m sure my neighbors across the courtyard find it very entertaining when I’m doing the Bollywood Dance Workout in front of my living room window at night. Showtime!

Nanowrimo is… progressing. At this moment, I have 15,382 words, so I’m behind, but I’m pushing on! To those of you out there engaged in the same challenge, my writers-in-arms, I say: goooooooo! I mean, GO!, not something gooey, you understand. Why is it so hard to write that? Goooooh?

Next up is A Day in the Life of Ukraine. If you live in Ukraine, you can participate! If you know someone who lives in Ukraine, tell him or her to participate! The more, the merrier, and the better representation of the many ways in which people in Ukraine live their lives today—well, not today, but 13/12/11… December 13, 2011. Join in!

This week there’s a brain ring contest where I’ll be a judge, a teacher seminar in the town of Chortkiv, in Ternopilska oblast, and lots of other excitement, including actual classes with actual students! Imagine!

Also, this week brings the end of Peace Corps service to many of the members of my group—PC Ukraine Group 37. It’s really strange to imagine what things will be like without 81 of the 98 people left in our group—17 of us are extending. Best wishes too all of those on their way out over the next month—between November 17 and December 17. Congratulations on what you’ve already accomplished, and good luck on all you’re going to accomplish in your next steps in life. Щасливо вам!