Thursday, March 10, 2011

Good Influences

This last week I've been prepping for the PLACE exam with my study guide from inter-library loan.
Well, to be more accurate- on Monday I skimmed the book and took the practice test, on Tuesday I post-it noted it and devised a study guide to encompass the 5 weeks I have to prep, and on Wednesday I didn't do a damn thing related to studying because it was my birthday. I chose to watch "Teen Mom 2" on (blame Jezebel for that, I don't have cable or a TV and was blissfully unaware of that show until I read an article about it on that site) while eating pizza and drinking Cherry Coke. But I digress...

Today was my first actual day of studying. The test covers 22 competencies, and since I have 5 weeks I decided that I would work through the book twice by doing 1-11 in Week 1, 12-22 in Week 2, and repeating the same schedule for Weeks 3 and 4. Week 5 will be devoted to reviewing anything I need extra prep on. So tonight I sat down to knock out competencies 1-5 (I plan to do 6-11 tomorrow so that my birthday weekend can be entirely devoted to fun). The first 5 competencies are the most dense, covering basic literary terms, historical experiences that inform writers' work, and separate competencies in British and World Lit, American Lit, and Young Adult Lit and Childhood Development. It has been a good decade since I reviewed things like periods and movements in literature, and timelines of literary works, etc. So it was an immense relief to me to realize that I had read about 90% of the books referenced in each period/movement. The study guide would be talking about Romanticism, and oh look, they used as an example is a book I have read. And I remembered the authors, and other books they had written that were not referenced. Having such vivid memories of reading those books really helps solidify the peripheral info of dates and places and history.

It made me really, really grateful for being well read. Lest you think that is obscenely egotistical, let me clarify- I'm grateful that a love of reading was instilled in me. I'm grateful that my parents bought me books and put up with my C's in conduct in elementary school because I would read when I "wasn't supposed to". Side note- um, what was my teacher thinking?? I got C's in conduct for reading when I "wasn't supposed to"?? I'm grateful to my 3rd grade teacher Mrs. Cunningham for encouraging me to write stories and for letting me borrow her books. I'm grateful to my 5th grade teacher Mr. Parks, who let me totally ignore him in the back of the room when I would finish my work quickly and then read books while he lectured. And I'm exceptionally, over the moon grateful to Mrs. Clement. She was my English and Spanish teacher all through high school. She pushed me to read classics by refusing to give out A's on book reports unless they were over classics. She helped me study for competitions in Literary Criticism for U.I.L., and was proud of me when I competed at State both years I participated. She let all of us students ramble about our lives and complain about our frustrations in class, and she somehow had the perfect balance of free form conversational time and get down to business you WILL LEARN PROPER GRAMMAR seriousness.

I'm infinitely less stressed about this test now than I was before. But for now, it's bed time. And I want to get some reading in before I drift off to sleep.

Well, wait, one last thing. Speaking of sleep, the study guide referenced one of my all time favorite short stories, The Circular Ruins by Jorge Luis Borges. Here's one of my favorite quotes:
"He dreamed that it was warm, secret, about the size of a clenched fist, and of a garnet color within the penumbra of a human body as yet without face or sex; during fourteen lucid nights he dreampt of it with meticulous love. Every night he perceived it more clearly. He did not touch it; he only permitted himself to witness it, to observe it, and occasionally to rectify it with a glance. He perceived it and lived it from all angles and distances. On the fourteenth night he lightly touched the pulmonary artery with his index finger, then the whole heart, outside and inside. He was satisfied with the examination. He deliberately did not dream for a night; he took up the heart again, invoked the name of a planet, and undertook the vision of another of the principle organs. Within a year he had come to the skeleton and the eyelids. The innumerable hair was perhaps the most difficult task. He dreamed an entire man--a young man, but who did not sit up or talk, who was unable to open his eyes. Night after night, the man dreamt him asleep."

1 comment:

  1. "The Circular Ruins" is one of my favorites, too. I read it in college and was pretty moved by it.