Monday, 10 December 2012

An Unexpected Journey

Bandwagon? What bandwagon?

Yesterday was another teaching session with my Sri Lankan student, whose writing progresses with subtle pokes and prods from me. He has to write a descriptive essay, and after last week's lesson on brevity and length we talked about emotion and exposition. I've told him he's absolutely forbidden from telling the audience what is happening. "He was scared," is utterly repugnant. It's all feelings and faces and imagining the scene unrolling in his head like a movie. There is no narrator.
Of course there is a lot of exposition; every time a character explains the plot to move things along, but we're going to avoid telling him that for the moment and concentrate on the language of description.

He's chosen to describe the war in Sri Lanka, which I confess is a little...unsettling, but he was there, and it does evoke incredible emotion, so that's a great start. I just worry that he's a little close to it all. Still, he seems okay so far. We're starting with the assassination of the sixth Prime Minister of India, a really horrible story to work with - but horror works well for descriptive language; we can use soft, gentle language to set the scene and then contrast it with powerful, violent language. Calm before the storm, clichés aplenty, etcetera. It's really interesting to see someone whose first language isn't English making links and suggesting verbs and ideas that are really quite startling. Very satisfying.

In any case, he's making excellent progress, and has promised me he'll work on it during the week. We shall see how that turns out; when I am there to pressure him he sparkles. Otherwise I suspect he comes off the gas a little. I suspect this because it's what I did.

The rest of Sunday was uneventful, relaxing. Did the washing up that tends to pile up when one is a bachelor, the laundry, kicked back and read a little. Blissful, really.

My Monday, by contrast, has been rather uninspiring. I went into Paris to collect some things from our soirée at the Sénat, but everything was just...grey. Perhaps my mood leeched into my vision, but it was just insipid and dull. Took a few pictures, mooched, and it started to drizzle - again, that insipid, pathetic, can't-even-be-bothered-to-properly-rain. Proper rain you can do stuff in, fight, kiss, declare love - all three, if you're anything at all like me. This was just...dampness that hung in the air.

Still. Tomorrow is a Latter Day, and hopefully it will bring interesting things. I've a couple of interesting meetings, a very long paper to look over for a student, and some research to do. It should be very exciting and keep me delightfully busy.

We hope so. Don't we precious?