Today, I have a monumental task before me–getting past writer’s block. This has not typically been a problem for me since I started blogging. I have a feeling that writing is a skill that becomes easier when you make a habit of it.
In this particular case, I am writing about literature and technology and war and humanity. It will be a chapter in a book edited by a colleague, but it has been like extracting teeth from an elephant. Through its ear. The intended audience is high school and undergrad, so I have tried to be direct, avoid “theory-speak” (which I secretly disapprove of anyway), and look at a couple of books that are still read at those levels, including Slaughterhouse-Five and Catch-22. My original intent was to write about them as tales of the Cold War, in which conventional aerial bombing was being used as a metaphor for atomic bombing. And both of those novels are about the Cold War, though they are either largely or entirely set during the Second World War. But that original line of questioning, while there, seems to have petered out a bit. I lost enthusiasm for that particular line of reasoning, and enthusiasm is key to keeping up momentum.
I have changed tact a little, writing about the concept of a “war machine” and its effect on free will, and I am bringing in another novel that more thoroughly examines this concept, though it is not as widely read by high schoolers.
Grumble. It’s over 2/3 of the way there. I’m on the last section, but squeezing it out has felt like having a confession of witchcraft pressed out of me.
But it’s better now. I really need to finish a draft today, so that I can get my syllabus into shape for Monday, when my class on conspiracy theories begins. I am quite excited about that and a little anxious. I’ve yet to hit upon that perfect final project that will synthesize everything that the kids will have learned. It will come to me, I’m sure, but it has not quite become obvious to me.
Any ideas for a final writing project on project on conspiracy theories? Digital or otherwise? Let’s crowd source this sucker!