A web is a concrete accomplishment

Posted on October 26, 2010 by

I’ve been looking through my cobweb photos from Burnaby Lake, all of which, incidentally, are spider free. It’s all threads and plants and water drops. There were so many I had to divide the upload into two batches, one of fragments and close-ups, another of whole webs, like this one.

Whole cobwebs

A web, I can’t help noticing, is work. It’s a finished thing, purchased with life and effort. The orb weavers eat their webs each night and spin them anew in the early hours of the day, I’ve read. And I’ve been thinking about that as I look at the pictures, and simultaneously work through a bit of teaching work. I am in the early stages of Creating Universes, Building Worlds, which is the first UCLA class I ever developed. It’s a short fiction workshop, all SF/F/H, and the thing that stands out about my current group is how well read they are. I’ve had classes that know from Asimov and Bradbury, Herbert and Rowlings… and almost nobody else. But this month I’m hearing them talk about Marion Zimmer Bradley and Kelley Eskridge, too, Octavia Butler and Charlie Stoss and Elizabeth Bear, people from all over the genre map. It’s exciting; I can’t wait to see what they come up with as their stories develop.

In the winter–which means January–I am teaching Novel II again and come spring it’ll be Novel III, the latter for the first time. My mind is full of teacher stuff for all three courses: interesting challenges for the Creating Universes folks, what do I want to do better with the Novel II class (last time I taught it was my first, so there’s lots thought and feedback and potential tweaking), and how do I want to structure Novel III?

I work on one class, set up another plan a third. Different cycles, no web-eating, less easily quantified results, but it’s perhaps not a wholly unrelated process.

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