Sunday, January 15, 2017

Syllabi, world creation and via ferrata

Via ferrata in Austria
By Luidger - Own work, CC BY-SA 3.0, Link
I'm spending my days layering class prep over the final work on a book manuscript due to the publisher in about a month.

Writing today felt a bit like I was climbing up this cliff. Strapped onto a cable, exposed to the elements and grabbing for any handhold I could.  (Thanks, Flannery O'Connor for the lift midafternoon and to Crash who read a texted version of a couple of paragraphs on his phone between planes).

These fixed climbing routes are called a via ferrata - an "iron road" in Italian.  In some ways my intro chemistry class is a via ferrata, a way to climb through some tough material using fixed points I've constructed. It's a collaboration between the climbers and the creator of the route, and work is required on both parts.  (I have climbed a couple of easy routes this way - in Acadia and in New Mexico - the views were great, but I was pretty terrified the whole way, which hopefully my students will not be.)

I also read somewhere, by someone, a great essay about syllabi as a genre, specifically "world creation" genre.  I wish I could find it again.

Book report:  100% drafted; 77% in reasonable draft; 43% in near final draft; 23% in rather drafty draft.  This week's goal - to get those pieces in drafty draft well on their way to final draft.

And if you're wondering how I stumbled onto the term via ferrata -it's how you get to this hotel.  Warning, the photos are not for the height averse. 


  1. Wow! What a great picture - perfectly capturing so much of my inner life! I'm so grateful for the cable and handholds you continue to offer! :)

  2. Katherine3:29 PM

    Is this the essay:

    Via ferrata is a wonderful image ...
    Good luck with juggling all those projects. Wish I had the energy and creative spirit.