Yesterday's writing class included a discussion of plot, an examination of Neil Gaiman's "How To Talk to Girls at Parties," some in-class writing, and my announcement that their SF stories are due in three weeks. Starting tomorrow, I meet with each student individually to discuss their ideas for the stories, provide what guidance I can, and quell any unease or panic. Producing an entire SF story can -- as I well know -- cause panic. I remember.
In the afternoon, Sebastian, two other doctoral candidates, and I took the tram to a Leipzig suburb for tea at the home of my colleague, Anne Koenen. This was completely delightful. Homemade scones and jam, freshly whipped cream, and -- even better -- great conversation. Leo is doing his thesis on hip-hop culture during the GDR, the Russian occupation of East Germany. I had no idea there was any hip-hop culture here during the GDR. Marie's thesis area is African-American writers of the fantastic, and we discussed Octavia Butler. Anne is teaching a course on American consumerism; I asked to sit in on one session of this, from curiosity. Earlier in the day, while wandering around the city central, I came across a "Euro Store" -- the equivalent of American Dollar Stores. Everything cost one euro.
I also saw another strange and charming sight. A woman was pedaling her bike along the bike path, towing a small, low structure that was enclosed in a sort of tent, with mesh sides and rain-proof top. As she passed me, I could hear a small child inside the moving tent, happily singing "Twinkle, Twinkle, Little Star" in German, riding along snugly in the rain.