Before starting this assignment, because I genuinely did not know how to start it and needed some time to procrastinate, I decided to look back a bit. I started at the beginning, a very good place to start I am told. Rereading the syllabus for this class was a lot like rereading Jemisin’s novels; I now could see the clues that were being left right from the beginning.
Let’s start with the course epigraphs. The one said by Nassun is now heartbreaking to me, “If she hurts him because she loves him, is that still hurt? If she hurts him a lot now so that he will hurt less later, does that make her a terrible person?–the narrator about Nassun,” but I see why it was chosen in terms of the course title, Blackness, Love, Justice. Something The Broken Earth trilogy has made abundantly clear is that love can manifest itself in many different ways. And we are given many examples of love in some of its most complex forms; Alabaster and Essun, Hoa and Essun, Essun and Nassun, Nassun and Schaffa. Each example breaking a preconceived notion of love that I had. In one of the first meetings with my final group we discussed how some people never read fantasy novels growing up because they found them hard to relate to our world. But what we all ended up agreeing on was that Jemisin does an incredible job at taking some of the most intense and complicated ideas of our world, and adding it to hers.
The second epigraph, a piece from Kazuo Ishiguro’s Nobel acceptance speech, was the one that I really resonated with however. “Important turning points in a writer’s career – perhaps in many kinds of career – are like these. Often, they are small, scruffy moments. They are quiet, private sparks of revelation.” This part of the quote has become really important to me because the thing I loved most about this class was how, during small group discussions, we would discover something through our conversation and active thinking. That idea is what I have been building my through line around; how we have actively learned through our conversations. In this class we have always been there for each other when we’ve had to face the hardest moments of this trilogy. Having a peer support system to be there when I’m struggling with a concept or don’t have an answer or just figured out the answer has been one of my favorite parts of this semester.
The best example I have of this is when Sabrina Bramwell and I were talking, about mid-way through The Fifth Season, and we ended up screaming because we realized that Damaya and Syenite were most likely the same person. While that may not have been “quiet” we certainly felt the “spark of revelation.” I think my favorite part of this class has been the conversations I’ve had. Whether it was in class or out of class I loved seeing someone else’s eyes light up when I brought up Essun or Alabaster. The way that I’ve grown the most this semester is through these conversations; I have learned how to have really thoughtful and meaningful discussions with my peers.
Unfortunately the part of this class that I did not master was the art of the blog post. As I think I’ve mentioned before I do have trouble putting myself and my writing out there, but there was also an aspect of laziness to it that I feel I should not deny or hide. I have not had many experiences fighting against a rolling deadline, I know I did not live up to my potential this time but in the future I think I’ll be able to handle it better.
I actually had a really interesting experience with my first blog post this semester. In one of my music classes, Music in Western Civilization up to 1750, we discussed a rather problematic composer. Carlo Gesualdo was a composer during the 16th century that discovered his wife in bed with another man and murdered them both. The unfortunate truth about Gesualdo though is that his music is some of the most groundbreaking work of the era. Through our study of him I was given the opportunity to go back revist my first blog post which talked about the struggle of dealing with problematic artists. Overall I am fairly happy with that post, I know it was not my best work but the concept of separating art from artists is still something I struggle with and having a platform to discuss my thoughts was really helpful.
I feel I should also talk about what I felt my weakest blog post was. I really liked the idea for this blog post because I love mythology and especially Greek Mythology. This is one of the ones I just tried to rush out because I knew that I needed to get some posts up. I think had I written this one sooner after our meetings with the geology professors I would have done a better job on it. Just another example of laziness getting in my way again. Mythology has actually come up a few times in my different groups throughout the semester. It has been interesting hearing other peoples takes on which mythology they think Jemisin drew from the most; I once had a great talk with one of my groups about Jemisin’s inspirations from Egyptian mythology.
I am going to miss this class a lot next semester, and I know that I am not the only one who feels that way. I honestly could not wait for Mondays and Fridays because it meant that I got to see everyone and talk about this amazing book series. For me this class is one of those classes where I walk away different than how I came in; I feel like I’ve grown both as a student and as a person. And as they say, everything ends. It’s time to put Jemisin down for a little while and start focusing on my next set of challenges. But I feel comfort knowing that I can always go back to Jemisin’s world. I have a feeling that this is a series where I will always be able to find something new that I never noticed before. And when I do, I’ll have at least 20 people to share it with.