Wednesday, September 10, 2008

Campus Newspaper Survey

I found a short survey in my campus mailbox today, distributed by English Club for a feature in the university newspaper. They're collecting faculty responses, and some of the questions are straight-forward, like what's your name and position with the university?

Others, though, prove problematic:

#2: What's your favorite book of all time?
Of all time? I can say what my favorite book is today, or what it was yesterday, and maybe they'll be the same book, but maybe they won't. So, "of all time?" Impossible.

#5: What was your greatest writing success and how did you accomplish it?
This one, especially, stumps me. What counts as success, what counts as greatest? Does having people like Oracle enough to occasionally nag me about finishing it count?

Obviously, I could just pick an answer and get on with my life, but I'm pre-occupied with the questions. It's all about wording.

Tell me, if you were answering the survey, what would you fill in for those two?


Debbie said...

I'm with you on the favorite book one. Back in the Fem Ink days, a lot of the prompts involved favorite whatevers. I always wrote something along the lines of what you said. "If forced to pick one favorite movie, I'd say Philadelphia Story, but I love Moulin Rouge and Pulp Fiction and and and...."

Greatest writing success? Actually finishing a novel is the truthful answer. For purposes of the the survey, I'd probably say Dan Lazar's reaction. But having the CWC say that Vesta was "the best thing I've read by you" did wonderful things for my ego (then immediately turned into great doubt over what I'd written before). And winning the AL contest. And having two critique group members fight over something I wrote. All are cool and success in different ways.

Anyother great answer would be, "That I'm still doing it."

Jenny said...

If pressed for favorite book: Harry Potter--seven books, one story, so I think it counts. But Gone With the Wind was impressive, Things They Carried wonderful, and I really loved The Long Walk by King.

My greatest writing success is a long story, so I won't go into it here. It involves poetry and being a whacked out teenager....

Camille said...

#2: Up the Line by Robert Jordan; Doesn't matter how many other books I love, Up the Line is the one that wins my heart. It's so damn clever.

#5: My greatest writing success is realizing I'm NOT a writer =P

Marie D-W said...

Well, on the favorite book: I'd have to go with what I read for comfort back years ago when I had severe insomnia: the Darkover novels by Marion Zimmer Bradley and the Earth's Children's novels by Jean Auel and "Beauty" by Robin McKinley. These are comfort novels like comfort food, so I think that classifies as favorite. Not the greatest, most award winning literary creatives but great escapes.
My greatest writing success thus far, which I just wrote about on another blog, is just walking in the door of the writer's group.