Saturday, October 19, 2013

Week 9: fiction and fact: speculative piece

When I looked again at my syllabus to check out what was supposed to happen for week 9, my heart sank. What the heck was I thinking? What is a speculative piece and why even use the seven-letter f-word, when it's the four-letter f-word ("fact" is more or less the one I have in my mind right now) that you are supposed to be concentrating on in this course?

What was I thinking when I dreamed up this syllabus a year ago for Faculty Senate approval? For a day or two I wandered around the house, thinking, 'Oh, speculative, like they're supposed to speculate on what the world will be like in 2525?' I knew that couldn't be right.

'What if' came a little closer. What if x happened, how would things then play out? Like science fiction? No. No. No. But 'what if' more or less captures the week. Any 'what if' starts with facts and then, without exactly being fiction, tries to realistically and plausibly imagine the next bit, a glimpse of the future but tethered closely to facts, the present, the likely, and the real.

So, without being quite sure what the week was all about, a topic that I knew was right for the week showed up eventually, perhaps because it's something I worry about and my wife and I have talked about.

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