Tuesday, December 18, 2012

A Student's Guide to a Party



Well you’ve graduated high school, and in the Fall you will be entering college. Are you prepared?  Partying at a college level is all about balance. Parties are the balance of funds, the balance of fun, and the balance of friends, or the FFF as we like to call it. Partying at a college level is not like partying in your parent’s basement.  It is a means for students to escape the everyday drag of essays, classes, school board committees, and jobs.   Thursday comes and students feel they have the right to let down their hair and run throughout campus. 

The School officials seem to agree. The enforcement is relaxed to the point where they are not trying to catch drunks, but making sure that the drunks are in safe conditions.  

How do you start off your night?

Monday, December 17, 2012

Snowglobe Effect


I woke up on my couch, the streetlight outside my window washed a dim light from behind the window curtain. How did I get here? Last thing I remember was being lost in Franconia Notch, curled up in a ball in the woods as the snow drifted onto me like a blanket. My apartment was hazy and my head felt groggy as I scanned the bare white walls around the living room of my apartment. The only thing that hung was the dusty mirror above the television. To my left was the stairway leading up to my bedroom, the green carpet falling over the stairs looked so beautiful to me, it was the first time I had noticed this in all the months I’ve lived here. I could hear the electronic music flowing down the stairs from the third floor as the bass dropped into a dirty breakdown. The haze began to clear as I brought my eyes back across the room and saw something strange. The digital clock read all eights across it. I shrugged it off thinking the cable must be out. “Great service Time Warner” I said under my breath as I scanned my eyes and saw my roommates door on the right shut. Suddenly I heard a loud bang come from within the room. I stood up and sat back down as my knees buckled out from under me, man did I feel like shit.

Sheriff Beans


Sheriff Beans

Now there's a legend that I've heard about that came from the wild west. It was a hero among the villains that wore a sheriff's vest. With a smile like Clint Eastwood's he stopped crime by any means. This my friend is the legend of the mighty Sheriff Beans.

Left Handed Bandit


It was a cold January night as detective Price and I were in the office filing away cases. The bourbon was on top of the mahogany desk in our musty third floor office on the corner of fifth and thirty second street. The room was dusted with the smell of stale cigarettes and a cheap cologne.

Pineapples

i like pineapples pineapples are good. pineapples are exotic and i am white so i like pineapples because they are not white. i like chinese food even though it has been white-ified. chinese food is good. i like italian food too even though it is not real. these different things are fun because they are not white. white is boring. white is familiar. i have eaten up white things up for a very long time. that is why i like non-white things. i think non-white things are better because they like to consider things differently. they are group-oriented a lot of the time. that is what is so great about these exotic non-white things. i like papaya and durian even though durian smells bad. the worst thing is that they are hard to get good. good exotic things that are a little bit white are not hard to get. that is nice because they are things that might scare others who do not accept non-white things as easily as me. my father is non-white.

my mother is white but her old family members that do not live are non-white. she is very white. my whole life was mostly white except for sometimes when my father included us in non-white activities. especially the non-white holidays. those were the best. i wonder what it is like to grow up in a non-white place. non-white places seem so vibrant even though people live there and people are still bad. bad people can be non-white but they usually go bad when they meet white-ified people. sometimes they meet-non-white people who are white.

i really do like pineapples. they come from places where is is hot. non-white people harvest lots of them for us people who live faraway in white places. these white places were stolen from non-whites. being white is boring. being non-white is exotic.


Faux

Set in a counseling office:


I'm mostly confused by my relationship with others. I spend most of my time loathing them, you know? Like, every single action is some reviling contradiction and indication of the intrinsic and frequently denied hypocrisy of human nature!

There are so many brands of lies and short life stories that people feed themselves and desperately impress upon others. It makes me want to vomit, it does. Sometimes I do. Usually in the bathroom after lunch. That's when the unpleasantness is most atrocious. I can smell it, you know? Some people are drenched in it, truly foul.

And then they start talking. The gall. They tell me, "I've been cutting down on the bad foods and dieting and exercising! I've been eating the reduced sugar Philadelphia cheesecakes and drinking the zero calorie Red Bull. Oh, oh, oh, sure, fine, you're still an imbecile. And they think they're exercising! It's humiliating, to even consider that, that they approach physical situations like that without any prior knowledge. They spend forty repetitions lifting fifteen pounds. If they were any more vacant I'd suspect that they might stop breathing.

But I crave company and I can't seem to fill the void. The soul gnawing emptiness that is accompanied by a lack of some faux imitation of authentic friends.

The Lobster Dinner



It was mid afternoon when Frank arrived at the Shallow Oyster. He sat at his regular two-person table right by the window so that he could look outside while enjoying his food. He would usually stare out the window and watch the seagulls soar through the air and swoop down in a ravenous decent in order to scoop up the smallest amount of food they could find. This was normally his favorite day. Every week he would look forward to this one day, this one moment, where he would go to his favorite restaurant and sit at his favorite checkered clothe table eating his favorite food. However, Frank knew that he wouldn’t be enjoying his meal very much today. In fact, he was dreading his favorite day.

The Scar


Based off of a somewhat true story.

Sunday, December 16, 2012

The Lighter

It wasn't so much the cigars he was interested in (though they interested him) but the beautiful lighter that had been handed down to his father that lit the cigars. Through the window for years he had seen his father light his massive cigars with the device, cigars that would burn for hours and hours as his father listlessly watched dusk fade into night. At a certain point his father took notice of his son's head peaking over the window sill to watch him. One day, breaking from the tradition, his father asked him to come sit out on the deck with him. His young mind jumped through the possibilities of what this meant.

Tuesday, December 11, 2012

Graduating into Graduate School

  
Isn't it great to be a young 20 something with the whole world in front of you?

  That's what they keep telling me. Mostly I am freaking out on a daily basis, drinking a lot of coffee and staring at open, empty word documents. And spending hours on Tumblr, convinced that I am doing "research" and this will all help my writing. Well, you probably aren't surprised, but it hasn't.

     Apparently, I am experiencing a very common phenomenon often called "senioritis", a mash up of words that make it sound like a harmless ailment. The suffix "-itis" comes from the greek word meaning "inflamation". I would not say that my "senior-ness" is being inflamed.

     I'm fairly positive they could have found a better word to describe the mind-numbingly terrified feeling I get everytime I open my application to the University of Oregon's creative writing program. I'm pretty sure there is another word to decribe the way that I break down in tears when I've heard the question "Oh, English major, huh? What are you going to do with that?" too many times in one day.

"...desirous of everything of everything at the same time..."

    “The only people for me are the mad ones, the ones who are mad to live, mad to talk, mad to be saved, desirous of everything at the same time...”

-Kerouac


     Eve picked her way through the meadow, feeling the long grasses brush against her legs. The sun hung low over the field and occasionally she would raise her face to its kiss and smile. The air was smoother than usual somehow. There was something very different about the way the air moved around her. It simultaneously made her want to dance through the long plush grass and hide somewhere in the dark, cool depths of the earth, where she could never be found. She followed the floating scent of gently decomposing fruit, that sweet, spicy musk that emanated from the bases of the fruit trees. She didn’t realize where she was headed until she was standing in front of it.

Tuesday, December 4, 2012

Airplane

This is just a small excerpt from a bigger piece I'm writing. I'm not sure where to go with it and that's why the story just ends. Give me any suggestions if you have them. Thanks!


Sunday, December 2, 2012

The Alley


          
           The girl with the hot, pink converse skipped past Grecian Boulevard. The sun high in the noon sky, she gripped her water bottle in her small hands. The streets were busy; music booming from cars, cars honking, and the chatter of people on their breaks. Mum was at home finishing the laundry. Dad was at work. And Lola, well Lola, was out in the fresh air.
            Humming her favorite tune, she stopped suddenly and looked up at the sign, reading, “Pandora's CafĂ©.” Her mouth watered. A bell rang and two young boys darted out with mint, chocolate chip ice cream dripping down their hands. Lola dug into her pockets desperately. Nothing. She sighed. Her mouth felt dry. The sweating water bottle in her hand felt nice. Uncapping the top, she took a big swig, letting the icy liquid run slowly down her throat. Gone.

Wednesday, November 28, 2012

How to Write Dialogue

We talked a bit about dialogue in class yesterday, and I expect it will come up again, as it's one of the hardest elements to master when learning to write fiction, narrative nonfiction, and scripts. Because of my theatre background, I'm especially fascinated by dialogue, and I just remembered that I actually wrote about it back in February 2006 in a blog post called, amazingly enough, "How to Write Dialogue?". (What I was most astounded to discover is that, almost 7 years later, all the important links in the post still work. 7 years in internet time is at least 7 centuries!)

All these years later, there's not a lot I'd add to the post. Google Books now exists, though, so I can point you toward some specific examples that you can look at online. Here are some worth looking at:

Tuesday, November 27, 2012

Some verbage for workshoppers

Today in class I brought up a couple terms that I thought could help streamline our work shopping process: info-dump and lampshade. These terms come to us via the always wonderful TvTropes.org.

Another invaluable resource comes from the immortal Turkey City Lexicon. This gives you all manner of words and phrases to deal with fiction as it comes.

I put these here mostly because I see no reason to reinvent the wheel when we've got a good wheel on hand. And I will note that the TCL is fairly explicitly about SF/F, most of its ideas can easily be cross applied to any general piece of fiction. And furthermore, TvTropes makes for great reading. My personal favorite trope (the tropes which appear on TvTropes are not in any way limited to television, btw) is Seinfeld is Unfunny. That, and the Thirty Xanatos Pileup.

So, when we have at each other's stories, we now have access to some tools to speak about what we're seeing. Also, I've found reading through these to be excellent places to get ideas and a deeper understanding of the things people do when they write stories, and how they can be used to great effect, both ill and otherwise.

Sunday, November 25, 2012

Good Evening, Vanessa


I know how odd I look. The only person sitting watching the rest of the wedding guests jump around on the dance floor with huge smiles on their faces enjoying the company the others give them. I smooth the wrinkles off of my lap and stare at my bare fingers against the silky pink. I never really understood modern dance. To me it does not look entertaining, but people like it so there must be something about the spastic movements that I must not see.  To tell the truth I’d rather be reading.

Sunday, November 18, 2012

The untold story of Pearl Krab's mother





This is a story I told a few years ago to my best friend. I have edited it since then so that the story makes a lot more sense. This story is not for everyone. This is a story based off the popular children’s TV show, “Spongebob Squarepants”. If you do not know this show or if you despise this show then I don’t recommend reading this short story. For everyone (or anyone) who reads this story, pleases enjoy.

karDASHian


You guys have no idea what I’m going through. I just really do not know what to do. Oh my God. I’m so disgusted and sick right now. I just really can’t stop thinking about it. I’m kinda concerned. No way!  I’m not really feeling this.

Mmkay. You can’t have like, an attitude.  I will go, because I get it. 
Wait, why didn’t you invite me? You have got to be kidding me. You’re such an idiot. GET OFF THAT CAR!

Totally. I’m an adult. What’s the emerge? What’s the 911, hun? Oh my God. I haven’t seen you in like, two weeks.

She’s not a TOY! Eww, it pooped on me. I’m going to take matters into my own hands.
I’m gonna kill her. If he wasn’t calling me I’d be like... Oh my God.

You’re crazy. This is SUCH a bad idea.I still love you.


Bye doll.

Thursday, November 15, 2012

Drunk Love

He walked into his girlfriend’s room drunk and without thought. 

A Page of Nothing


              If the point of it all was reason, then the tangerine had a lot to fear. It wasn't the fuzzy toes that were blue, but rather, the goat had left out the milk. The hammer dropped at dawn, but by the look of things, no one was in any mood for Scrabble. Pickled as they were, the mafia wanted their onions sliced. The dub step was in full swing and the moon rays were on full blast.  Santa, however, was nowhere to be seen.

The Last Straw



                It was like fingernails on a chalk board had erased the writing on the wall. They say curiosity killed the cat, but I planned to act cooler than a cucumber, and be twice as careful. Lemar thought he had an ace up his sleeve, but all bets were off. His Achilles Heel was that he was all thumbs, and I made sure all hand were on deck for what was about to go down.  He had put all his eggs in one basket, and that's when all hell broke loose. I tried to tell him all that glitters isn't gold, but absolute power corrupts absolutely. There was no turning back. He'd cashed in his chips and sent me down the river. It seemed I was at the end of my rope when I saw the light at the end of the tunnel. The answer to my problems spread out like a map before me, as clear as day. I knew what I had to do. It cost me an arm and a leg, but in no time I was free and clear. Lemar wouldn't get off as easy.
                This meant war.

Uncreative Writing

In class, we're going to listen to Kenneth Goldsmith discuss "uncreative writing". Here are some places to find out more about such writing:

Wednesday, November 14, 2012

Joey and Rachel



            "I've never been here before. Antonio's Italian Pizzeria, it has a nice ring to it. I like it."
           
            The young man nodded, his hazel eyes staring intently at his menu.
           
            "It has a great atmosphere. I just hope the food is good." The young woman opened the menu. With her head cocked to the side, her own blue eyes scanned the various dishes, "Wow, there's a lot of choices. I don't know if I can decide! Who knew for a pizza place. Joey, have you decided what you want to eat?"

Comatose Beauty


           
           Dr. Elliot Turner looked upon the sleeping form of the heiress, Rosalie Desmond. Lost in a coma, her story had transfixed him from the moment he had stepped foot in Lafayette Hospital three years ago.

            It was seven years ago when Rosalie and her family had crossed an intersection on their way home from a Gala event, only to be hit full on by a tractor trailer whose driver had drank just a bit too much that evening after being delivered divorced papers by his wife. It was at this precise moment that Rosalie had pricked her finger on the wine opener that had been given to her as a gift from an uninvited thirteenth guest whose name no one remembered. Elliot often thought of what a peculiar gift it was to give a then fifteen year old, Rosalie.

Tuesday, November 13, 2012

"Gusev" by Anton Chekhov

Russian stamp: Anton Chekhov

For Thursday, please read Anton Chekhov's short story "Gusev" and be prepared to talk about how Chekhov uses point of view in the tale. The link is to a Google Doc of the story that you can download if you wish, or just read online.

Thursday, November 8, 2012

The Space Between Breaths

The world hangs ripe, the weight of juice pulling it down and into arm's reach. All within his clutch, his fingers freeze, poised hooks of tendon and bone quivering. Inhale. The universe spreads out and the foreground recedes, a tunnel to infinity, arm pulled to the limits of existence. Snap.

The lights come on; white washed walls cracked with the forgetfulness of time. One sink, one mirror, tiled floors, it's cold. Ragged breath sounds from a distance, small and tinny, a broadcast from a transistor radio; he realizes the time to breathe has passed. Standing into the stratosphere, his head nearly scraping the dingy ceiling, he tries to walk to the door. His legs are so far away. He tells them to move. He waits. They move. He nearly falls but for the gyroscope in his chest; he thinks it's his heart.

As he stops the room exits, flying past him. He hasn't moved, but the outside is around him. He can see now, the world is a series of hallways, each inside a bigger one; they never end.

The weight of profound despair turns his body cold, damp, his skin ever thickening moss, sickly yellow. There is no right way to go. Escape is impossible. The floor gives out as his heart gives up. There is silence, and falling, and the fire of blood screaming in his chest; it wants to move.

When the world stops spinning, and the sky lives again above his head, he realizes he might make it. The sun is too hot. He brushes it with the back of his hand, and the burn lasts forever. But now that clouds crowd around him with so much good advice, friendly voices a hum to lift the spirit from the body and into space, he can't be worried about such trivial matters.

Wednesday, November 7, 2012

The Resurrection of Mercy Lena Brown


~Based on the reading, "The Great New England Vampire Panic" by Abigail Tucker



            Mercy Lena Brown knew she was dying. From the moment she began her coughing fits and those first drops of blood appeared on her pale and ghostly palm, she knew her end was coming.

            Soundlessly, Lena lay in bed with the window to her balcony cracked open. There was a light, autumn breeze and her curtains swayed. The full moon was high in the night sky and it cast its illuminating glow upon her sheets. It was on nights like these that she thought of her mother and sister who had left the earth a short ten years ago. Her own brother had succumbed to the disease, but he had left for Colorado Springs in hopes of improving his health.

            She lifted up her frail arm and stared at it. That same arm had once been strong and full. Now bones, bones that she did not even know existed, protruded and her skin was a mere and hollow covering. She let it fall to her side. How many more nights would she have? How many more days would she see?

            Her lungs ached, she breathed in deeply and let out a raspy breath. Unwillingly, a cough broke out which soon turned into one wretched cough after another. It took over her, consumed her. Her whole chest was on fire. She wanted nothing more than for it to stop.            

Bite the Apple

So, two things: Firstly, I think Steve Jobs is a great human being and a really savvy businessman. Secondly, I'm pretty sure Apple can't sue me because of parody/satire protection laws (which I believe exist in a just universe, though to be fair I've never actually looked them up and confirmed them).

That being said, when asked to re-imagine the story of Adam and Eve from a more sympathetic and feminist point of view than perhaps was given by the bible proper or later Milton, I wrote this:


Bite the Apple

Characters:
ADAM – Junior, thinks he’s cooler than he is. Not the brightest, and wants EVE.
EVE – Sophomore, fairly level headed, but not very confident.
LUKE – Smooth as a snake and oily as a used car salesman.

Scene 1: 2005, a mall. SR we see an Apple Store. There is a bench SL. Walking in the middle, ADAM and EVE, highschoolers on a date.

Whale Watching



As I slightly squat down and put all my weight on the balls of my feet, I take a quick deep breath before allowing myself to fall back. I spring my body off my feet pushing all my weight to the back and ever so easily my body forms itself into an arch and before I know it i’m plunging into the deep blue. Deep blue the ocean is, it’s all I see around me until my vision can’t make out the blue haze anymore. Any creatures that are out this far into the aquatic world even resemble the blue of the ocean, which makes it difficult to actually find what i’m looking for. I hear a muffled splash and turn to see the rest of the divers making their way to where I am.

We start flapping our legs in the heavy liquid and make our short journey in hopes to find what we’re looking for. I listen for any slight noises around me that could signal one of them coming our way. I listen to the deep blue as hard as I can but I can only hear emptiness around me, my ears starving for any kind of noise at this moment. Then within minutes I hear what all five of us have been wanting to hear since before we even stepped foot on the boat that was taking us deep into the Pacific Ocean. I listen again and hear a long, slow, low pitched almost squealing like noise. It’s a noise I can never really describe to someone because it’s one of those “you have to be there” kind of things. The rest of the divers and I start making our way in the direction where we think the noise is coming from. Luckily we went in the right direction because in the distant hazy blue I can slightly see a slow hazy blue figure moving. The figure is so big that when it first came into view I couldn’t even tell that there was a figure moving at all. It’s shape for quite sometime keeps blending in with the rest of the hazy blue until the sea creature is finally close enough that I have to swim off to the side of it before it even reaches me. It let’s out another low howling sound and right before me is a Blue Whale. The largest creature on the planet that lives in this deep blue world is right before my eyes. 

I move along far enough away from the whale so the strong current of it does not catch on to me and take over any control I have. I take my underwater camera and snap pictures of the magnificent creature gliding slowly through the heavy blue liquid. The Blue Whale continues along and becomes playful by slowly spinning around so that it is swimming upside down, showing off for the paparazzi . Time seems to be going by as peacefully and slowly as the whale is and in this moment I never want it to leave. I never want the Blue Whale to leave because I know that life will not be nearly as peaceful or beautiful as it is right now in the deep blue.

Tuesday, November 6, 2012

Sam



The wind combed it fingers through the long grasses in the front yard. The old Ford in the driveway sat rusting, slowly forgetting what color it used to be. Some neighbor kids had taken the wheels long ago. The biting november air creaked through the wood of the porch and Sammy curled his long furry body against the wind. There was a short pause between gusts of wind and a tiny squeak carried from the yard. Ears perked, Sam glanced around at the dry grass and thin gravel, his old eyes barely making out the shapes just beyond the edges of the wooden porch.

Monday, November 5, 2012

On Reviews

We're going to talk about reviews in class, so here's a link to a Google doc with some materials we'll take a look at, in addition to a few I'll photocopy.

If I were to review my own collection of reviews there, I would say it is adequate to get a class discussion going, but it is otherwise extremely limited and evidences the author's haste in putting it together. But it will serve its purpose just fine.

Friday, November 2, 2012

Good Afternoon Vanessa




The walls of my parent’s room were covered in pastels and blooming flowers to match the curtains, the bed-spread and the lampshades when we first moved in three months before Priscilla was born. Since then, two footpaths from each side of the queen sized bed branched from the entrance way have been embedded in the foam green carpet. Next to it in the corner stood the full sized mirror with the dark cherry claw footed frame that was giving as a wedding present to my mother. Tucked around the rim were pitchers now curled and faded from age of family members smiling and embracing the younger, thinner bodies of themselves that my mother had placed there years ago. As I looked into it I could see out the door behind me into the hallway that was covered in neatly framed and hung family portraits. Throughout the years I could measure myself by glancing at my reflection in this mirror. I watched my body stretch and block out the posed memories behind me. People say I look like my mother. I don’t think so. My mother was thin and elegant like Priscilla. 

A Misunderstanding

When I was a little girl my mother would always tell me that I am what I eat and whenever my father scolded me he would wag his finger in my face and ask me why I wasn't more like my sister. I must have done it wrong because everyone tells me that I'm sick, and I haven't turned into my sister yet.

Tuesday, October 30, 2012

Monologue: The Housewife


           
A woman sits alone at a mahogany kitchen table. Her eyes droop, bloodshot and sodden as her bare elbows rest upon the cold surface of the wood. Momentarily, she glances over and reads the time on her stove. Twenty minutes are left until her chicken pot pies are ready. She faces the audience, her back erect and straight, and begins to speak.

I would like to believe in happily ever after. I want to trust that there is someone out there waiting for me. You know, the perfect man. Though in reality, let us be honest; the notion of a perfect life and ending is few and far between. Oh, I thought Luke was the one. He was my prince charming, my knight in shining armor. With his jade eyes, jet-black and wavy hair, and sun-kissed skin he was what I always dreamed of. So cliché, yes I know, but love is blind and true in the eye of the beholder. A year we dated, and then he was mine until death do us part. It was a year of utter, sentimental bliss, and of romance and longing. A year of when times were fruitful and immortal.
Just barely out of college, we traveled the globe. From Paris, London, Tokyo, and Rome, we saw it all. I was a History major with a minor in English. He graduated with a Travel and Tourism degree, Business Administration as his minor. Were we not a match made in heaven? Two peas in a pod? We tasted the world and ate it up. It was ours for the taking. Arms wrapped around one another and fingers intertwined, we lived for the moment.

Good Morning Vanessa



I know how awful I look. My hair creates a wild mane around my face that is dull and puffy with the side effects of morning. I usually make it a point to avoid any type of reflective service before I have a shower, but today Priscilla is here. So I pull my hair into a bun and splash some water on my face hoping that she won’t come down the stairs as perfect as always. She does, and I try my hardest not to notice her as I count scoops of coffee into the filter. One, two, three, four. From the corner of my eye I can see her sitting at the kitchen table her left hand placed in a ray of sunlight making the diamond dance on the curtains above the sink like flies around something rotten. I look down at my own bare left hand and slowly let it wither into the sleeve of my bathrobe. I press the button on the coffee maker and wait until I hear it gurgle before I turn around and smile a good morning to her. A mid-morning kitchen has always been my favorite place to sit and think about nothing but what it feels like to be the only one beneath my skin, but today there is an extra cup in the machine; an extra body breathing air. I’m not comfortable with change.

In defense of genre fiction

I was just reading an article which resonated deeply with me: "On the comfort of bad books." Don't think for a moment I think genre books are bad. That thinking comes from the literary perspective of trade paperbacks as little better than trash, a mood I wish to combat as much as possible.

After all, there is great value in any book which invites the reader to pick it up and start flipping through pages with little to no restraint, eyes aching to see ever more words at once so they can finally just know how it ends. Firstly, who ever said that entertainment wasn't valid? Tickling people's imaginations seems a worthwhile endeavor to me both because of the enjoyment it creates for them, and the fact it makes them use their imaginations.

In fact, all my prodigious critical reading and comprehension skills came from The Hobbit, Star Wars, and Harry Potter, books I read dozens of times before my library was able to grow. (On my reading comprehension and the like, I was getting perfect scores--post high school level--on the standardized tests they gave us in the 4th and 5th grade, at a time when I was reading the Star Wars: X-Wing series through every couple months.) Reading is good for your brain, if you want your brain to be good at reading.

Borrowed Dresses

 
     He stood at the bottom on the stairs and rubbed at a permanent grease stain on his thumb. He leaned back on his chevy and squinted past the smoke of his cigarette to the bright setting sun. It was getting late.
    He heard the screen door creak open and dropped his cigarette in the dirt. He looked up to see her. Her hair was redder in the setting sun. He felt suddenly shabbier somehow, as if her borrowed dress and red lipstick were the jewels of a queen. Her face moulded into a smile as she took in his white shirt and sweaty forehead. He ran a hand through his hair and wiped it on his pants. She took the porch stairs with practiced swiftness. He took her suitcase and tossed it in the back seat. They stood face to face, neither willing to look away. This was it. 

Monologue of a Small Town Mother



Every morning my alarm goes off and I picture that old routine I used to go through during the best four years of my life. Most high school students hated the sound of their alarm going off and the thought of getting ready for an eight hour day of learning, but me I loved the thought of getting beautified before attending the high school that I admired. My typical day didn't just consist of lectures on the civil war, mind boggling math equations, and every other subject that lied in between, there was so much more that sprung up during my eight hour days of learning. Not only did I hear constant words pouring out of teachers mouths but the only sounds that seemed to pour out through the halls in between classes to me were, “wow great hair Monica! Where did you get it done this time?”, “those black boots are to die for I wish I had a pair!”, “your outfit today is adorable Monica but I mean of course you would look great in anything you put on!” I guess this was pretty normal for any high school cheer-leading captain to hear. I guess you could say my best friends and I were pretty high up on the social ladder, but that was the way it was supposed to work out. In a 1990 high school scene, the cheerleaders and jocks were the kings and queens of the whole scene that we had to live through for eight hours a day, five days a week. Not bad at all.
        As my alarm continues to go off that old routine is quickly erased out of my head with the sounds of little thumping footsteps scurrying down the hallway coming closer and closer to my room. Before I know it my little blonde haired daughter is standing in the open doorway to my room breathless, but she still manages to have enough energy to run over to my bedside. “Mommy, Mommy wake up! Today’s the day of my field trip; we have to get to school early!” I let out a silent groan and roll over to my husband who of course hasn't even budged the littlest bit. As usual it looks like I will have to be the one to get our three children together. I let out a sigh and pull myself up out of bed and continue the newest routine I go through. This is a routine I have been going through for about the past ten years, one that is much different than the routine from my high school days.
        It seems as though I have the same thoughts going through my head when I get my children ready for their school day every day. I still go back to my high school days when I wake up just about every morning. I think I do this because I never imagined my life to turn out the way it did, I guess that’s how I could put it. When I used to look in the mirror before I left for school every day I saw a tiny, sun kissed, pretty looking thing. Now when I look in the mirror before I shuffle all three monsters off to school every day I see a husky, scraggly haired, baggy eyed middle aged women dying for something new to happen. It’s not that I hate my life at all. I’m thankful for the three children my husband and I had. Claire 10, Adam 7, and Anna 5. All graced with my blonde hair and my husband’s blue eyes. Both traits seemed to be brought out more in our youth.
        I manage to get all three ready in time for Claire to get to school early enough for her big field trip to the aquarium. I don’t see what the excitement is. All their going to do is watch a bunch of fish swim around behind glass, but I’m trying to get her there in time because all that matters is that she’s excited to see this. I walk out the front door with the army of three little children behind me. I walk up to the family van- yes I did just say van. The one thing my girlfriends and I always promised each other in high school was that we would never, no matter what the circumstances were, own a van. When I had to stop working after giving birth to Adam my husband demanded that we cut back, meaning no more Lexus for me. Instead he said we would buy something big enough for our family to keep growing and something that was affordable. Two days later he came home with a van. I knew I still had a little bit of that cheer-leading attitude I had when I dated him in high school, when I actually didn't talk to him for two days. I gave into him though, as I always did and said it made perfect sense for us to have the van.
        I drop all the monsters off at the elementary school after a 10 minute car ride of constant screams and, “You hit either one of your sisters one more time Adam I swear you will be living in your room for the next two weeks”. I rest my head on the head rest of my seat and start slowly driving away. I drive by the nearby high school football field that is currently covered with skinny girls scattered throughout the field jumping all over the place gay fully. I pull off to the side and watch. This isn't the first time I have done this. I actually do this quiet often if I've had a treacherous drive to school with my kids. I watch the skinny pretty girls who I was so much like when I was in high school reliving some of my best times. After a few minutes I keep my head rested and close my eyes. I run through errands I must run today. Grocery shopping, pick up the dry cleaning, clean the house, do the laundry, walk the dogs, I could go on forever.
        How did my life end up like this? I had dreams of graduating college and becoming a hot shot journalist living in New York City or Los Angeles, attending endless parties thrown by socialites and continue the high school style drinking for the rest of my life. Of course this didn't happen. I’m still living in the same little mid western town where I lived the best days of my life in high school. I am no longer that cheerleader that I once loved being. I no longer attend keggers and drink until I can’t stand anymore. Instead after a day of running errands and tending to the monsters I kick back and enjoy two maybe three glasses of wine. I am no longer that small town cheer captain that every girl wished to be. I am now living as a small town mother.

Some reviews, a history

Since re-writing reviews is a tedious process, and as I have reviewed quite a few books in the past online, I figured I'd give some old ones before heading to the new. The first review here was featured on Matt Cheney's blog, the Mumpsimus, the last on a Star Wars fan site where I do some writing, and the rest on T.X. Watson's blog, a blog I used to write for with some frequency (before violently being reminded what workloads look like during the semester). Watson's blog is worth reading in and of itself, as well.

Star Wars: The Old Republic: Revan
Star Wars: Red Harvest
Daggerspell
Star Wars: Shadow Games
Star Wars: Choices of One
Star Wars: Heir to the Empire (20th Anniversary Ed.)

Enjoy,
-Michael DiTommaso

Love Connection With Dr. Beans


I know how scary it can be for someone to approach a woman.  The thought of rejection is crippling too many men, and this fact alone can stop most from approaching a beautiful woman.  I understand, and I am here to help!
First thing is first, you need to make a move.  Take any cheesy pick-up line you have and throw it out the window.  Pick up lines will work during amateur hour, but we are aiming for the big leagues. Some men will hide their insecurity by approaching the woman and acting like a macho man to impress her, don’t do this either.  Women can sense when a man is putting on a farce and they will tear you apart until you wish she had just denied you when you said hello.
What is important is that you be yourself without being yourself, let me explain.

Cacti Bloom for Love

WARNING: This piece contains strong language and sexual situations. Not really sexual, more dancing around it. But the language is strong. So, yeah, be warned of that. Don't come at me all mad because you can't handle swearing. I put a warning, it's all on you now.
Enjoy!

Article Link Dump

I write for a comic book and video game site called http://gameandcomic.com/.  It's a student created site run by kids from various schools around the state, namely UNH. We write reviews, previews, and whatever else we can write about whatever games, movie trailers, movies, and comic books catch our interests. Here are a couple articles I wrote about a recent, popular game called Borderlands 2.

Borderlands 2 Review: http://gameandcomic.com/2012/10/02/borderlands-2-review/

Borderlands 2: Mechromancer Character Add-On: http://gameandcomic.com/2012/10/21/borderlands-2-mechromancer-character-add-on/

Borderlands 2: Captain Scarlett and Her Pirate's Booty DLC: http://gameandcomic.com/2012/10/25/borderlands-2-captain-scarlett-and-her-pirates-booty-dlc/

The Girl Who Cried Routine!



            Anna Lee Smith was a go-getter. Every single morning Anna would wake up precisely at 6:35 am and start her day. She’d sit up in bed, slip her feet into her fuzzy purple bunny slippers and proceed to brush her teeth specifically top to bottom then side-to-side on every pearly white tooth. Anna was a 7:30 pm shower kind of girl, so she didn’t have to go through the hassle in the morning. After completing her teeth cleaning she would tiptoe down the stairs so to not wake her snoozing parents and prepare breakfast compiled of two slices of whole-wheat toast with a half slice of butter on each side and a strawberry yogurt waiting on the bottom left shelf of the refrigerator.

The Dark Comedy of Salad

What is so funny?

Look at this picture. Now ask yourself: what is so funny? Is there someone off camera telling a joke? Did the woman in the picture find something humorous in her food? Or could it be the horrifying notion that her salad is actually hilarious? Sadly, after some digging through Google Images, it seems that the latter is true.
Truly these are dark times when women can only find their comedic fix in salads. Is the problem with  us; those who would tell jokes for the amusement of other? Or do these Carlin-Esq salads just have better material than we could ever hope to write? It is a mystery that haunts me every time I pass a salad bar.
When will the day come when I look down upon my crouton and dressing soaked meal, only to find myself uncontrollably laughing? Will it be the lettuce? The carrot shavings? Something about the way the light bounces off the puddles of lite Caesar? When will the madness take me, like it has so many countless others? The thought tortures me whenever I close my eyes, or hear the crunch of the edible flora.
Hopefully our top scientist, who and wherever they may be, are working on a solution for the tidal wave of side dish comedy that is taking over the minds of our world. We can only wait, pray, and continue to ignore salads and consume greasy piles of french fries and "chicken".

Thursday, October 25, 2012

The Problem with Pacifists


CHARACTERS:
      THE PACIFIST, (usually referred to as PACIFIST)  a super villain who is fed up with being the worst villain ever, starting to come unhinged; speaks fast, a little crazed.
      CAPTAIN ASTOUNDING, (usually referred to as CAPTAIN ), a superhero of the highest caliber, speaks like the classic hero type, but slowly losing his cool as he comprehends the situation at hand
      HUGGLEPOT, the butler to the CAPTAIN, speaks like a butler; very plain and flat.



                                                                  SCENE: The lights come up revealing a large ornate room, complete with a fireplace. CAPTAIN ASTOUNDING wakes up, tied to a chair in the living room in his mansion, his costume torn in various places. THE PACIFIST is pacing back and forth in the room, hands behind his back. He pulls occasionally at his skintight yellow spandex outfit, then stops and stares for a moment as the CAPTAIN fully comes to his senses.
                                                                            

Old Friends


This week I finished reading a book that I have read at least a dozen times in the last two years, The Basketball Diaries by Jim Carroll. The book is culled from a barely teenage Carroll's diaries and covers a few years of the future poet's life, at first tracing his use of drugs and his love for basketball, and then his descent into drug addiction and what he must do to keep his habit alive.

The book is a reminder of a lot of things for me, particularly friends from the high school I went to in the city. I grew up playing sports with these kids from first grade until high school, with one of those sports being basketball like in Carroll's book, which my friends and I treated as a religion back then.

Additional Blog Post to Read

I'm adding one blog post to your reading: "Third Draft Struggles" by Benjamin Rosenbaum. I don't care when you read it, but I very much encourage you to do so. It's about how our assumptions and expectations about gender affect our writing.

Benjamin Rosenbaum is an incredibly intelligent and extremely skilled writer. (Here are some links to his work online.) To get some insight into his writing process is useful for any of us. But more important is how and what he struggles with in this post. Read it carefully and think about your own work.

Tuesday, October 23, 2012

Readings for 10/25


Your writing assignment for Thursday is to write a blog entry. No big deal. Please try to make it a  blog entry with some substance, though.

Reading was TBA, so here's the A. Since you have to write a blog entry, I thought it might be good for you to look at some entries that are diverse in their purposes and, at least in my judgment, effective. The selection is biased because it's blogs that I know about or am interested in, but I hope that doesn't mar your reading too much.

Please read through these descriptions, then choose at least 3 of the posts to read and spend some time with. We will discuss them in class, so please be prepared to talk.

Tuesday, October 16, 2012

Linkdumps



Here's an example of a linkdump: "Sunday Reading" from The New Inquiry.

In the Land of Once Upon a Time

Monday10.17.2011

I found this image while pinning on Pinterest the other day; Something I am a little too obsessed with on a daily basis. I find it interesting that I came upon this image about three days ago because on that very day I downloaded multiple free fairy tale ebooks onto my kindle. I was happy I found this image because I can totally relate to what Audrey is saying, whether she really did or didn't read fairy tales.

I still have an obsession over reading classic fairy tales and even modern ones such as Harry Potter. I love reading these kind of stories because I feel as though I have stepped into the world I am reading about and have been taken out of reality. It's not that I feel like I am a kid again, but I feel as though I am in a fantasy that has taken me away from the cruel situations that can come about in your daily life without expecting it. If I'm having a bad day for any reason at all my favorite thing to do is open up a book that is completely made up from fantasy because it will make me forget about my bad day, or whatever it is that is keeping me from being as happy as the characters in these fairy tales.

Here are some of my all time favorite fairy tales:


Peter Pan: Because what girl wouldn't want a flying hunk to take them away to Neverland and be young forever? I still dream to this day that he will swoop into my window and take me away so that I can stay 22 forever!


Snow White and the Seven Dwarfs: I'm so envious of Snow White being able to live in a quaint little cottage deep into the woods away from any kind of civilization. Something I am not very jealous of her about is eating the apple the witch gave to her....


Sleeping Beauty: I always thought it would be fun to live in a land where Fairies can grace you with positive traits at birth and to live in a castle and be a princess. It is unfortunate however that the 13th fairy came along and told the king and queen that their daughter would be dead at 15 after pricking her finger on the spindle.


Rumpelstiltskin: For some reason, even as a child, I loved reading this fairy tale about the creepy little old manikin.

Too Early for Snow


As people begin to swap out their bathing suits for parkas, many kids are wondering when the snow is coming.   To some dedicated few they took control of mother nature and brought the snow out themselves.  Last weekend Crotched Mountain opened it's doors to eager young shredders seething for a chance to taste some snow and hosted its annual pre-season rail jam.



Within the crowd of young riders and shredders there was an abundance of women riders.  Kelley Wren was interviewed about this observation and all she could respond was "Thumbs Up Birds."


 "Thumbs Up Birds" is a new company breaking out of the east coast dedicated to spotlighting female riders.  These ladies were throwing down the tricks this weekend and I wouldn't be surprised to see this company swoop through like a Nor-Eastern soon.  Taking the rail jam by storm these ladies were showing all the guys what was good, landing tricks that most wouldn't be throwing out on the first day of riding.


I got the privilege of sitting down with "the birds" and really got to know the ladies.  They were all about progression.  As Kelley said it to me " It's great riding with a group of girls, it's nice to push each other to go bigger and to learn new things."  She went on to say "Sometimes I'm trying a trick that my friend Jamie knows, so she can help me; It's a lot different than riding with boys, we are a lot closer."

  Sitting around drinking cans covered by gloves on the first day of the season, it was easy to see that these girls and this company have a future in the sport.  They aren't a group of girls, they are a family of birds;  when you see them out there please be sure to give them two big thumbs up and help spread the love.






I Wish I were a Painter



A young toddler threw a plastic toy wrench at one of the kindergarten boys and it hit him square on the back, "that poor boy will never be good at dodge-ball," I said to myself as I took another long sip of warm coffee and watched a surprising  amount of snot cannon out of a four-year-old's nose. I pointed her to the tissue box and demanded that she wash her hands after removing her bodily fluids off her face and hands. I took another sip from my mug but instead of liquid life I was greeted with a mouth full of cold gritty water. I twisted off the top and stared down into the empty abyss of sadness that now filled it. I looked up at the clock. It told me that it was just after seven thirty and my coffee was gone. I hoisted myself out of the small kiddo chair I had planted myself in an hour ago and waited for the blood to go back into my calves before making my rounds of the classroom. outside the daycare windows the sun was just about to crest above the thick gray Autumn clouds in a golden-yellow light that created beautiful shadows in the trees that lined the fenced in playground. I had once gone to an art show with my father and there had been this huge oil painting of a rocking chair on porch that was bathing in thin strands of light. it was so life-like that at first I though it had been a photograph, and I was fascinated on how the artists put so much detail and life into the light. As I looked at the trees outside the window I wondered how the artist would paint the light clinging to their branches if he were here.

Wringing necks is wrong when we know what alternatives are wright

This is an example of doing it wrong.
You may never have to kill a chicken or want to kill a chicken but if you have to kill a chicken then you will want to kill the chicken properly. Killing a chicken may cause pain to the chicken where pain is not wanted; no chicken likes pain.

It would seem that killing a chicken is a popular subject but no one knows how to kill a chicken properly, properly preparing to kill a chicken is frequently misconstrued, to kill a chicken it is often fairly frequently often assumed that one wrings the chickens neck to kill the chicken.

This wrongly assumed wright.; wringing the chicken to kill it is painful for both organisms involved: the chicken who is not wanting to not not be killed and the incompetent killer attempting to kill the chicken; it is assumed by assumers that the assumption is to use a blade or an axe or a knife to dispatch of the chicken that is intended to be killed. This is not wright. That only leads to serial chicken decapitations to imitate the failed slaughter of Mike the Miracle Chicken for monies and a big bloody bird mess: and no one likes cleaning.

As a recreational below minimum wage zoo keeper of a zoo I am required to kill chickens when chickens don't want to be killed; the best procedure to procure a killed chicken is to kill the chicken by removing its neck from the socket, pulling to hard will remove the head from the bird an splatter mess; we hate mess so don't mess up.

To properly dislodge the neck of the chicken to be killed it requires you to move your hand down the back of the chicken-to-be-killed's neck while suspending it by its two legs upside down in the air then angle the chick-to-be-killed's beak towards your wrist: then pull and it should pop.

That is how a part time zoo keeper at a zoo not known amongst the best zoos kills chickens humanely enough to not feel like a serial chicken murderer.

A Celebration of Mediocrity

Maybe it will eat The Cheetah Girls for humiliating it.
Cheetah Girls drew their inspiration from this animal. I wonder if they knew that cheetahs eat animals like cute gazelles when they chose their name. Probably not. They're plastic. Talentless, mypoic plastic that thinks it's fierce. Rawr.

The Cheetah Girls have a penchant for displaying their inability for everything (especially music) on Disney channel. Are they glad that they are able to share their mediocrity? Happy that the world revels with them? Probably. Mediocrity usually brings money and attention. Attention and money.

Hooray mediocrity!

Thursday, October 11, 2012

Happiness


Fakers.

 These are people. They look happy. Are they happy? One probably thinks they are happy. They look like they're faking. One can see how hard they're trying. Most people aren't that happy. Life is too trite to be happy.


Being happy is too hard for most people.One thinks being happy might be impossible. With all the clatter and clutter of stuff, One doesn't know how anybody can focus. Materialists, One hears they are called. One sees many delusional people trying to supersede materialists. One thinks they're stupid.

But One wonders what Two thinks. What does Two think? Does Two think? One hopes Two thinks. Two mostly sits and drools. Occasionally Two makes sounds. Three takes care of Two so One does not need to. One does not thanks Three. Maybe One should.

Image Stuffs

Here's an image from Google Images:

via zactopia.com
I used the "caption" and "edit link" functions to give credit to the source that I got this picture from.

To get the image to show up on the front page, I would need to download it to the computer and then upload it to our site. I'm not going to do that with this one, but in general that's the best way to go.

Attention Rockette Scientists:

The National Geological Society is in dire need of scientists whose specialty is tiny rocks. Though the number of researchers of medium and even large rocks has been rising considerably over the course of the past two decades, those who study the small and really small rocks seem to have simply gone by the wayside.

"At the rate things are going," says Minister Humpskin, Doctor of flattish and smoothish rocks, "the field will simply evaporate." This would spell dire trouble for anyone who has such pressing questions as, "How many small rocks are there?" Or, "Are rocks getting smaller?"



Indeed, according to Hubert Brogue, who has been studying small rocks that in his gravel driveway for three decades now, that might be the case. "In a careful study I've conducted, where I've weighed and measured the rocks in my driveway, I've found that there is a tendency of the rocks to be even smaller now than they were just twenty years ago."

And twenty years, according to Dr. Humpskin, is peanuts on the geological timescale. "At the rate things are going, we could see all rocks on the planet become small within a couple hundred years. If we don't start studying this phenomenon now, it could well be too late when we do."

At the presidential debate last week, this question was addressed by both parties, and was a highlight agreement between them. "It is the policy of this administration," said President Obama, "to push our troubles to the next generation, like our great forefathers in the industrial revolution." Governor Romney had this to say, "I agree with President Obama wholeheartedly. If we try to deal with the problem now and are unsuccessful, we'll look like fools. I'll be dead by the time this is an issue, so not my problem."

Others agree that rocks generally being smaller is not a problem worth getting our proverbial panties twisted over. "Rocks getting smaller is a natural process, like global warming, or the destruction of the ozone layer," says John Rockefeller, relation of J.D. Rockefeller and rock enthusiast. "Clearly, we just need to let nature take its course and not worry about it."

At the moment, the waters remain muddy, and the correct descision unclear.Still, Dr. Humpskin's plea remains hanging over us all: "The NGS needs more small rock specialists, and we need them now."

Reporting from Washington, DC,
-Michael DiTommaso

The Time I May Or May Not Have Done Something Maybe



Everyone seems to be doing two blog posts. I figured I would get in on this action. This isn't like the time, say, I may or may not have due to confidentiality purposes taken part in a dice game with notorious mobsters from the South Boston region of Massachusetts, won a large deal of money from them, and then went on the lamb after they threatened to kill me and by throwing me in the ocean with cement shoes on, which to me sounded uncomfortable and painful on the ankles. This is nothing like that event that may or may not have occurred. I swear.

There was this one guy who may or may not have existed though, Lucky (who clearly wasn't so lucky since he may or may not have lost all his cash to me), and he liked to carry around a butterfly knife that he'd mess with for kicks when he was bored while we went outside for a cigarette break. He was a straight-edge guy like that, a real stand up guy when the chips came down. But when the dice came down and Lucky lost, that butterfly knife took on a whole new meaning.

But I'm not allowed to talk about that I guess. But the knife is beautiful. It has a viper that curls up the handle and looks at you with its tongue sticking out of its mouth and a sharp glint in its eye. This is because it only has one eye. Maybe. Either way I say is about the knife, and not was, because it's sitting in my den right now, in this beautiful glass case I bought from some flea market in Wisconsin. I may or may not have stolen it from Lucky. I honestly don't remember anymore. My life is full of so much doubt I can't remember what's real.