Archive | October, 2012

How a Story is Written

30 Oct

This could be the typical method for writing a story. The days and times and negotiable, and often span over the course of weeks or months instead of days.

5:30 A.M.

When you get a thought for a poem, essay, or even a grocery list, you have to write it down. That’s really not negotiable. I can’t even count the number of times that I would have a fantastic, mind-blowing idea for a story, and I would promise myself that I would remember it when the time came. I would sit down in front of my computer when “later” came, and nothing would come to me. I would wrack my brains, but the thought was gone, probably forever. So now I don’t let the thoughts go. It’s 5:30 A.M., and you just had a thought for a great new story, reach beside your bed for the first thing to write on—in this case a planner? Hey, it’s happened.

 

2:00 P.M.

You haven’t really felt the pull to start writing yet, but you don’t want that idea to be lost in the wind, so you pull out your laptop anyway. Microsoft Word takes forever to load, so you might as well get on Pinterest for a little while. Who knows, you might find some inspiration there. Once Microsoft word finally loads you look around for the planner that has your notes from this morning in it. You realize it’s downstairs in your car. Oh well, guess you’ll have to wait until later.

 

5:30 P.M.

Now you have the urge to write. Unfortunately, you’re at dinner with some friends and it isn’t really the best time. You decide to take your iPhone out to jot some things down. The best thing to do is write it in a text message to yourself, it will always be there waiting.

 

11:00 P.M.

You may have promised yourself that you would go to bed early tonight, but it looks like that’s not happening. Even though you’ve been lying in bed, for a while, you decide to get up and put your thoughts on paper. You start with the notes you took at the restaurant, then start pieces in the notes from the margins of your planner. You laugh quietly to yourself as you think about what you wrote this morning, silently thanking yourself for remembering to write it down this time because you know you wouldn’t have remembered it. Once you put your mind to it and get all your thoughts in line, the story just falls out on paper. It isn’t long before you have a very rough draft in front of you.

 

Three days later…

 

6:00 P.M.

You remember that essay you wrote the other day. You decide to revisit it, really just wanting to admire your handy work, as you’re sure it won’t need much editing. Three hours later, you’ve lost an entire page of your story and you’ve added things you never thought of the other day. Maybe you’ll actually stick with the draft this time.

The Lyric Essay: Part Three

30 Oct

I found this week’s set of readings much easier to get through than some of the previous ones. I assume this is because they were confusing or hard to follow. In fact, these readings were the opposite, while still following the path of the lyric essay, they also explained what exactly the process was behind it.
I absolutely loved Brenda Millers, “Brenda Miller Has a Cold.” I thought this essay was both very entertaining and informative. I loved the way that she would write narrative about a scene or event, and then compare that narrative to writing a lyric essay. Throughout the piece, she equates having a cold to writing a lyric essay, for one reason, because it happens when you least expect it. I think one of the best quotations from this essay is this, “In the lyric essay, it all shows up. The good and the bad.”

 

From the other essays, I picked up a few valuable things about the lyric essays, that I had been trying to grasp onto previously. It was nice seeing the structure and process laid out in writing by those authors of the genre. Phillip Lopate did a great job with this description of the form. He starts out his essay by saying, “I mistrust the lyric essay; I welcome it; I don’t know what it is.”I think this was very honest of him.

 

I think that if most people were honest with themselves, they would see that they don’t fully understand the lyric essay either, even if they are veterans of the art. My reasoning behind this, is that the lyric essay seems very personally constructed to fit the thoughts and feelings of the particular author. Because of this, it wouldn’t be a true lyric essay if everyone could look at it and tell exactly where your mind was going to go next, would it? As Lopte said, “There tends to be a… welcoming of stream-of-conscious, surrealist disjunctive leaps from line to line.” See? Very personally catered to the authors thoughts.

 

Perhaps my favorite description of the lyric essay comes from Martha Ronk in “Lyric Essay as Constellation.” She compares the likes of a lyric essay to the stars that make up a constellation. By themselves, each of the essays or trains of thought, are just another star in the sky, but when you put all of them together, they form a constellation or in this case a story (or at least a more logical essay). Ronk notes that, “what is produced offers a free movement away from the main event as each star is simultaneously far-flung and also part of the whole Cassiopeia shaped in this instance like a distended W or crown.”

 

Personalities and Hairstyles

16 Oct

When I was a kid, I didn’t have to do anything to my hair. I didn’t dye it, straighten it, or curl it to try and make it look better, it was fine the way it was. That was the same way that my personality was. Just like my hair, I didn’t try to alter it in anyway. I was just myself, and it was just fine that way.

 

As I got older, my hair and my attitudes changed. During my middle school years, I tried to do all kinds of things to my hair to make it look like the other girls around me. I dyed my naturally brunette hair a most unpleasant shade of blonde and grew my bangs out. I was trying just as hard to fit in and keep up as my hair was.

 

As high school approached, I realized blonde was not for me. My first year in secondary school resulted in hair that tried to blend in with everyone else’s. By the time I was fifteen, I started to realize that I didn’t quite fit in with the groups I was trying to fit into. I wasn’t preppy or sporty and I wasn’t a blonde. I tried several different styles during this point of my life. Possibly the worst of which was my very brief trial in the world of emo/scene kids. I dyed my hair and got it cut with short, choppy layers.

 

When I finally admitted to myself in my junior year of high school that I wasn’t straight, my hair took the most comical of turns, it too stopped being straight. I guess that’s not really the best way to word it since my hair has never been straight, I forced it daily with a hot object to act that way. At this point, though, I stopped trying. I let my hair rock its natural wave and be free, very similar to the way I treated my personality.

 

Five years later, my hair is just as versatile as I am in my personal life. Sometimes I let it be wavy, sometimes I straighten it, and sometimes I even wear a hat.  I change the color every six weeks, or whenever I get bored. I’m letting it grow out in an attempt to let it be free for a few more years.

The Lyric Essay: Part One

16 Oct

I found the lyric essays to be very interesting. While all of them were very, very different similarities could still be found within the pieces. Most of Lisa Purpura’s essays read similarly to the micro essays. They mostly organized a central idea, but were usually short and could almost stand alone. One of her essays, Brown, reminded me of a poem. Especially in the first paragraph or two, I found myself trying to initiate line breaks, and reading it like that.

That is not the only essay that reminded me of poetry, in fact in most of the pieces there was at least one time I caught myself reading it as if it had line breaks. Another big example of this was in My Life, by Lyn Hejinian. In the  first sentence, there were seven commas, it might seem weird to notice that, but I read each of them as if they were a line break, which made them stand out.

Nine Segments of Orange was definitely one of my essays this week. I love the way that something as simple as a color was taken and turned into nine seperate essays that are all very interesting and communicate a strong message.

College Courses

9 Oct

FYE 1220:
A course offered by the university that is required for all incoming freshman. It’s an orientation course designed to introduce the student to life at college. While the course is effective at times in teaching the workload to be expecting and demonstrating how easy a student’s grade can drop from an A to a B, it is lacking in the experience section. It will not prepare the student for the fire alarms that go off in the dorms at 2:00 A.M., being homesick for family, being homesick for their cat, or living in a town without a target or an Old Navy.

BIOL 1230: Environmental Biology
A course that teaches students about the environment and biology’s role in it. Besides pollution and sustainability, what this course teaches for some students is the importance of ratemyprofessor.com. The student will learn that some professors prefer to deviate from course material on tests and will result in below average scores. Furthermore, the student will learn how to withdraw from a class and try again another semester.

WRIT 2131: Everyday Creative Writing
A course that will seriously tempt students to change their majors, if they are not already writing majors. While this course may be taken solely as an elective for students who are students of other degree programs, it will remind them how much they enjoy writing and will lead to registration in other writing courses.

WRIT 3130: Creative Writing
A course that will prompt a student to declare a minor in writing within the first month of the class. Students may wish to take the plunge and change their major instead, but might already be too far along in their original choice.

SOCI 1101:
A course that demonstrates what happens when a 9:00 A.M. class meets a class with no attendance policy. While the content may be extremely interesting, students will find it hard to resist the urge for an extra hour of sleep.

COMS 3337: Persuasions
A course that is a testament to the fact that history repeats itself. Failure to consult ratemyprofessor.com will elicit similar results no matter the course. It will also test the student’s memory, and if they’re successful it will result in the second shiny “W” on their transcript.

PRCA 3711: Public Relations Practicum
A course that’s sole purpose is to show the student that they are not prepared for life after college. It shows students how to prepare resumes and cover letters specific to their field, in the hopes that they might be able to find a job, though students and teachers both know how unlikely that is.

The Zuihitsu

2 Oct

After reading through the first chunk of the Zuihitsu section, I found myself wondering for a definition. I was, therefore, very thankful to read the letter “compass” in which several definitions were provided. In this letter he states, “discovered none gave more than a sentence or two. None seemed especially scholarly.” I found this part interesting, because it seems to be a work of art that is hard to define. The definition provided that I think did the best job, however, stated

following [the impulses of] the brush/blockquote>

That seems oddly beautiful to me. It seems more like the errant thoughts of the writer are in more control than he or she may be. Which works nicely with the definition that describes it as “stray notes expressing thoughts in a casual manner.”

I particularly enjoyed the styles of “the Orient” and “trading words”. Both of these pieces read very similarly to poetry. I think that follows along perfectly with the impulse of the brush.

Game Days

2 Oct

Game day in Statesboro, Georgia is something that everyone should witness at least once during their time at Georgia Southern University. In this little town, you will never see such a united front as you will on the day of a football game– It’s just part of being an eagle.

Although I am very proud to call myself a Georgia Southern University student, I find myself sometimes feeling like an outsider. I’m not like a lot of the people at this school, I’m not sure if I ever was. As the name suggests, it’s a southern school. Being born and raised in Georgia, I qualify as a southerner geography wise, but with my ideals, attitudes, and beliefs, I’m definitely in the minority. For this reason, I tend to associate with a smaller group of people who are similar to me.

Even if I may not spend the majority of my time hanging around some of the groups of people here, that all goes out the window on game days. On a Saturday of a home game, everyone is an Eagle. When you are standing in a crowd of hundreds of people, all dressed in blue, gold, and white it’s really hard to forget that. If you hear someone scream, “Georgia!” and it is your first reflexive instinct to scream, “Southern!” right back at them, it’s really hard to forget that. And if you answer the call of, “Whose house?” with a matching scream of, “Our house!” it’s damn near impossible to forget that though you may all come from different backgrounds, we all (on this day) are a united front.