Friday, November 26, 2010

Found Poetry

In our creative writing class we learned about a new kind of poetry: found poetry. Found poetry is created by taking words from Google searches, signs, text messages, scrap pieces of paper, basically anywhere and creating poetry out of your "found" words and phrases. Here is my attempt at found poetry:

Public Service Announcement:

Clowns are creepy
The props they use are visually and emotionally disturbing
They’ll set you on fire
You’ll cry
Because you’ll smell
And you’ll have to find another gynecologist
And I won’t have to listen to you anymore

Monday, November 22, 2010

Review of short story in The New Yorker

From the October 25, 2010 issue

Review on The Tree Line, Kansas 1934 by David Means.

For some context, this story is about an old man who is remembering a stakeout that he was part of in his youth. 

Means uses repetition in an interesting way in this story. Often repetition speeds up the pace of a story, since it is easy for a reader to skip over the word or read it quickly because they are already familiar with the word, moving the reader to move faster through the text. However, Means repeats the number five in the beginning of the story to ground and slow down the story in the first flashback scene of the story to the stakeout. He does this by repeating five at the beginning of short, simple sentences, so the reader is forced to read each description slowly and separately. The description of the scene is not bunched together in long descriptive sentences littered with details and adjectives.  

Five days of trading the field glasses and taking turns crawling back into the trees to smoke out of sight. Five days on surveillance, waiting to see if by some chance Carson might return to his uncle’s farm. Five days of listening to the young agent, named Barnes, as he recited verbatim from the file: Carson has a propensity to fire warning shots; it has been speculated that Carson’s limited vision in his left eye causes his shots to carry to the right of his intended target; impulse control somewhat limited. Five days of listening to Barnes recount the pattern of heists that began down the Texas Panhandle and proceeded north all the way up to Wisconsin, then back down to Kansas, until the trail tangled up in the fumbling ineptitude of the Bureau. For five days, Barnes talked while Lee, older, hard-bitten, nodded and let the boy play out his theories. Five days reduced to a single conversation.

Another point in the story that was impactful was the description of a "gut feeling" and a "hunch." Means describes a gut feeling and a hunch as if they were physical things in the body. I'm not quite sure if one would call it personification of these feelings, but they are definetly described in a way where the reader can physically see these feelings when someone is feeling them which was interesting since feelings are so intangible.

That afternoon, as he crawled back to Barnes, the gut feeling worked its way up his throat and struggled into his head. Note: A gut feeling finally becomes a hunch when it is transmuted into the form of clear, precise, verbal statements uttered aloud to a receptive listener—internal or external—who responds in kind. A hunch twists inside the sinews and bones, integrating itself into the physicality of the moment, whereas a gut feeling can only struggle to become a hunch, and, once it does, is recognized in retrospect as a gut feeling. Before Lee could express his hunch, Barnes wiped his brow with his handkerchief and said, Jesus, Lee, where’d you go?

David Means was born and raised in Michigan. His second collection of stories, Assorted Fire Events, earned the Los Angles Times Book Prize for fiction and a National Book Critics Circle nomination. His third book, The Secret Goldfish, received widespread critical acclaim and was shortlisted for the Frank O’Connor International Short Story Prize. Both books have been translated into eight languages. His fiction has appeared The New Yorker, Harper’s Magazine, Esquire, Zoetrope, The Best American Short Stories, The Best American Mystery Stories, The O. Henry Prize Stories, and numerous other publications. He lives in Nyack, New York, and teaches at Vassar College.

Friday, November 12, 2010

It's +3 and you're listening to 92.9 KICK FM

Today I anchored our radio test. Six of us prepared radio scripts and I introduced the station and my classmates, said the weather and time. Although I am on the radio two times a week on the morning KICKstart show and read the news this week, I was extremely nervous. It was a rocky start, but I literally shook the nervous out. I was really proud of the rest of the news crew: Alex Rohne, John Gaudes, Jon Champan, Tristan-Field Jones, and Lindsey Peterson. They were flawless! Great job guys!

Tuesday, November 2, 2010

Creative Writing

I wrote a short story recently for my Creative Writing class and just wanted to share it with all of you. Please let me know what you think (positive or negative). It would be a great help and I would really appreciate it. Thank you and enjoy!

     Tilly strutted through the door and into the party. She closed the door with her knee, her hands occupied with paper bags. Tilly stumbled to the kitchen and plopped down the malleable bags. She delved into the bags and unpacked the cool, sweaty bottles. Tilly then went to the cupboard and reached up standing on her well-manicured tiptoes, the curvature of transparent lavender material peeking through the bottom of her skirt.
    “Um, do you think you could help me,” said Tilly over her slender shoulder that her strappy top had slipped off of.
    “Huh?” replied a dazed Tim.
    “Um, I can’t reach the top shelf ‘cause I had to take my heels off and like…” said Tilly.
    “Yeah,” mumbled Tim staring into his whiskey.
    Tim shuffled toward Tilly and brought a frosted martini glass down.
    “Oh thank you so much,” she said stepping back and bowing in Tim’s honour.
    “Yep,” replied Tim.
    Tim picked up his half-empty glass, swirled it, and leaned back on the counter bringing the glass to his thin lips.
    Tilly flipped her long hair back, and pushed her chest out as she let out a sigh. “Sooo what’s your name?” she asked.
    “Oh cool. So how do you know Shelley and Rick?”
    “I work with Rick,” replied Tim.
    “Oh cool, well I know Shelley ’cause we went to school together, and then I quit, but then we worked at the mall together for a bit, and…” Tilly trailed off as she concentrated on concocting a fruity cocktail. She looked up to find Tim’s broad pin-striped back facing her. He turned supporting his full glass of whiskey with both hands.
    “So yeah, I guess that’s how I know them,” finished Tilly.
    “Hey, do you happen to have a smoke I could borrow?” asked Tilly placing her hands on the counter, her cleavage rupturing from her ruffles.
    “Do you want to go for a smoke?” asked Tim.
    “Yeah, that’d be great, I haven’t had one all day, you know I’ve been trying to quit and…”
    Tim held up a cigarette as he walked past her with his head down towards the door, and Tilly skipped behind him. 
    “Light?” asked Tim as he stepped close to Tilly, her bare slender legs now feeling the front of his pants. Tilly leaned in as she grazed the cigarette along her glossy lips and slipped it in to her mouth. She gazed up through her clumpy eyelashes at Tim as he sparked the lighter with one hand, and with the other blocked any breeze. She then stepped back and rested her figure against the side of the house.
    “How well do you know Rick?” questioned Tim.
    “Well okay I guess, I mean I have known Shelley for a while and,”
    “So you just know Shelley then?”
    “Yea I guess then,”
    “Cool,” replied Tim.
“You somewhere before this?” mumbled Tim.
    Leaning in so she could hear him, Tilly replied, “Oh yeah, I has a few, a couple, mmm probably many drinks just before this with some girls ’cause I’m going out after, hence the outfit you know,” she answered displaying her outfit like Vanna White.
    “Nice,” said Tim arching his eyebrows, revealing his deep brown eyes. “You finished?”
    “Oh yeah. Thank you so much Tim,” said Tilly with a wide smile.
    Tim took her cigarette butt from her hand giving Tilly a slight smile with no teeth, just stretched lips. He threw their cigarette butts aside and motioned his hand forward, guiding Tilly and himself inside.
    Tilly grabbed her drink as soon as she got inside and looked back expecting to see Tim behind her. He had his head down, and was heading to the living room.
    “Oh hey. Where are you going?” slurred Tilly.
    “I just got some friends over here that I need to talk to,” said Tim.
    “Oh, okay, yeah, go, I’ll be good over here,” said Tilly holding her martini glass in the air with one hand and pointing to herself with the other.
    Tilly turned around and urgently topped up her drink. She pressed into the counter and her shoulders slumped. She caught a reflection of herself in the mirror and stared back into her own glazed eyes covered in shimmer and eyeliner. She smiled, but could not sustain it, as if it was an advanced yoga pose for her face. She fluffed up her teased hair, tugged at her clothes and swiftly turned around to face the party again. In her swiftness, she knocked over her fruity red cocktail on to her cropped white skirt.
    “Oh shoot. Shoot shoot shoot shoot,” she whispered, attempting to wipe her skirt.
    Tilly bounced over to the bathroom to clean herself up. A few seconds after Tilly had closed the door, Tim excused himself from his conversation and calmly walked to the bathroom door, opened it, and entered –

    Tilly clambered out of the bathroom. She walked quickly through the party and out the door, leaving her high heels and bottles of liquor. She opened her car that was parked in front of the house with a key she kept in her bra. She looked at herself in the rearview mirror. She tried to smooth her hair now messy hair, and when she looked down she noticed her top button had been torn off. She ran her fingers under her eyes to remove the makeup and moisture that had gathered. Her wrists ached as she turned the ignition and sped off in her car.
    Tim left the bathroom and returned to his conversation.
    “Oh Tim, are you afraid of heights?” asked Rick.
    “Huh? Oh yeah,” said Tim as he noticed his fly was down. “These things happen,” he said with a grin.