Chronicles of MEW|
[Most Recent Entries]
Below are the 15 most recent journal entries recorded in
UMFMarian E Wright Writing Center Writing Workshop's LiveJournal:
|Thursday, August 3rd, 2006|
Dear M. E. W. Writing Center,
I wont be returning in the fall. At the moment, I am in NH. By then, I will be in AR. Hopefully, the University of AR has a writing center for me to go to for support.
Thank you for everything. I will miss you as much as your bulletin board misses me.
|Monday, May 1st, 2006|
End of Year Party
So now it is May, and there's this WC Party, cuz it's like the end of the year. So who's coming?? I am! Bradley said it's at his house at 8:00. But some of us need directions... -Gina Current Mood: curious
|Friday, March 17th, 2006|
looking for feedback
I am bent over backward
Blond hair brushing at the dirty floor.
My back aches.
My wrists are sore.
And you are having afternoon tea on my stomach.
You pass each other the sugar
And complain about your
That wobbles when you set down
Your bone china.
Blood rushes to my head
And my chest heaves under your
You sigh your displeasure,
Wedge your folded napkin beneath
My left heel
And go back to your tea.
|Monday, March 13th, 2006|
Just for fun...
So, I started reading "The Book of Three" by Lloyd Alexander, which is part of the Prydain Chronicles (if you are the person that recommended I read these, please tell me because I can't remember) and is what you would call a "fantasy" book:) I decided that it would be fun to indulge in some creativity and think of crazy fantasy book plots, soooooo.... our new question is: If you were going to write a fantasy novel, what would the plot be? (I'm going to contribute, but I thought of the question so I'm not ready to answer it, yet.)
|Friday, February 17th, 2006|
Gina's writing process
I write when I have a deadline. Or when my sweetie guilts me into it. Or when it seems fun. But, I do not write just out of an inner drive to write (except for journals, which is more like raw writing from the gut and has little to do with audience, unless an audience of 1 (myself) is considered legit.) I always imagined real authors to write from an inner drive, so I have my doubts of being anything more than a writer. Authors write books and books. Writers write little things, like emails, or blurbs on napkins.
I love to expound on what others have written, rather than create new things myself. When I do so, just to be silly, the pieces can turn out to be quite funny. Silly little kung fu stories or 5 paragraphs about a ladybug's hunger and eventual demise in an oil-slicked puddle. Funny stuff. But I'd rather write in company than alone, for I do not find the need to write stories merely for myself.
The End. -Gina Current Mood: just normal
|Thursday, February 16th, 2006|
War & Peace
An unlikely pair —
and competitive puma.
I remembered you fondly.
You, the unspoken truce,
reminding warring generations
to behave, to be friends,
and not belabor being unloved.
I remembered you fondly,
but now only fondly remember
All that remains is a broken tail,
tucked away in an unmarked envelope —
away in my closet with dusty skeletons
and pairs of pants two sizes too small.
|Tuesday, February 14th, 2006|
quick poetry question
I had a teacher tell me once that once a poet wrote a poem down it belonged to the reader, and not the poet. What do you all think?
|Sunday, February 12th, 2006|
I'm thinking about including a few pieces from my Lucia collection in my Portfolio for grad school. Tell me if they make much sense like this.
Mornings are all about Lucia. Warm and hopeful. The sun gently peaks through the blinds leaving soft shadows on her face. I hold Lucia in my arms and bury my face in her hair. Calm. The day could lead us anywhere. I feel comfort with her. It’s safe. Lucia is safe.
The alarm clock sounds. Shock. Distress. Lucia rolls over and hides her face under the pillow. I try to convince myself it’s mistaken, hit the snooze, and cherish a few more moments with Lucia. It cries out again and I see that I’m already running late before the day has begun.
But Lucia is beside me peaceful, quiet, and warm. I kiss her eye lids and wish for Sunday. Lucia owns my Sundays.
It’s Monday. Work. I don’t look forward to work anymore. I make my way to the bathroom and go through my shower, shave, toothbrush, and coffee pot routine.
All the while, Lucia sits with sleepy eyes waiting. I kneel down and kiss her nose. She smiles. I take her hand in mine and pull her to her feet.
I lead her to the door were we both slip on our shoes. I help her put on her coat and nudge her out the door. Going to work means leaving Lucia; dragging her out of bed, taking her home, and leaving her there.
She holds my hand and leans on my for support as we make out way to my car. She’s groggy. Her steps are heavy and sluggish. Lucia would sleep until two in the afternoon if I let her.
She is silent as I drive her home. Lucia stares blankly into the distance. Her eyelids are heavy and droop until they close. She’s fallen asleep.
I pull over in front of Lucia’s apartment, lean over, unbuckle her seatbelt, and kiss her cheek. She opens her eyes and throws her arms around me. I don’t want to leave her. She is a gift. She opens the door and steps out. There she is, my gift, standing on the cracked sidewalk blowing a kiss into the wind as I drive away.
Over the past few weeks, I’ve become quite familiar with this stretch of highway. I watch the landscape change from farmland to suburbs and finally urban wasteland. Hard traveling, it’s the reward at the end of the miles that pulls me through; home and open arms. I’m easily lost, in the city shuffle. I was an hour late the last time we met. Lucia knows the ropes; I need more direction. I’m dependent on the kindness of strangers.
I came to town to see her. I don’t have any other place to go or stay. I am here for her; I’m not sure she understands that. She came to see me, the week before last. We went to Denny’s with our old friends and cuddled up to each other in the backseat on the way home. She laid her head in my lap. I ran my fingers through her curls. Soft and familiar. How did I ever let things change?
But things had changed. Here I am at her front door. Lucia stands in front of me with tears in her eyes. I can see that she’s about to tell me goodnight and break my heart. I kiss her forehead and hold her upright before she has a chance to turn me away. I can feel her collapsing. I let myself in and sit her down on the couch.
I remember the night that we got together. It was our senior year of high school and her parents were out of town. Twentieth anniversary I think. Lucia held my hand and pulled me out her bedroom window. She sat on the edge of her roof. She said that was how she liked to live her life, “with at least one foot over.” She told me that she liked to sit on the edge and dream about jumping off into the tree branches just a few feet away. She could almost touch them. I hung on her every word.
Her breath hung in the air. It was cold. Lucia crawled over to me and into my lap. I wrapped my arms around her. She shivered. I asked her if she wanted a blanket. She said no. I love the fall. Cuddling weather.
Moments later, she pulled me back inside and into her bed. Lucia slept on a twin bed that was piled high with pillows and blankets. She told me that she liked closeness and comfort. The night was soft and close.
I watched her finish her plate of fries. We talked about everything. Looking at the past few months of Lucia’s life was like looking at mine in a fun house mirror; only slightly distorted.
I can’t remember the day I met Lucia. It seems like we have been friends forever. It’s almost like our souls have known each other for ages. I have a connection to her. It’s unspoken.
Lucia is my youth. She is old times and tradition. She is coney island, coffee, fried food, and cigarettes. My stomach remembers the feeling.
Years ago, Lucia and I used to smoke cigarettes and eat plate after plate of deep fried food: french fries, cheese sticks, breaded mushrooms, jalapeno poppers, and breaded zucchini; anything could be breaded, fried, covered in salt and dipped in ranch dressing. We would eat until we were sick and talk until the sun came up.
I loved talking to Lucia. I miss knowing that I know all of her secrets.
I remember when her hair only reached her chin and her wrists were covered in silver bracelets. She was tough; or she pretended to be. Oh, but her smile and her laugh gave her away. She was happy.
She’s different now. I hate seeing her like this.
She is silent; depressed. I wish she would tell me what she needs, because she talks of suicide...
|Tuesday, February 7th, 2006|
I got a paper back today in contemporary art history class. In addition to the here and there slash and edit suggestions she made to me, the bottom of the final page said "see me" in bold and bleeding red felt tip pen. No grade, just a simple request.
Palms sweating, face flushed, I waited until everyone left the classroom and walked up to see Dr. Contemporary Art History herself. Her giant sweater donned with unnecessarily decorative buttons, long skirt, frizzled hair, and vertically challengeness greeted me with apathetic eyes. She looked at the paper, and looked at me and began her obviously rehearsed speech.
"This is a very brilliant paper. It is written very well."
"You didn't cite your sources."
I ceased my smile. The assignment was a visit to the Flint Institute of Arts and an answer to one of the eight questions provided on the assignment sheet. No sources. No research. Museum visit and reaction and answer. Easy, right? I'm good at following directions, and I did so very well.
"I didn't use any outside sources," I countered. She, without missing a beat, continued, "Because in the future you need to cite your sources if you use outside material to do the paper." I frowned and repeated, "I didn't use outside sources. This is all me." Continuing her platform, "Citation is necessary in an academic setting, even if this is an A paper, and it is written very well."
I gulped in air as if to repeat that the paper was written by me, and I should know because I wrote it, and if I were going to cheat I would have done the paper poorly and not put so much thought into a stupid 2 page assignment like I did, and besides, there was no information on the subject on the internet or anywhere else for that matter because I checked prior to writing the paper, and she cut me off with,
"I'm giving you an A, and next time cite your sources."
I left the classroom.
Because I am the exception to the general rule, I must be cheating. She told the rest of the class to visit the Writing Center, that she didn't grade this paper on form but only on content, because the form was so horrible. We should know, for the next paper, that she expects introductions, body evidence and conclusions. We need to provide evidence. Deconstruct. Construct. Reconstruct. Learn how to form complete sentences. And, obviously, cite our sources.
Or, in my case, I need to dumb-down the artspeak so that I'm not accused of plagiarizing. Current Mood: artsy
|Thursday, January 26th, 2006|
Disclaimer: One of those random, middle-ofthe-night ramblings.
She adjusted the light to stop its buzzing. Outside the wind blew and rattled the loose boards of the old deck. Christmas was past but reminders of it dotted the room: an unlit Christmas tree, plastic icicles, and hand blown glass snowmen. It was late and everyone else in the house was sleeping.
The woman- not young, not old- at at the kitchen table, white cleansing strips stuck across her nose and chin. She was freshly bathed and lotioned, her skin still dewey. Her soft hair was cool in spots where it was still damp. Her mind wandered as she looked through glassless eyes at a fuzzy room. Tapping the stiffening cleansing stip on her chin she thinks. Current Mood: amused
|Wednesday, January 25th, 2006|
The telephone was ringing. 'Wake up. Quick - answer it!' Oh m'gawd - it was 3:23am. My hands were numb, I couldn't feel the phone or press the button to turn it on. Finally - I got it.
"Hello" half a greeting, half a question.
"Hello, this the the township police department."
Terror struck straight through to the pit of my stomach, "Yes".
"Have you spoken to your neighbor, Mam?"
"To my neighbor?" confusion swirled around my head.
"Yes, apparently the front door to you house was wide open, and your dog was out in the neighborhood. One of your neighbors saw the door open and when he approached the house your dog went back inside. The neighbor called but no one answered so he closed the door and called us."
I stumbled out of my room and down the stairs, "Everything looks OK, the dog is right here and the door is closed".
"Yes, Mam. We have an officer on his way over to check out the house and make sure you are okay." (I hate being called Mam - makes me feel about a hundred years old!)
"I am sure we are fine - it was probably just that the wind blew the door open." I was really hoping she would just call the car back to the station, I didn't want to see anyone at my door at 3:30 in the morning, my hair messed up and in my hot pink "Lick you all over $.10" sleep shirt.
"The officers will be happy to help you check the house so you know you are safe, mam. They should be pulling in your driveway any minute now."
"Okay thank you." God I had to pee in the worst way, and find a robe to throw on over that sleep shirt! I couldn't very well answer the door doing the pee pee dance wearing that!
Quick - ran to the bathroom - dashed up the stairs and grabbed my robe - ran back down the stairs just as the cops pulled in the driveway. Not one car, but two of our finest men in uniform came by to make sure we were OK. I can't remember being more embarrassed....I am sure I have been, but I can't remember it. Current Mood: amused
My writing process begins in my head, and actually, most of it takes place in my head. Writing is something that from start of the paper to end, hangs outs and sets up shop in my mind, resurfacing throughout the day—usually when I’m not near a pen and paper—developing, evolving, even when I’m not typing or writing longhand.
All of my physical writing (drafting, redrafting, editing) is done on a computer. It has to be quiet. I have to be alone. For those reasons, I don’t have a consistent place where I write. When I’m alone at home, then it’s at home. If my family is scurrying about (as they often do) I have to find somewhere else to work. Sometimes that place is a campus computer lab, or the various secret places I find on campus to work wirelessly. Sometimes I take my laptop to our basement. It just depends on the day, the time, the circumstances.
Since my location changes, so does my writing time of day. I have to work when I can fit it in. My schedule is so crazy that I don’t designate a consistent block of time to do my writing. Sometimes this is a problem, because I’m not always inspired or prepared to write when I get the time. I find I have to be in the correct mindset to write, and have to have thought about it extensively before I even begin.
When I’m drafting an academic paper, I always begin with a series of short topic sentences that later turn into the body paragraphs. I highlight them in bold, then treat them almost as separate papers, developing and revising accordingly. I work on the mini-papers in no particular order, sometimes jumping from topic to topic in order to feel as though I’ve accomplished something, even if it’s just a sentence or two here and there. I almost ways write in full sentences, as opposed to simply jotting notes. The sentences have to be carefully constructed, and this often leads to me sitting and staring at the screen until I’ve constructed the sentence in my head before I even begin typing. Once every paragraph has fully developed, I take out any bold formatting (or any notes I may of stuck in) and rearrange the paragraphs until it makes some sort of linear sense. Then I create transitions, write the intro and conclusion if I haven’t already, and almost endlessly edit.
My editing process is tedious. When a paper is “finished,” I read it over on the computer screen, correcting as I go. Then, I print a copy and edit it again in pen, afterwards correcting it on the screen again. At this point, I give the paper a day or two to set, then repeat the process sometimes reading it out loud.
While it might seem as though I’m motivated and have a set process, everything above is subject to change. Writing is usually such a painful process. I’m a heartless self-critic, and often backspace more than I accomplish. But aren’t we all like that to some extent? Current Mood: mellow
|Monday, January 23rd, 2006|
Bradley's Writing Process
In general, by the time I sit down to write something I already have an idea of what I want to say in my head. I suppose this could be considered to be "mental prewriting."
I prefer to write alone, especially if the writing is long and involved. I am too easily distracted by others. Plus, I don’t like people to watch me writing. It’s private. I don’t even like to write e-mails when people are around. I do like to listen to music when I write though, and I also like to snack and drink. If I were a full-time writer I would probably be 50 lbs overweight, but I would have a fantastic record collection.
When composing a paper I always think about what the reader will feel when reading my piece. Sometimes I write things that I know I won’t share with others, but I still write for an audience. When writing pieces that are for my eyes only, I think of myself as the audience or I think of my future self. Other times when I write something that is private I still write it with an audience in mind, as though that person or group of people might find it one day and read it. Writing is always about who will be reading.
I revise as I write and each paragraph goes through drastic changes from start to finish. For this reason, I prefer to write on computer. When I’m forced to write on paper I need to have four or five sheets - one piece for each paragraph I’m working on, plus an extra piece to write ideas and sentences I don’t have a place for yet. On the computer, I can do all of this in one document.
I usually start writing at the introduction and continue through to the conclusion, which is probably due to the fact that I have already thought out the piece before I attempt to write it. However, after composing each paragraph I go through the entire piece I've written thus far and reread it to make sure everything flows and there isn’t anything I want to add or subtract.
After I have finished a piece, I reread it entirely with my audience in mind. Sometimes I consider my peers as my audience, sometimes my professor, sometimes it’s just a general audience. Usually, though, there is a specific person or type of person that I have in mind. As I read I try to think about what someone other than myself would be thinking. I suppose this is my attempt at getting a ‘fresh’ look at the paper. Some people do this 'fresh look' thing by putting the piece aside for a short period of time and then coming back to it, but I rarely have time for that (and often if I set it down I will not come back).
Finally, I print the piece from the computer and read it again. When I see it on paper for the first time it is like a new piece to me. In my mind it is completely separate from what was on the screen, so I am able to look it over with a different perspective. Usually I fine-tune the paper in this mode. I like to make corrections in pencil and then go back to the document on the computer and fix the mistakes.
After I have done all these things, a paper isn't necessarily finished. However, the entire process above must take place before I am comfortable sharing a piece with others. Current Mood: accomplished
|Friday, January 20th, 2006|
My Writing Process
Jake had the 363 students write about their writing processes this evening in the class so I thought that would be a good place to start here. This is a topic that I've written about and discussed a number of times. Like many things in my life, my writing process is neurotic in an eclectic sort of way. Depending on what I'm writing I write in different ways.
Most of the writing that I am doing as of late is creative writing. As a few of you know, I have been working on a fairy tale for some time. My process for this piece of writing is interesting to me, because it is the first piece of its nature that I've worked on before. (I do think there is a standard "long-term personal fiction" process, though.) I've spent literally years brainstorming the story. I have it pretty much all in my head. If you have a few hours, I could tell it to you. I like knowing these sorts of stories really well before writing them. I want to know everything about my characters. I make up families and stories about families. I like to think, "If this were being made into a movie, who would play..." and then cast it. It helps me with physical descriptions. The writing itself is non-linear. I have the story broken down into chapters, which are almost like smaller stories. This was a mental game for me. I was intimidated by the thought of writing a book, but if I'm just writing a series of short stories about the same characters then it's not so scary. This also lets me jump around to different parts of the story as I'm inspired to write about them. Most of my current brainstorming is done in the middle of the night when I can't sleep, or during general moments of boredom. I keep a notebook with me at all times, so that I can jot down ideas, write lists of names, draw pictures of landscapes, etc. I will plan and plan a piece of the story and then sit and blast it out in a notebook. There are always lots of scribbles and arrows on the paper. I constantly edit and revise while I'm writing. It never stops.
There are some general creative writing rules that also apply to spur of the moment writing. I like pads of paper and pens for creative writing (no pencils, no single sheets of paper). I prefer legal pad-style notebooks that flip over the top, bonus points if they're yellow (it's less intimidating). I tend to doodle and write song lyrics around the edges of my paper. It helps me think. I can write just about anywhere, at any time of day, but I have to be relatively stress-free. The entire time I was student teaching there was no creativity happening in my brain. If I'm writing creatively and it's not a big complicated story, then it's likely that I've thought of a sentence or an image that I want to start with. Once it's there, I need a context to put it in. A lot of my undeveloped creative writing are short (one or two paragraph) character sketches, or images of a person doing some small action.
I don't really write poetry, so I don't have a process for it. On occasion, I scribble indulgently about how I feel and then hope that no one ever sees it.
My formal writing is very very neurotic. (This is getting rather long, so I'll try to explain it quickly.) I throw fits, piss and moan for as long as I can before getting started. I have to waste something like 85% of my time complaining. At least. I do a bit of pre-planning on paper (maybe an outline), but quickly move to the computer. I plant myself and start making deals. Everything is accomplished through a tricky series of rewards. (I can have no tv, no music, no background talking while I work. I have no attention span.) Rewards are usually given at the end of paragraphs and they typically cycle something like this: snack, beverage, bathroom break, snack, so on. When it comes to scholastic writing, I am 100% externally motivated.
Our First Post!
Hello friends. This is the first official post of the Marian E. Wright Writing Center Writer's Workshop. The purpose of this community is mentioned in the profile, but I'm going to talk a bit about it again here. At the Writing Center, we've been trying to get a writing group started for a while, but there have been difficulties with scheduling and what not. Our brilliant director, Jake, suggested that we make our writing available online, so here we are.
The idea of this community is to be a place where a writer can submit his/her work to a group of peers for review, criticism, feedback, etc. We like productive, constructive criticism- not just pats on the back, but don't be unnecessarily mean, either.
This community is grounded in Flint, MI- in our Writing Center, but that does not mean that it is limited to just Writing Center tutors, UM-Flint students, or Flint residents. We chose to set up shop on Live Journal because of its wide range of audience.
Though this space is primarily for writers to get feedback on works in progress, it is also a place for discussion about writing. As such, feel free to post general questions to the other members. Also, from time to time I (or someone else) will post a writing topic to help generate discussion. Participate! Write!
Our first topic will be: What is your writing process?
I hope you all enjoy.
ps- I'm going to do a test post or two, so... yeah. There will be those. Maybe. Current Mood: working