You know, it's weird. This whole semester has been one long litany of lasts, and as my Carnegie Mellon career winds down its denouement, I've spent a lot of time reflecting.
Gotcha! I don't think I could reflect if you glued a mirror to my face.
But seriously, this being the last spring break and all, I'm trying to spend it as constructively as possible. That's right, I will attempt to get most of my senior thesis project, Nytethorn, done over the course of this week. The trick is mental focus and somehow locking down the rest of my computer's functionality aside from word processors. Writers of olden times think THEY had it tough, at least their typewriters didn't have Minesweeper.
And of course, there's the work I have due for when I get back, assignments that I believe are supposed to approximate midterms. (Well, one of them literally is a midterm.)
1) Write a new short story/screenplay for my fiction class. What to write about? A cool title popped into my head the other day: The Jackal Man. I don't know what it'd be about, but I really want hang onto that title. From a classically trained creative writing student's perspective, I think a title such as that can be classified as badass.
2) Do the Beatles class midterm. There's a motley assortment of questions, ranging from re-ordering the songs on an album (thoughtfully, of course) to naming Beatles songs that get put up on the course website. Not too challenging, but enough of a time investment that I think it deserves its spot on this list.
3) A paper explaining one of the philosophical arguments for God. I have to boil down voluminous tractates on proof that God exists to a handful of pages, 12 pt, Times New Roman.
4) Write a piece of flash fiction. Turns out that means super-short stories, not stories about periodic bursts of intense luminescence like I first thought. (Haw. If I made that joke in my fiction class, I'd probably get stabbed.) I'm already pretty awful at writing short stories, with none of that space to flesh out a world or characters; how will I be able to pull this off?
Maybe I'll write something like Life of a Matchstick. Ooooh, artsy. And better yet, an ACTUAL flash can be involved. How much are you blog-readers willing to egg me on to do that? I will seriously post the teacher's comments if you do.
So yeah, I've got more than enough on my plate to keep me busy. And somewhere in there, I plan to squeeze in job-hunting, recreational chilling, and some delightful hours of SLEEP.
Here's to my last spring break. I'll miss her awful.
While you might assume that we writing majors here do quite a bit of writing (and we DO, trust me), you may not have realized that we also do a proportionate amount of reading as well. I'm a firm believer in the "you have to read if you want to write" philosophy, which thankfully appears to be a staple of the creative writing pedagogy here at Carnegie Mellon. Don't believe me? Behold the reading list of this semester thus far:
"The God of Small Things" by Arundhati Roy -- This lushly detailed story takes place in India, about a pair of twins being exposed to the manifold horrors of the world, one piece of innocence lost at a time. Some of it's pretty harrowing (make that a lot), but the narrative time-jumping is handled expertly (something I still suck at) and man, Roy can write exposition.
"Deep River" by Shusaku Endo -- Endo was actually one of the first authors I came to respect who practiced that foreign art of writing, the one without fight scenes. This book follows a group of Japanese tourists who all go to the Ganges River looking for something (you know, in a metaphysical sort of way, not like someone dropped their ring in the river). It's a really psychological book, not to mention really depressing. But I guess the two of those kind of go hand in hand.
"Purple Hibiscus" by Chimamanda Ngozi Adichie -- A story of growing up in Nigeria with an overtly religious father whose behavior tears at the entire family. It follows the young daughter, and it's the first book I've read in a while that's made me want to take the child out of the pages and save them from their plight. I mean, okay, "The God of Small Things" exposed children to terrible things, but I guess I'm just getting more absorbed in Adichie's characters.
Any poetry by Ezra Pound -- Hoo boy. This guy writes poetry so wrought with symbolism and allusion, sometimes you literally start wondering if symbols actually stand for OTHER symbols, which then stand for something else. And then you're all like "No way. That's crazy talk." And then in class, the metasymbolism emerges, and you don't know what to believe anymore. A classmate and I joke about how now we can return to Yeats for "a little light reading". Haw.
There's other texts in the list, but I imagine these bite-size book reviews are starting to bore. If you've got any questions about other readings (or other things not reading-related), feel free to ask.
Otherwise, I've got to go read for class. (No, but seriously. I do.)
Something I realized, as I skimmed my archives of blogdom, is that you guys have absolutely no idea where I am in case I need to be alerted of imminent attacks. So without further adieu, welcome to my residence hall:
West Wing/Resnik (West Wing, to be specific)
If you're reading this blog, there's a good chance you're applying here for the next year, in which case getting into West Wing/Resnik isn't too great a chance. Meant to be upperclassmen housing (I think), Wesnik (I didn't make that up) is a nice on-campus residence hall with lots and lots of suites, those nifty dorms with multiple rooms and whatnot.
Wesnik's pretty super-special-awesome, seeing as how it's situated over a number of on-campus eateries (Tartan Pavilion being my favorite), not to mention weekly get-togethers with the RAs (called 10-spots) and other random activities that the hall puts on. There's a lot of fun to be had, even though a lot of students think this is the unfun dorm. You know, since we're all upperclassmen and we all lost our noisemakers sometime over sophomore year, or something.
There's also some peer tutoring taught here, as well as a cluster downstairs. ("Cluster" is the word here for a whole bunch of computers in the same room.) "Wait," you realize, "Computers and food in the same building! But why would I ever want to leave, Dan?"
Why would you, indeed. Why would you indeed.
Hey again, everybody. I know how much you all enjoy my semesterly breakdowns of my class schedules, so I figured I'd entertain you once more with tales of my exploits and experiences from across the campus. Thankfully, there aren't any foes on the list this time that I don't know how to wrangle, so everything should get by fine. In other words...math.
Moving right along...
Rhetorical Grammar: First of all, I just want to make a statement on how much I love the name of this course. It's like, as opposed to recreational grammar, or something. Honestly, there's probably a whole bunch of qualifiers that make legitimate sense in that spot, and I'm just sort of being immature. Which is a risk I'm willing to take. Anyway, this class has been fun so far, but we haven't quite permeated the nitty-gritty of it yet. You know, diagramming sentences and the like. Or at least I hope you know, because I certainly don't. Diagramming a sentence? Is that anything like illustrating a clause? Because I don't know how to do that either.
Major Works of Modern Poetry: This is the class I should have taken before I got into poetry workshops here. On the first day of my introductory poetry workshop, the instructor asked all the students who their favorite poet was. I answered Dr. Seuss, and chuckled along with all the students who laughed at what they presumed was a joke answer. Heh heh.
Anyway, this class covers Yeats, Pound, Eliot, Williams, and a couple others that aren't coming to mind at present. I'm enjoying Yeats, and his "pale thrones of stars". Pretty imaginative stuff.
Readings in Forms, Fiction: Essentially, this is a book group where the class gets together to talk about assigned readings and have something to eat, since it falls on lunch hour. The great thing is, I'm not even diminishing the class' importance by calling it that, since that's what the professor was going for. It says so right in the syllabus. Right now we're reading The God of Small Things, which has been a pretty hair-raising read, to say the least.
Philosophy of Religion: Something that never made it onto this blog was my freshman seminar on mysticism, since I wasn't writing the blog back then and I was too busy engaging in unscrupulous freshman activities, like mixing in the regular with the decaf. (Kudos to whoever successfully names the comic that joke is from.) Anyway, the professor is teaching this much bigger, much shinier class now, by the name of Philosophy of Religion. I just finished reading some Plato for the class, and now I'm moving on to the Upanishads. Wikipedia THAT five times fast.
Fiction and Screenwriting Workshop: Here's the class where I'll be doing most of the creative writing, as opposed to creative reading. We're encouraged to do what we love, but also experiment with the other genre. I won't lie, I'm not a huge fan of screenwriting. My work just doesn't look good in Courier. But on a less obnoxious note, I just find that the structure of a screenplay is much less forgiving than that of a novel. By X minutes, this needs to have happened, by Y minutes, the velociraptors need to have escaped their paddock, et cetera. I'll take novels, thanks.
The Beatles: That's it. It's seriously just a class about the Beatles. Isn't that awesome? I think that's awesome.
Aside from my classes, there's still my senior thesis Nytethorn looming over me. I don't mean to make it sound negative, but when you've got a novel to finish in a semester, that's what it does. It looms.
But that seems to be my last sampling from the Carnegie Mellon academic menu. I'll let you know if I decide to order anything on the side before the semester's up.
Questions and comments, as usual, are always appreciated.
Figure you guys are about due for some more Nytethorn, right? Don't pretend like you didn't miss it or anything. If you do, I can tell.
The actual Games took place within a massive arena,
shaped like a circle with rows and rows of seats surrounding it. The whole
thing reminded Miles of a sports stadium from home, except the whole thing was
put together with blue bricks and benches. A good number of the seats were
already taken up, mostly by Bodkin, but with the occasional odd Nytefolk here
Wynston explained that a Gardener was going to stand on
one end, opposite another Gardener, and then the two would engage in some sort
of intricate battle, where Dreams and Nytemares would be employed against each
other for various offensive and defensive purposes.
"I can't imagine how they'll be attacking each other with
plants, though," Miles said, as he took a seat only a couple of rows up from
"Well, they won't be slapping each other with the Dreams,
for Astra's sake," Wynston said, sitting down beside Miles. "They're Gardeners. If they're using Dreams,
they'll be conjuring all sorts of Ephemera and Confabulations and whatnot. And
if they're using Nytemares, you can bet things are going to get loud."
"But what does all that mean? Ephemera and..."
"Shoosh," Wynston said, motioning towards the arena with
his head. "Watching a game will explain it all much quicker than I could."
A pair of metal gates swung open on one side of the
arena, causing all of the Bodkin seated to simultaneously stand and cheer. A
plump, bright green Bodkin waddled out into the dark grass, dressed in a tan
vest-and-coat covered with singes and scorch marks. He reached into one of many
coat pockets, pulled out a handful of something black, and tossed it into the
air. With a snap of his fingers, the stuff exploded with a deafening bang.
Another pair of gates opened on the other side, prompting
all of the Bodkin present to sit back down and sneer. Unsurprisingly, the
person who walked out was quite unlike a Bodkin.
The woman was only slightly shorter than Wynston, but she
certainly wasn't a Nytefolk. Her skin was pale, almost like the moon, and her
ears ended in sharp points. Along with the eyes that softly glowed, Miles
couldn't help but think of the clock-eyed Turncoat from the shop. Her
snow-white hair was tied up in an elaborate braid, and her ice-blue gown kissed
the ground every time she took another step, her baggy sleeves swaying in the
wind. The Bodkins' taunts and jeers did little to diminish her graceful steps, and
upon the gates' closing behind her, she merely gazed upon her opponent and
"Wow," Miles said. "She's beautiful." Miles didn't often
find things "beautiful," which he always considered a word girls used, but he
couldn't help himself.
"Remind me not to take you to the Glens," Wynston
commented. "Every time a Laifkin would walk by, I'd have to put a bowl
underneath your mouth just to catch the drool."
"So that's a Laifkin," Miles said. "You know, I think
"Yes, he was definitely a Laifkin. The Turncoats don't
discriminate; they recruit whoever they can get."
A short-haired Nytefolk in a long, purple coat took his
time walking between the two Gardeners, and then unrolled a scroll from which
"The Gardeners here today have already proved themselves
worthy in examinations of knowledge and skill. But it is here, in the Duel of
Dreams, where their true mettle shall be put to the test. The Duel shall
progress until one of the combatants either admits defeat, is unable to go on
Gardening for any reason, or is deemed the victor by the judges. Do the combatants
understand these rules?"
The Bodkin nodded vigorously; the Laifkin nodded once.
"In that case...begin!"
The Nytefolk in the purple coat vanished, his image dissolving into a cloud of
shining sparkles that flit to the ground.
Reaching into her sleeves, the Laifkin produced a pair of
slender Dreams, long, leafy stalks that both ended in a butterfly-like flower.
After getting her weapons in hand, she just stood there, waiting for her
opponent's first move.
Grinning with glee, the Bodkin Gardener flung another
handful of black, mossy Nytemares into the center of the arena. From its
landing sprung a number of ropy vines, not unlike those belonging to Nytethorn,
slithering along the ground towards the Laifkin. She twirled her Dreams between
her fingers as she chanted something under her breath.
From either Dream erupted a flock of strange creatures,
birds whose wings had been stretched out like that of a butterfly, with coiled
antenna atop their heads. Both swarms appeared tiny at first, but rapidly
enlarged in size as they darted around the black tendrils, shrieking a shrill
cry that caused the vines to writhe and twist in place.
Their progress firmly halted, the Laifkin took a step
forward. Unfortunately, her adversary wasn't quite out of tricks.
The wily Bodkin spat angrily onto the ground, his first
assault handily thwarted. This time, he clenched the fistfuls of Nytemare
powder tightly between his fingers. The few hairs on his otherwise bald head
began to stand on end.
Upon releasing his left hand, a black bolt of Nytemare
streaked towards the Laifkin like lightning. It collided with the palm of her
hand, which held a large, sun-shaped flower. The Dream blackened and withered,
having absorbed the full force of the Nytemare attack.
Then the Bodkin opened his right hand. A second smoking
projectile shot towards the Laifkin, who deflected it with a backhand slap; out
of nowhere, another sun-shaped flower had sprouted from the back of her hand.
The blast landed almost directly at the Bodkin's feet, who was launched into
the air and landed unceremoniously on the ground.
Before he could scramble back to his feet, the Laifkin
had already brandished a tiny, ivory-colored, star-shaped Dream, which she
dropped quickly by her foot. Kicking the Dream resulted in a shower of blue
sparks, so bright that Miles had to partially avert his eyes. The Bodkin covered
his face with both of his hands and cowered.
While he rubbed his eyes to regain his vision, two of the
birdlike creatures from before swooped down and collided. The two melted into
each other, creating a singular creature that was now twice the size of either
of the original beasts. All of them followed suit, until by the end of it all,
only one massive creature remained, standing about as tall as an elephant, with
its cold, feral eyes fixed on the Bodkin. The Laifkin stood directly underneath
it, patting it affectionately on the leg.
When the Bodkin stopped rubbing his eyes, he came face to
face with the enormous animal. He then rubbed them again, as though he were
seeing things, which triggered a series of laughs from the audience. As he
opened his eyes a second time, they grew wider and wider.
A whistle blew, from somewhere off in the distance.
"And the winner...Norrica!"
Now my indents are screwy, AND my font has been turned to Garamond. That's kinda cool. Anyway, let me know what you think! You can expect a lot of more of these in the weeks to come over winter break, as well as some general job-hunting news.
Please, do not be bashful with the comments.
How goes it, oh faithful blogwatchers? Okay, a quick confession I've been meaning to make: every time I've ever said that on this blog, or something akin to that (like "oh blogophiles" or something), I've actually gotten it from those Waldo books we all used to read. Remember how Waldo would always dictate this monologue in the beginning, that usually started off with "Hey, Waldo-Watchers"? So yeah, that's where I got it from. It's been devouring my writerly insides to use such phrasing without citing the original inspiration, so there you have it. Martin Handford was a genius.
Anyway, on a less upbeat note, finals week is once again upon me, like a ravenous beast of prey, keratinous spines bared. Somewhere in the hallowed archives of this blog, I wrote some kind of treatise on surviving finals week. There was something about time management, and a whole lot of general motivational talk meant for inspiring masses, preferably downtrodden.
A fat lot of good it's doing me. Behold my roll call of nightmares:
Document Design -- I have to design an entire newsletter. And not just one eight-and-a-half-by-eleven with like, columns. No, this is a multi-paged, front-and-back, foldable affair, that actually needs to look like a REAL newsletter. There goes my acute phobia of the real, again. Anyone know the name of the condition? Verephobia, perhaps?
Argument -- 10 page paper, on whether or not creative writing can be taught. Can we say "topical"? I've kind of hit this sort of Zen regarding papers, now; a one-page paper and a ten-page paper occupy the same amount of memory in the hard drive that is my brain. The fact remains that a paper must be written, and I must now stare down a blank Microsoft Word document once more...my nemesis. It's given me a greater appreciation for my more whimsical writings, however, which I suppose is a good thing.
Magazine Writing -- A paper on sexuality in a journal of fantasy and science fiction as it evolved over the years. Fantasy and sci-fi here makes this assignment less painless than others I could mention, but there's an unsettling feeling about mixing my sacred genres with more mundane elements. I mean, don't get me wrong, sexuality in that stuff is absolutely fine, but it's the act of "let's look at sexuality as it evolved" that's rough going. I like to think that eldritch stuff is accessed via imagination, and then I have to go and kick in the door with my cold, serpentine logic. I apologize, Muses.
And then there's a calc final to worry about, but tests are tests, and I'll analyze that foe's tactics when the battle draws near.
Otherwise, though, I've got to keep a bead on my senior thesis project, Nytethorn. He's a tricky fellow.
And remember, o watchful blog-dwellers (heh), questions are welcomed as always. Don't be bashful, now. I've got all these dryly witty responses, waiting to be handed out.
The past week or so, I've been availing myself of the various Pittsburgh amenities I've managed to skirt every other year of my stay here. What follows is a record of the proceedings.
Kennywood Fright Nights
I actually did this before, but I never went on any of the rides because they were tall and fast and, well, scary. After conquering my fears, however, I not only rode MOST of the rides there, but I also strapped myself to what was essentially a cloth harness, got dropped from about 100 feet up, and dived Batman-style from apex to just above the surface of a treacherous lake. Actually, the lake wasn't all that treacherous. But it's cooler when I describe it that way.
A sandwich joint notorious for putting fries and cole slaw IN the sandwich, I got my sandwich without cole slaw. Because, honestly, I'm not a huge fan. But the fries were enjoyable, as was the bottle of hot sauce they left on the table for the customers. I am an avid connoisseur of hot sauce, and theirs was...decent.
Drue Heinz Lectures
This is something else I've also done before (isn't there a blog entry about it somewhere?), but this last one was given by one Tom Wolfe, a verifiably cool dude. He talked about Miami, and the role race plays in the country, and some other intellectual sorts of things. Then there was a Q&A session, which exhibited more of the lively fare.
All in all, a pretty good week, I'd say. Now I just need some Steelers tickets.
rolled over on what he thought was his bed, pulled up what he thought was his
blanket, and pushed his face into what he thought was his pillow.
quickly noticed that what he thought was his pillow tasted an awful lot like
rose with a start. After he rubbed the dirt from his nose and spat out a tiny
leaf, he realized that his "pillow" had actually been a bluish hedge, and his
"bed" was nothing but the ground. It seemed as if all the things Miles thought
he knew were quite unlike anything he had thought at all. He looked around,
pushing his dark blonde bangs out of his eyes.
he had come to be in a forest, a darkish, bluish forest whose highest boughs
blocked out all but the most persistent streams of moonlight. Miles had heard
stories of people sleepwalking before, but walking outside your house? Into a
forest somewhere? That seemed like a bit much. He dusted the soil from the
bottom of his green pajama pants, and decided to do some exploring, if not
discover how far away this place was from his home. There was even a wide dirt
path, winding through the trees up ahead, inviting Miles for a stroll.
he walked down the trail, he couldn't help but notice some of the peculiar
plants that grew along the sides. Miles didn't know much about what different
plants looked like, but he knew what they weren't
supposed to look like, and more than one of the specimens he encountered fit
into that category.
of the flowers looked exactly like a violet butterfly, its wings spread as if
in mid-flight. When Miles leaned in closer to smell, he raised his arms as a
strong breeze whirled around them, and an inexplicable lightness came over his
feet, as if he could leap beyond the tree tops and glide between the stars.
soon as the feeling came, it was gone.
strange flower grew in the shape of an arrow, and its bent stem created the
image of an arrow pointing straight down. After smelling this one, a dizziness
overcame Miles, which provoked him to look at the ground. For no reason at all,
the ground seemed to be rushing at him terribly fast, as if he were falling
through the path itself. Miles quickly closed his eyes and shook his head.
sensation left him in an instant.
so often, Miles would come across a completely black flower, a plant that
looked as if someone had dumped a bucket of ink on top of it. There was
something ominous about those flowers, the same kind of ominous that hung about
poisonous mushrooms, or a single crow perched on the branch of a dead tree. So
Miles made sure to stay away, and give those plants a wide berth.
he had seen so far, though, could have prepared Miles for the masked flower. It
stood at the center of a flowerbed, as though it was the watchful protector of
its own little patch. Miles wondered what the actual flower itself looked like,
but draped over it was a white leaf with two little holes, almost like eyes. It
seemed like the leaf looked up at Miles' presence, regarding him with a curious
sort of attention. Of course, he knew that plants couldn't pay attention to
things, but it intrigued him anyway. He uprooted the plant and tucked it into
his pajama pocket; he'd be sure to tell his mother to put it in water when he
past the flowerbed was the edge of the forest, and the canopy above Miles was
beginning to thin out. At once, all of it disappeared behind him, leaving him
in a grassy plan under a perfectly clear night sky.
constellations! Miles wasn't good enough to find his way home by the stars, but
he knew how the Big Dipper looked from his house at this time of year, so maybe
he could use that to help. A rhyme his father had taught him made everything a
from the right.
found the Big Dipper right away, and followed its telltale "handle" with his
points...away from the..."
was fairly certain that he was looking at the Big Dipper, but if so, it was
definitely pointing away from the left. Was he remembering the rhyme wrong?
Perhaps it was "towards" the right?
very unsettling feeling churned in Miles' stomach, as he surveyed the rest of
the stars surrounding the Big Dipper. Other constellations he had thought he
remembered were all doing the exact same thing. It was as if someone had
flipped all the stars in the sky, shone them through a mirror so they would all
face the wrong way.
was as if Miles had ended up on the other side of the stars.
took a dizzy step back. No, that couldn't be right. Could it? What rhymed with
the word "left"?
it hit Miles that he was all alone, in the middle of the night, by a big, dark
forest, on the other side of the stars. He wasn't sure why he hadn't been
scared until now; perhaps because he had just assumed it was all a dream.
thought of a dream calmed Miles somewhat. Yes, that would certainly explain a
lot. The strange flowers, the flipped stars, how he had ended up here in the
first place. And every time Miles had ever realized he was in a dream, it had
only been a matter of moments before he sprung awake.
felt a sharp tug.
So it looks like this blog entry has inherited the font for the rest of the entry. Not bad, is it?
Anyway, this is the beginning, and I've been getting a couple of different opinions on this. The two schools of thought are a) that it starts off a little too sudden without proper pre-characterization/setup of Miles, and b) this works well because you feel like you just sort of fell into the world with Miles, and you're getting your bearings the same time he is.
b) was kinda what I was going for, but that's what ALL we writers say. We're trained to do that, from an early age.
So...don't be shy now, feel free to critique. Maybe you don't like Miles' hair?
I'm talking about the blog site, of course, although whatever alternate definition you may have mapped across that title is probably much cooler. Stick with it.
No one's entirely sure what happened, but if I might entertain my usual tendencies towards fanciful delusion, I might suspect a ranged pulse of some sort, perfect for frying servers while apparently leaving any and all other appliances completely intact. What can I say? Those engineers knew what they were doing.
At any rate, there were quite a few insights bubbling beneath the crust for some time, but I think I may have lost a couple of them. Fear not, however, for I shall attempt to recollect some of these splintered musings the same way adventurers find journal pages, hastily scrawled, of the less fortunate who blazed that trail before them.
--Document design has since yielded a handful of escapades to far corners of campus, that could really only be described as field trips. There was the rare book room, where we got to pore over texts that may have been hundreds of years old. Unfortunately, we then had to discuss their design and what that told us about the book itself. I mean, I'm sure there's a fascinating conversation to be had there, but I'm not truly enamored with the margin choices of the tomes here. If it's all the same to you, I think I'd just like to stare.
We also got to visit the printing press, nestled in a basement somewhere. The fellow who manned the press was a great character, a wide-shouldered, nimble-fingered man who knew where every type could be found, and how old they were, and what secrets they held. I wouldn't be surprised if he had a few letters of the First Script lying around, the alphabet which lies beneath all things. He was just that kind of guy.
--The more I write things that don't involve warring gods, or wayward demons, or that which rhymes with "schmantasy," the more I begin to feel the stirrings of a peculiar competence. Sadly, though, even when I think a piece I churned out wasn't bad, it's just not the same. It's almost like a songwriter having to turn to straight poetry instead for a while. We can admire our work when it excels, but you can't help but miss the music.
--Speaking of which, Nytethorn's almost trounced me, handily. You know all that stuff I wrote about Nytethorn a ways back? Yeah, remember the Laifkin? Well Miles hasn't even met a Laifkin yet. Honestly, I'm not even sure he can spell it. What's worse, any new ideas that are planted in my head flower with a speed not traditionally attributed to plants. Before I can even write another chapter, their fruit is already ripening right off the branch and bopping me right on the head. I suppose it could be worse. At least I've got the fruit, right?
I realize it's that time of year again, when thoughts turn to Common Apps and college tours are arranged. If any of you might have any questions, please, don't be stingy now.
And if you're visting, let me know! I've got all this fruit to give away.
The Creative Writing Open House transpired the other day. The Gladys Schmitt Creative Writing Center was engorged
with students, and a cursory review of my blog entries will reveal that I've never before included the words "engorged" and "Creative Writing Center" in the same sentence. I'd like to tell myself that I
had something to do with this insurgence of fresh blood, although I'm certain the truth is probably much more rational and much less involved with myself. But hey, a writer can dream. Sometimes, I think that's all we do.
After the meeting was over, some of the new writers congregated around me and asked me if I was, in fact, the apocryphal figure Dan Archer. Actually, most of them were afraid of coming off as stalkers, fears I attempted to dismiss. I've said before, I'll say it again, I like having stalkers. They make me feel important.
As it turned out, a couple of them wanted to be video game writers, and had come here for the ETC (Entertainment Technology Center) in hopes of launching their video game careers. I got to espouse my philosophy on video game writing and how a tidy little alcove in the industry is beginning to form for writers, and a bunch of other malarkey pertaining to how I had to blow dust off N64 cartridges in order to play them, and how these young 'uns have no idea what's what. I don't get to be crotchety very often, so when I'm presented with a pristine lawn and a rocking chair, I'm often tempted to sit down in the latter and scare kids off the former.
Nytethorn's coming along at a decent clip; not spawning volumes, but pages are indeed emerging. In other words, for me, a decent clip. Classes have been interesting in their respective ways:
I knew document design was going to be a troublemaker, when I first gazed upon its sinister moniker with that word -- design -- and proceeded to gather my protective talismans against such crafts. As some of you already know, my eye for design is akin to my eye with x-ray vision. Desired, but nonexistent. Thankfully, the instructor, Kerry Ishizaki, is of the compassionate sort, who understands people with my disability and is willing to guide them with a gentle hand.
Magazine writing has been a sort of review of excellent articles so far, from a bunch of magazine I know my mom reads. Atlantic, Harper's, The New Yorker, and some other heady fare with cartoons that display humor dry as Saltines. The writing is all top-notch, even though I'm always inclined in these classes to doubt my own judgment on these things. It's not my arena, after all. I can judge the verisimilitude of a system of magic, the timbre of imagination. This material, in magazine writing, is the stuff of our world, a world I inhabit only out of necessity.
Argument's been a little on the academic side, although I think things are heating up relatively soon. We've had to read all these grimoires on the history of argument, which does not a thriller make. It seems that in classes on X, there's always the 2-3 week period in the beginning where we learn the history behind X. I'm all for contextualizing things, but MAN. I mean, who was the first guy who said "You know what, Og? Our debate concerning your stone wheel could be a lot more effective if we attacked each others' claims and warrants, as opposed to just bludgeoning each other with mammoth thigh-bones." Then I imagine Og clubbed Thog into submission. This is why I can't name great rhetoricians past Aristotle and Socrates. And that's not to say THEY weren't clubbed, in a manner of speaking.
Calculus is...well, math. I'm not getting into this.
Other than that, not a ton to report. I'm thinking about posting Nytethorn excerpts, maybe? See what you guys think? I know I said I'd do that before, but then was then and this is now, and if you're looking for a better argument than that, I'm sorry but you're reading the wrong blog.
Check back after I've passed Argument.