Thus revealed, the creature buried its nose in the tire-tilled soil...
May 21, 2005
Writing updates & a sample daily theme
Category: Ancient … Fiction?

So apparently, as of May 10, Flesh & Blood is closed to submissions until September. D'oh! Need to find somewhere else to send this story in the meantime -- I'm thinking Cemetery Dance could work. We'll see.

Speaking of writing, I was browsing my old directories and came across some old stories I wrote in school, one of which more/less signifies the beginning of a lesbian relationship between two teenage girls. (Nothing really happens, but there's subtle flirtation and at the end of the story the two girls ditch school together to go eat ice cream.) I was just thinking yesterday that maybe Ellen DeGeneres should've kept her mouth shut about the supposed sexual abuse from her father, given the various arguments that homosexuals are "created" through such traumatic childhood experiences as, surprise!, sexual abuse, and that this constitutes proof that same-sex attraction is unnatural and caused by icky things. But oddly enough, in this story, I wrote sexual abuse into the background of one of the girls. I don't know why I did that. Weird.

But I'm not posting that story now. Instead, I also found a short piece of writing I completed in applying to get into English 450 -- a sample "daily theme" assignment. If I remember correctly, daily themes could be about various things (per the name, each day one was supposed to write something different). For this one, students were supposed to write two paragraphs about the same event as viewed by two different people, with one paragraph constituting each point of view. So here's what I wrote:

I. A jarring crash and an anguished cry rang out, and Annie?s eyes went wide with horror and despair. She whipped her head about wildly for the source -- there! -- whereupon she spied a man groping for his trapped legs with his right arm and flailing his left in a state of shock and frenzy. And though her heart swelled to see the concern on the faces of the construction workers who dropped down to assist this poor man whose shins had been crushed by a fallen girder, the twisted countenance of the fallen man compelled Annie to share in his agony. She fell to her knees, weeping, helpless, but somehow comforted by the sight of a kind man nearby who shouted that he would use his cell phone to call for help. His tone, shrill with urgency and concern, reverberated in Annie?s ears.

II. A jarring crash and an anguished cry rang out, and Ryland could scarcely keep himself from erupting into a fit of laughter. What stupid fool walks under construction in progress? he thought, relishing the satisfaction he derived from the sight of this idiot who had received his just desserts in the form of a girder crashing down upon his shins. Laughing inside at the fear that decorated the faces of the construction workers who dropped down to help -- they were responsible, after all -- Ryland tried to guess how much the girder weighed. Finally, when a frail woman nearby collapsed and began to cry, he feigned concern and shouted to the construction workers that he would use his cell phone to call for help. Ryland hoped that the delighted lilt of his voice had gone unnoticed.

Of course, I didn't get into the course -- I don't even think I made the waiting list -- but I don't see why. This is pretty good, I think! But part of me thinks that the professor probably wanted two physical descriptions of the same scene as viewed by two different people, as opposed to the two different reactions in my example. If so, that was unclear, and in any case I like my submission just fine. By the way, here's another odd fact -- not once did I ever get accepted into an intermediate prose writing class at Yale (I think I made it onto one waiting list, and I was admitted to John Hollander's intermediate poetry course), but I made it into every advanced fiction cource to which I applied. That was only two courses, but still -- you'd think that if my writing wasn't good enough to get me into the intermediate course, surely the advanced course would be out of my league. Oh, that wacky Yale.

Btw, note the new "Fiction?" category. Ja!

-posted by Wes | 2:45 am | Comments (2)
  • Becky says:

    Honestly, you were probably just too creative for them. I have to admit that I kind of have an image of stodginess and convervatism of that school, but perhaps I'm way off base?

  • Wes says:

    Actually, for all of its stodginess, Yale is apparently one of the more liberal institutions (ties to Bush and other prominent members of the Republican Party notwithstanding). But that's politically speaking.

    With respect to the fiction courses, however, the intermediate ones were mostly taught by younger professors whose ideas about what constitutes good writing were fairly specific in terms of style and subject matter, whereas (and perhaps you'd expect it to be the other way around) the advanced courses were taught by older professors whose ideas concerning good writing were pretty encompassing -- they understood that not everyone needs to write like Sylvia Plath and Virginia Woolfe.

    Plus, far fewer students applied to the advanced courses (most would've preferred to have taken the intermediate courses first and not too many got to do that), so that probably had something to do with it as well. 🙂

Leave a Reply...