Katykins Weblog

Life of an English Major

Fiction Workshop

We had our last day in Fiction today. We did the final workshops, and discussed three stories, with my novel excerpt “Selling the Farm” being one of them. The class seemed to like it. Once again I took a cliche idea and made it original, which I am glad that they thought so because I wasn’t so sure if I succeeded into making it my own or not.

My strengths were pretty much the same as in my previous story. I did well at characterization, especially with Wayne and Addy. I was able to show that Wayne was a creep without saying it, letting him show it for himself. I made Addy into a heroine, which is why the story wasn’t cliche because it was an early 1900’s story, and females generally needed saving by protagonists. I let Addy be her own hero.

I struggled with some of the details, such as the time period. The workshop helped out a lot with that. My class mates gave me a lot of suggestions on what I should do. First off, I should have my story be in the 1930’s, during the depression. It will add to the idea that it is a poor family, but also allow the wealthier people to have cars, and for there to be phones. Also, Addy should not see Wayne pulling Charlotte in the way of the bullet. Perhaps Addy should close her eyes for longer while before she pulls the trigger. I am going to have to work on this a little, and play with different idea. Also, Addy shouldn’t wipe of the gun. For one, she probably wouldn’t if her daughter had just been shot, and for two, she may not have needed to in the time period.

I am glad that I got good advice on the story. This semester went well. I would have never thought that I would have been good at writing fiction. It seems that I do have some talent in characterization. When I work hard I am capable of writing good short stories. I still have some work to do, but I am happy with the progress that I have made.

May 6, 2008 Posted by | Writing Fiction | , , , | 1 Comment

Gathering Information

I am currently getting ready for my physical science exam that is tomorrow at 9 AM. I am hopefully more ready for this test than I was for the last one. I just finished completing the online portion of the quiz, and I scored 86 percent, which is not terrific, but I’ll take it. It seems odd that we are having a test 5 so late in the semester considering the fact that we are also having a final.

May 4, 2008 Posted by | Uncategorized | Leave a comment

Poetry Conferences

I had my conference with my poetry professor yesterday. It went well, it was only supposed to be a 15 minute conference and we talked for over a half hour on the concepts of poetry as well as where I am at.

I have grown a lot over the past semester as far as poetry skills. My professor has seen that, and is surprised that I am a beginner. In my poetry, my strengths are mood and tone, and my subject matter is usually strong.

My weaknesses are my eye for poetry. I have some more work to do before I can get to my class mates level of reading and understanding poetry. This comes from a lot of practice both reading and writing poetry. I guess when it happens I will know.

Another one of my weaknesses is writing a complete poem. I understand this, but because my “eye” is not fully developed I do not know how to do this. One way to look at this is that it is not more than just the content of the poem, but the “sub-text” or the poem underneath the poem. This is something that I haven’t broken through to yet.

On the bright side, I have written a few complete poems in his eyes, such as “Grandma’ Cigarettes”, “Wild Flowers” and “Prescriptions”.

I am saddened that there is not a Poetry 3 course. I am afraid that I may not be able to develop my skills if I am not constantly exposed to poetry. I guess one way to do this is by buying books that contain great poetry and continuing to read and reread them in a way that I may be able to fully understand them, and of course, I need to keep writing. Another thing working for me is that the BFA in writing program has decided to let students take courses up to two times. This means that I will be able to take Poetry 2 again. My professor has advised me to wait until I am a senior to take it again, this way I will come in with more writing experience and hopefully a better knack for reading creative writing. I will definitely take his advice, and will be waiting in anticipation to take this course again.

May 2, 2008 Posted by | poetry | , , , | Leave a comment

New Choices in Employment

A lot has happened in the last week as far as my employment goes. I applied at Walmart out of the desire of an opitmal schedule and more pay. I’ve been hired, but have had problems with getting in for orientation. Orientation is an all day thing, which is only offered during the week days. With my hectic course schedule and finals around the corner, I am not going to skip and classes, which Walmart is telling me to do.
I may be moving to the shoe department at JCPenney’s, which would be nice. It all depends on how many hours that they are able to give me. I want to work a lot this summer, but not a lot in the school year. I think that I may stay at Penney’s, while picking up a shift or two more this summer somewhere else, whether it be waitressing or housekeeping. That way when the summer ends I could still work the same amount of hours at Penney’s.

April 28, 2008 Posted by | Uncategorized | Leave a comment

Studio Presentations

The first round of presenters went today. Before I thought that we had to write up our presentations on our class wiki, using links from our projects to take our class through our sites. It turns out that this is not the case. If we prefer, we can simply take the class through our sites. I think that this is what I am going to do. Eb, one of the presenters, did this for her poetry blog, and I think that it worked very well. She was able to remain focused on each point she made without the use of links. I think that I may be able to do this to. For wiki presentations links are probably more desirable, but I think when presenting personal blogs it should be easy to navigate through sites with little or no confusion.

I present a week from today. Although I am not planning on using the course wiki to help me present my project, I am going to start writing my draft for my writeup somewhere in the next few days. Not only would it be good to get a good start on it, but also I think that after writing the first draft I will have more knowledge on what I should say in my presentation.

April 28, 2008 Posted by | Uncategorized | Leave a comment

Winding Down

The semester is coming to a close and I have had so many assignments to do. I submitted my final portfolio for Poetry, containing over ten poems, as well as five prose pieces about the writing process. It also contained a cover letter essay, with my reflections on my poetry and prose, as well as my self discoveries through out the course.
I’ve about finished my short story for my fiction class. All I need to do is some editing and it should be complete. I wrote a story that takes place in the early 1900’s in a rural setting. In the story Addy, a widowed mother who has lost her home is trying to still maintain her prior ordinary life. The antagonist is Wayne Robert’s, the owner of her house, who is letting her and her family stay there. He kidnapped her 15 year old daughter in an attempt to marry her. After finding and killing Robert and accidently shooting her own daughter, Addy now forced into a life of hiding.
I am also in the process of completing my essay for my American Literature class, which is also due tommorow. I have it written up, but it could use a revision. I chose to compare and contrast “Babylon Revisted” and “The Sun Also Rises” focuses on the theme of dissinlusionment and how it affects the major characters. In there states of dissinlusionment the one primary difference between the characters in “The Sun Also Rises” and “Babylon Revisited” is the desire and motivation to change. Charlie partially succeeds in his attempt to change,and possesses the drive to do so. However, Jake and Brett do not change, and it possible that neither are capable of changing, Brett for her emotional conflicts due to Jake’s impotence, which is something that he can not fix.
All of this work and I still have two exams to look forward to in my Physical Science class. WOOT!

April 28, 2008 Posted by | Uncategorized | Leave a comment

Updike and Walker

We discussed the two works “Everyday Use” by Alice Walker, and “Flight” by Updike, today in class. They are both stories that deal with family struggles, as well as themes of identity.

“Everyday Use” is a 20th century story about an impoverished black family living in the rural south. The story is centered around the mother and her relationship with her daughter Dee, who has come home from college for a visit. Dee now goes by a different african name, and thinks more of herself than ever. She is now making it her mission to take the family heirlooms that she had previously turned down, which include and old butter churn and and old quilt, both made and used by previous generation before, that hold a lot of significane and meaning that Dee can not comprehend. Dee now wants them because it is the “in thing” in society to have objects that are associated with the past, and she thinks that she appreciates her roots more than her dim witted sister, Margie. The irony in this is that Dee does not appreciate her roots as much as she thinks. Another them in the story is the theme of social status. Education as heightened Dee’s social status, while also further alienating her from her family.

Updike’s story “Flight” also touches on family issues. The main character is Allen, a middle class high school boy, who is struggling with the grevences of his family, and the resentments that each generation has toward the prior. He also struggling with his sense of identity. Everyone in Allen’s life wants him to “take flight” by leaving town and doing great things. Allen himself is not sure if he wants to. This is shown through his relationship with Molly, an upper class girl who comes from a family that his mother can’t stand. Not only does Allen’s mother fear that she will tie him down, but the towns people also try to break them up.

April 24, 2008 Posted by | American Literature | | Leave a comment

Student Bloggers

Just an update, I’ve added a new blog to my blog-roll titled “Student Bloggers”. While surfing through my blog stats, I noticed that they were one of my refers. I was pleasantly surprised when I checked them out to find that it is an “online community where we can find one another…” The organizers of this blog find student blogs and add them to there directories, which I think is a very neat idea.

They have “rules” for linkage which they have posted on there page which are:

  1. You are a student at an institution of higher education or actively blogging about the application process.
  2. Your blog is not officially associated with a college.
  3. Finally – and this is important – you actively blog. Let’s not lead each other to dead sites

It seems that this blog is just recently started up, with archives only going back to February 2008. I think that this would be a good blog for my fellow class mates to add to there blog roll, seeing as all of us in my weblogs and wikis class probably meet the criteria to be linked.  This could make your blog easier to find by other college students, and you could also check out other students blogs. If you want to be linked on there blog you can send your blog via email to alex@studentbloggers.org.

Another interesting blog I’ve found that his related to this one is RIT/NTID student blogs! This is similar in that it is a sight dedicated to student blogs, however instead of acting as a database for many it is more of a documentary for few. They choose three students each year to have their college lives documented through blogging. This is a lot like what I am doing now. From what I understand NTID is the National Institute for the Dead, so I am guessing that these bloggers are also deaf, although it does not clearly specify this on the homepage. This makes this blog very different then any other blog that I’ve come across. When I have more time I plan to go check it out more.

April 22, 2008 Posted by | Coursework | , , , | 1 Comment

Incorporating Imagery with Emotions

Yesterday I posted my poem that focused on using imagery and descriptions. This next one is also a prose poem. The last poem seemed to have almost too much imagery. For this one, I tried to make a balance between the two, letting the imagery blend with the emotions that the narrator is feeling.

Untitled

She knew that she had surpassed the point where innocence turns corrupt, naivete becomes aware. Her footsteps walked along the same leafy path, now void of the excitement and colors it once was enchanted with. The knowing lake crept out from behind the branches, and there she stepped upon the old grey stone, which was no longer a mountain for a king. The sun was rising slowly over the horizon, and each unveiling of truth the light revealed bore tears that bit her core with the realization of her blemished existence.

April 21, 2008 Posted by | poetry | , | Leave a comment

Presentations

I just got of my weblogs and wikis class. Today we discussed the Project Presentations, and the Writeups. We are going to be giving the project presentation in class starting next week, with mine being in a couple weeks from now. They are essentially going to be the rough drafts of the writeups, with the writerups being more complete and fine tuned.

We are going to be presenting our projects to the class using the computer and over head. From what I have gathered thus far, we are going to be creating the pages for our presentations on the wiki. So instead of using our blogs as the starting point, we are going to gather links and organize them on our presentation page. This should help keep us organized and on track during the presentation. Choosing the links should hopefully be easy. We need to pick links that suffice the following categories.

  • What did you do?
  • What else happened?
  • What went well?
  • What went not so well?
  • What problems did you encounter and how did you address them

Asides from preparing the links we also need to ask ourselves the following questions in order to be prepared for the presentations.

  • Where did you start?
  • Where did you end up?
  • What changed-and how? What do you make of those changes?
  • What stayed the same? What did you make of that?
  • If you did it again, what would you change? What would you keep the same

If all goes well, this presentation should be pretty painless. Completing the Writeup should be the hardest task to complete. At this point I am guessing that gathering the information should be easy. Tying it all together to form a terrific writeup may be a hefty task.

April 21, 2008 Posted by | Coursework | , , | Leave a comment