Making the Impossible a Possibility

Archive for July, 2011

A Change of Scene

I am reluctant to toy around with my writing.

We were assigned to work on one of our pieces out of our notebooks for homework, so I took one of the free-writes I had enjoyed and found interesting and quickly typed it into my laptop. An hour and a half and seven pages later, I was finished with my fiction piece.

It was a Dystopian story, about a man who has an impossibly cruel task set forth in front of him {see page on College Writing Camp 2011, No More.} I was happy with the way my piece flowed, the picture it created, and excitedly set it down in front of me in class the next morning.

“Today, we are going to share our homework in groups of four,” Michael said. “You will pick one of the pieces of writing to transpose into a script. We will act it out in the Lecture Center. There are three aspects you need to address. First, you need to add a character. Second, you need to introduce an unexpected prop. Third, you need to turn an existing character into a caricature. You have forty five minutes to do this.”

I was placed into a group with Emma, Cyrus, and Alex. They each read a piece taken out of their own memoirs. I shared an excerpt of my fiction piece. They wanted to transpose my fiction piece into a script.

I was both thrilled and upset. I didn’t want my piece to be ruined, but I felt so special that they had chosen my writing! We took a scene from my story:

“Take heed! You have until four thirty to set up your encampment. Then you are expected to set off the explosives. Understood?”

“Yes sir,” I mutter, my jaw set into stone. The man grits his own teeth, hops down from the cockpit with his absurd, wraparound sunglasses. He marches over to me, and in one instant slams me into the scorching sand with his meaty arm.

“Excuse me?” He yells down at me.

“Yes, Sir!” I say, loud and clear, wiping the grit out of my eyes.

“Do not fail, Bronson.” He stiffly turns around and marches back into the airplane. A hot gust of air bursts around me as the airplane roars away.

And assigned the parts accordingly. Cyrus was the caricature of the mean agent. “TAKE HEED!” He roared. “YOU HAVE UNTIL FOUR THIRTY—”

Alex was the sarcastic yet complying main character.

Emma became a random woman from the town, who walked up to Alex {Bronson} with pure grace and said,

“You don’t have to do this!,”

placing a flower in Alex’s hair.

The whole effect ended up being pretty comical. It was such a sharp change from the original piece. I still was able to narrate everything that was going on, but it definitely struck something within me.

I realized that I accepted the change that we applied to what I thought was my finished story. It was interesting to see it interpreted in a new light.

It was also a marvelous thing to see my characters come to life, breathing and being right in front of my face. I wanted to thank my classmates {friends? Everyone is so friendly here!} for enlightening me, for showing me that I could accept change within my piece.

This experience has let me become more comfortable with letting things go within my writing.

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Cut and Paste

I feel that every writer has a certain insecurity, a varying level of distrust in self confidence. We cannot comprehend that our writing can be something great, if we give our work the time to blossom and grow, cultivate it into something more than that first draft.

I walked into the workshop today, proud to have fifteen pages of typed work in my hands. I beamed as my friends glanced at the thick pile of paper in my hands, smooth glossy ink catching the light. Then Michael walked in. Our professor said,

“Today, we are going to take the pieces we wrote and cut them up. Reassemble them into fragments of our lives. Cultivate it into our own autobiography, center it around a certain theme.”

He tossed a pair of safety scissors at us, a roll of tape, and tore off large sheets of newspaper.

“Begin. You have fifteen minutes of working time.”

Everyone immediately dove in, meticulously cutting up their work. Chunks of paragraphs strewn on the sheet of newsprint in front of them. I stared at my pile before me, dubious.

“Can we include fiction?” I asked meekly.

Eight pages of my work were comprised of stories that I had just come up with.

“Only if you’re the character involved or really connects to this theme. Remember, we are creating a portion of our autobiographies for our portfolio piece,” Michael replied.

I pushed those eight pages off to the side, saddened that they did not meet the criteria, and held the first sheet in my hand. I took the scissors, and made the first snips.

Surprisingly, I started to get even more involved in cutting up my pieces. I cut out mere sentences, not just chunks of paragraphs. I wanted to combine whole different pieces into one large thing, a piece that truly emphasized who I am as a writer, a reader, a daughter, a friend, a girl, a lover, a person.

After I really looked at what I had done, I began to notice a connection. This type of writing really reminded me of a stream of consciousness piece. But it’s so blase to use a cliche title. So then I realized that all of my pieces of my life take part in different locations, all connected together to form the map of my world. I decided to entitle it, “A Stream of Mobility.” I think it really personifies who I am. I am constantly in motion, whether it’s just my fingers typing or flipping pages, my mind in a whole different location, or busy with extracurricular activities or school or family and friends.

The end effect looks like this:

Technically, I think that you can read my whole piece of writing on this picture. I am planning on creating another page on this blog to post the writing that I am completing here at my camp. I hope these posts will help you learn right along with me!

Overall, in effect with this post, I wanted to emphasize how scared I was to try something new. To destroy my pieces, and create something entirely new out of them. Something that, in effect, became entirely better than the first drafts. I think that’s the hardest part about being a writer, parting with your stubborn ways for the good of the progression of the piece. I am learning to let go, and let the writing do the rest.

The Importance of Words

Currently, I am in the lovely state of Massachusetts, way up high in the Berkshire mountains. I am spending three weeks at an intensive summer writing camp at a well-known college in these parts. The food is wonderful, the writers are friendly, the professors are supporters of  “free thinking,” the dorms are live-able, and the nature is unbelievably beautiful. Think the tallest trees, the grassiest, rolling hills, and just picturesque mountain scene.

I have already learned a few valuable things already. First of all is a little bit of advice for writer’s block that I learned from my professor.

If you are writing a piece and get stuck with writer’s block, continue to repeat writing the last word you jotted down. As your brain processes that consistency, it will begin to think of brand new, exciting ideas, and suddenly you have something wonderful! I’ve tried that strategy already, believe me, and although it sounds silly, it’s worked every time.

I also have a lovely musing to share with you, which was stated by a boy in my writing class by the name of Alex. He said something along the lines of this:

“People are always scared of silence. They think it’s emptiness, some formidable, crazily loud thing. But what if, just like how in the art world white is a mixture of all colors, in the world of language, silence is a mixture of all words, so that you are truly enveloped in a blanketed sound of all of the things the world has to say?”

And on that note, I will leave you with one of my entries, which was to explain what we think of one word: WORDS.

Words are one of the best essences to describe oneself with, of course, whether in song or speech or writing. Some words are preferable to your own being, like (for me) symphony, chartreuse, tranquility. Some words also appear distasteful, like grange or squelch. But, overall, words are one of the easiest ways to connect people, because no matter the language, the tone of your speech or writing or the way you emphasize certain words expresses the feelings invoked within the person.

But words can be overrated. Why do you need to speak, to read, to write to convey a point? Isn’t it just as strong to look at a serene landscape and appreciate the value of it? Do you really need words for people to understand its beauty?

People say words are like photographs. They capture a specific tone, a windowpane’s glance into one instance, one remembered moment. But what about appreciation of the simplicity of the photographs themselves? For isn’t it true that any media of art in general allows people to connect through their cultures? Why can’t we leave the unsaid in the silence, and for once feel the liberty to just express oneself through instruments or clothing or watercolors? I do not feel it is about the importance of words, but it is about understanding the power of expression as a whole. ~S.I.H.

I hope you enjoyed my entry. Have a great day! 😀

Should I Stay, or Should I Go?

I most assuredly just had to blog to you, because I just recently read one of the best books I’ve yet had the luck to choose off of the library bookshelf. I had heard that there was a lot of hype about Gayle Forman’s If I Stay, but I wasn’t sure what exactly to expect. I know it’s very judgmental for me to state this, but I like thick, numerous-hundred paged novels, that I know will most likely be of substance, with well-developed characters and interesting plots. When I picked up If I Stay, I hesitated. I almost reached to put it back on the shelf. But then I decided to tuck it under the crook of my arm, and then add it to the pile of the six other thicker novels I was checking out of my local library.

The book itself is only 196 pages. But oh, my dear goodness. {It probably didn’t help that I read the book between the hours of 11:00 p.m. and 12:15 a.m., but we won’t mention that. Then again, hey. Some of the best books are read in the wee hours of the morning!} This book took me on one of the biggest emotional roller coasters I’ve ever had, due to a book. I was openly sobbing during six different passages of the book. My emotions literally were torn between being shocked, happy, sad, angry, disgusted, sorrowful, and joyous, all at different points of the story.

A brief synopsis of the story goes like this: Mia is seventeen years old, and highly into her musical pursuits, as well as her family and friends and boyfriend, Adam. One morning in February, Mia goes for a car ride with her mom, dad, and brother, and a terrible car crash happens. Instantly, every part of the life Mia’s used to changes. She now is in a hospital, in critical condition… but she’s OUTSIDE of her body. She can SEE everything that’s happening! But when she learns of everything that’s happened, how can she live with the new situation? Should she stay on Earth with Adam and the family and friends she loves, or should she let herself die, so that she can be with others that she has loved while they were living?

This book has many powerful messages about love, the strength of a family, and being courageous. I recommend this to any teenage girl, or any person in general, who might be struggling with the importance of family. I also recommend this to anyone that’s had to face tough choices, or anyone who’s looking for a quick yet memorable read. If I Stay will surely always stay with me as one of my favorite books. 🙂

Life, Liberty, and Equality

Ah, dear.

Where does the time go?

The funny thing is, I really do think I’m busier in the summer than I am during the school year. I know it’s a pretty pathetic observation to admit to, but it’s true.

Every weekday, I have three hours of work at my local recreation center. I am an assistant, in charge of watching over and helping twenty-five children in a clay and arts class. They make numerous crafts to take home, and the sweet thing is that most will proudly proclaim that each specific item is either for their mom or grandma. It always amazes me, too, to see some of the things they manage to create with their own hands. The keen imagination they are so lucky to have is so brilliantly portrayed throughout all of the finished work! It is true, though, that some days are filled with having to work with stubborn little girls or just having to hide your own bad mood, but, overall,  it’s about the best job I could ever think of having at this time.

I’ve also been working on my AP Literature summer assignment. I’m hoping to post a few of my reading logs over the next few weeks. The Adventures of Huckleberry Finn is a bit slow-going for me, but I am thoroughly enjoying reading one of the classics, which I tend not to do on a regular basis.

I’m sorry to say that I’ve obviously fallen by the wayside with the promised posts I originally started so very well off on. However, I want to leave you with this short list of  the series of blog posts that can be expected to come within this lovely summer:

  • Posts on my insight of The Adventures of Huckleberry Finn
  • A few book reviews on YA Fiction books
  • A major post on writing Fan Fiction
  • A log on my stay at a college in Massachusetts {Three weeks! I’m so excited for my adventure!}
  • And a few other blog posts that will be inserted here and there.

Well, I hope this little post is enough to tide you over for a while. Happy Independence Day! I plan on typing to you soon. 😀