I said it!
The things you do when you procrastinate :)
I was fishing up stuff on my comp and found this essay that I never submitted to Josh. I didn't like it. Sounded like something from a trashy novel or somethink like that. It's reproduced below with some changes to it.
Nick’s eyes darted around the room as he twirled her around on the dance floor. She moved in and pressed her body close to his enjoying their last dance of the semester. He forced a smile; his throat clenching shut while her perfume wafted up his nose. She didn’t notice his shortness of breath or the desperate look in his eyes as they scoured the dance floor trying to find the best path out of the room. Then he saw it: the way out. Nick steadied himself and tried to breath. “Be right back,” he whispered into her ears pushing her away. It had looked simple enough in his mind but as he set out he realized there were more obstacles than he had envisioned. He slid in between his roommate and the girl he had had a crush on in freshman year making sure his arm lightly brushed her. With remarkable footwork, he twisted and writhed his way around two more dance partners and suddenly he had a clear view of the exit. His heart raced and he felt the blood rush to his face. Gasping and sweaty, he made the final scramble for the door unaware of all the feet he trampled and the couples he split up. Nick was wheezing now, his vision clouded. All he needed to do now was side-step the next guy and he would be outside. “’Scuse me,” Nick muttered as he pressed his hand on the door handle and pushed it open. Out of breath, he stumbled outside, grabbed the railing and drew in a lungful of fresh air.
“Aaah,” he sighed as he inhaled deeply feeling his throat open up, his head clearing, thankful finally for the fresh breeze, completely oblivious to the fire alarm ringing from the emergency exit.
Currently Playing: Michael Jackson -- Beat It
Review of a Review
The Kenyon Review is a magazine that publishes essays, short stories, poetry, fiction and non-fiction and the odd review here and there (sadly, my work will never make it into its pages). None of the authors in the edition I read were familiar to me so I guess I can assume that it tries to seek out writers who are not as well-established as others and tries to bring them to the fore. (Research did show that the more obscure work of established writers do make their way into the review once in a while.) I read the Winter 2004 edition and I enjoyed the selection of pieces included in the edition. This particular edition has a diverse mix of poems and an essay written in verse by Rowan Ricardo Phillips that talks about the work of Robert Hayden.
Still, it was the fiction that caught my attention since I have devoted all my assignments in the class to the writing of some sort of fiction with the exception of the “truth” piece. This edition had five fictional stories, which ranged from the fantastical “Episode from the History” by Alison Bundy to the soul-searching “Dummies, Shakers, Barkers, Wanderers” by Lee Martin. While I enjoyed reading each story and the different ways of writing that each author seems to possess, I should point out that I didn’t really see the point of “Episode from the History.” It had a nice story that evoked memories of all those bizarre stories I create in my mind as I walk around daily. However, the way Alison Bundy wrote the story about a magician who comes to a village for his (presumably) last performance and disappears with a set of twins leads to a great deal of confusion – at least for me. One almost feels like the audience in the magic show being described: we don’t really know what’s going on and are taken from one level to the next without any warning. Bundy does conjure up some nice vivid imagery and writes in a refreshingly new and interesting way.
“The Penance Practicum” by Erin McGraw tells an engaging tale that looks at a side of priesthood that most people do not see: a side that shows priests-in-training going through all the emotions that every other student goes through at some point or another. While I enjoyed this journey into the “How it Works” of priesthood, the story that I really enjoyed was “In the Park,” by Gao Xingjian translated from Chinese by Mabel Lee. This witty story looks at two people – a man and a woman – who grew up together but have had no contact for a while. The story hints at the fact that they might have dated but never really got married. What I enjoyed most about this story was the way the main “action” taking place is mirrored by the anguish of a woman in the park who seems to be waiting for a lover (or love). This person never shows up and she ends up crying as the man and woman walk out of the park left to contemplate their own lives and perhaps what might have been. Gao’s story is quite good and I recommend it for all to read.
Indeed, I recommend the whole Kenyon Review to anyone who is looking for a nice collection of poems and/or stories to read. The reading is not too dense yet challenging enough to stimulate the mind. Basically if you are in Olin Library and find yourself sitting in the periodicals room, pick up the Kenyon Review and start reading. You’ll be happy you did.
webby: Kenyon Review
Currently Playing: Usher -- Burn
About to start packing and doing all that good stuff that precedes Spring Break! Hope everyone has a nice break and gets a nice tan going and all.
Currently Playing: Missy Elliott -- Don't Be Cruel ft. Monica and Beenie Man
I swear To Tell The Truth, The Whole Truth and Nothing But The Truth, So Help Me God
When I was a kid, my source of what was true wasn't very far from me: my mum, dad, grandparents, teachers (sometimes). They'd tell me something and I would hold it as the steadfast truth. Then I got to that age. You know, the one where you start reading every book you see and realize that there is a lot out there in the world that those around you are keeping away from you. That's when I started to formulate my own idea of what the truth is. I am a very skeptical person. I take everything I see and hear with a grain of salt. Well, not hot chocolate but everything else is washed down with a grain of salt. I think most people decide what they want to hold as the truth and what they don't want to. If a scientist wants a grant to investigate some object he claims is the 11th planet of the solar system (since the 10th seems to have been discovered just a few days ago) he will be asked to present facts, an argument if you like. There might be another scientist who has seen that same object and arrived at the conclusion after pages of calculations that said object is nothing but an asteroid. Both scientists saw the same thing yet they both believe different truths. (Horrible analogy, eh?) It's up to a third party to decide which of the truths he wants to latch on to. One intresting thing about people and truth is this question I was once asked: When someone says that a park bench you are looking at has wet paint on it, you will touch it before you believe yet when that person says there are a million stars in the night sky, you will believe it without question. Why is that? (the question was definitely worded differently). Are there different levels of "truth" then? Truths we take from scientist or other such "authoritative" people and truths coming from a friend are treated differently. I forget where I am going with this but essentially all I am saying is, my way around this is to treat everything with skepticism. I will touch the bench to make sure it's wet and if I had the means, I'd count the stars just to be sure. Where do I go for the truth? I go inside of me. If the facts surrounding the truth seem infallible and my heart believes then it's the truth. Sometimes believing something is the truth is akin to taking ze proverbial leap of faith. Now, how true is that?
Currently Playing: Bob Marley -- Mellow Mood
In case you haven't figured out by now, I am only listening to Tracy Chapman today...headaches and hiphop don't mix. :)
Currently Playing: Tracy Chapman -- The Promise
Write In The Air
I walk around campus and I find myself writing in my head. If I wrote down all the stories and prose that I formulated while walking around, I'd have enough to fill a library. I think. Ultimately the few lines that manage to stowaway in my head are the ones that I transfer into 1s and 0s using MSWord. I go to my room and crack the window slightly open to allow a light breeze in, play some music, fire up Bill Gates' Word program and stat typing. Just like that. No planning or anything of that sort. Whatever I remember from what I was writing while walking around is thrown down onto the keyboard by my fingers. Occassionally, I'll write with a pen and paper but that's when something absolutely brilliant come to mind while I am in class (which happens as often as WMDs show up in Iraq). I guess essentially I don't really write then. I type. I type a lot and quite unconventionally: my fingers in a formation only I understand. Once in a while my mind writes faster than my fingers can fly on the keyboard then I forget all that I was going to say. I hate it when that happens. I find that I like writing, especially for this class. I explore aspects of my writing that I always neglect. I can play around with things more. I feel no inhibitions when I write. I can make anything happen and unmake anything that happened. Writing makes me happy and sometimes I don't want to stop. I want to keep writing everywhere I go; I want to write in the air so everyone can breathe in my writing (terrible writing, I might add). One thing I am known for saying among my friends is this: "I will never take a writing class that isn't required by my major." Well, I guess I lied and I am happy I did. I am happy with the 281.12!
Currently Playing: Tracy Chapman -- Speak The Word
Just felt like putting this up...It happened to me.
It was the thud heard across the room. I was there when it happened. I remember it just like it was yesterday (it WAS yesterday). Some crazy, energetic guy is playing indoor soccer with his friends when it happens. “Are you ok?” “Are you bleeding?” “Do you feel like vomiting?” People around him are anxious. How the hell should he know? He just hit his head against a wall! Darkness and light play catch in his mind while his brain reverberates in his skull. “Here, drink water!” “Do you want to go to the hospital?” “Do you want to go to your room?” Why not as him if he wants to save the world?! His brain is happily bouncing about in his head and you ask him such seemingly unimportant questions. Ok, maybe he wants to go to the hospital. Oh wait, he can speak let him say for himself: Yeah, I’ll go to the hospital.
“Drink the water I gave you.” His jaw hurts, his head is throbbing, his neck aches, he is dizzy…man, leave him alone. Someone comes with a trash-bag full of ice. He rests his head on it then it all comes to him: the ball was going out of bounds, he tried to save the ball; he twisted his body to save the ball and that’s when he fell backwards trying to save the ball. His head hit the wall and there was a loud noise. He screamed. He clutched his head. He coiled up like a baby needing his mama. Darkness…light…Darkness… Ouch it hurt.
“You ready to go to the hospital?” Groggy…yes he wants to go to the hospital, what do you think? He gingerly gets up, using the offending wall for support. Dizziness – no nausea, no bleeding – just dizziness. Lord knows how much time has passed. People are happy he can walk and everything seems ok; they go back to their game. He puts his clothes on and leans against the wall for support – his brain still swimming about in his head. He takes baby steps towards the door and the wooziness gradually lifts; through the doors on the left and then through the hallway to the main doors he slowly makes his way out. Then suddenly he stops. “What’s the problem?” He stares at the parking lot outside with its endless sea of cars, shakes his head and tries to smile: I hate snow!
Currently Playing: Tracy Chapman -- Wedding Song
This is what Josh was talking about in class. The email circulated some months ago. Cool stuff:
Aoccdrnig to a rscheearch at Cmabrigde Uinervtisy, it deosn't mttaer in waht oredr the ltteers in a wrod are, the olny iprmoetnt tihng is taht the frist and lsat ltteer be at the rghit pclae. The rset can be a total mses and you can sitll raed it wouthit porbelm. Tihs is bcuseae the huamn mnid deos not raed ervey lteter by istlef, but the wrod as a wlohe.
Currently Playing: The Four Seasons (?) -- Oh What A Night (?)
my blogs are boring...hmm
Currently Playing: Punjabi MC ft. Jay Z -- Beware of the Boys
Mechanics of Writing
Planes have always fascinated me. Those big metallic birds that seem to defy gravity and fly from here to there and everywhere else can hold me completely spell-bound for hours on end. Of course, this fascination eventually led to my decision to major in mechanical engineering (if I had know it'd be this hard, I would have found something else to devote my attention to! :D). Mechanical engineering requires lots of analysis, precision and ingenuity. As an engineer, you design and work on projects where you analyse data to make things that are precise and serve a purpose and these are qualities that I try to incorporate into my writing. I sometimes find myself applying some sort of scientific method to my writing and sometimes this serves well while at most times, it leads to complete and utter disaster! One of the classes I am taking this semester involves analysing pieces for various mechanical properties. My writing can be compared to the steps taken to solve some problems in this class. You start with your stress element or subject on which you are writing and write down all you know about it. Then you map out an effective strategy to get what you want when you are done working on the element. It is after this is done and you know what you are doing, that you plunge in and start writing.You write equations or sentences all to give you a product you (me) are satisfied with and is acceptable. The beauty of writing as compared to engineering is that you can vary the way you write when you are working towards the final "answer". You don't have to follow Euler's or Newton's equations with solemn reverence but can change them to come up with "Yaw's equations"!
One final thing I always try to go for, is precision. When machining parts in the machine shop, precision in your measurements is key and same applies to the way I write. I try to eliminate information that make a piece of writing seem awkward. Doing this ensures that a reader is not given a piece that doesn't fit into a whole that already exists. Because ultimately, whether we like it or not, everything in the world fits somewhere in a whole we don't see or choose not to acknowledge.
When all is said and done, I hope my writing will make like all those planes I love to watch: turn on their engines, taxi up to the runway and take readers off to places they never dreamt they'd go to.
Currently Playing: Buju Banton -- Destiny
I am in an emotionally draining, exhausting, hallucination-inducing, fascinating, dazed and confused state of perpetual, almost cyclical, chronic sleep deprivation...God Help Me!
Currently Playing: UB40 -- Kingston Town
Shake It Like A Polaroid Picture!
Currently Playing: Bob Marley -- No Woman No Cry