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Book Review December 3, 2009

Filed under: Uncategorized — ammark3 @ 6:14 pm

Book Title: The Descent of Alette

Author: Alice Notley

Alice Notley writes this book in a non-traditional way which could throw the reader off at first glance.  Here is a passge from a random page in the book:

“girls in dress” “I wondered” “who the man was, why he wasn’t”

“above ground” “He must work for” “the tyrant” “But I forgot him among our flags”

This type of poetry she uses actually tells a story.  Alette, who is the narrarator of the story, goes through a series of events on her journey to fin a tyrant and eventually help the world.  She is underground and continues to meet different people, or more like figures and ghost like people, during this journey.  Notley uses the quotations to tell a spoken story while using poetry to bind the piece together.

Alice says that she used the quotations marks  the measure the poem.  According to her author’s note, she says that the phrases enclosed by the quotes are “poetic feet.”  By creating these poetic feet, she wants the reader to pay close attention and not rush through those parts so that they remain musical.  Because the text within the quotes is said by a voice, she had to distinguish between thoughts.

At first glance, these quotations were off putting and distracting.  Although I didn’t care for them, they were definitely easier to adjust to as the story went on.  And that is just was a story.  I thought it was going to be another “Povel”, where the author just rambles on random tangents.  However, Notley is able to tell a cohesive and interesting story using this technique.


Writer’s Inventory Redux

Filed under: Uncategorized — ammark3 @ 5:57 pm

These questions provide a chance for you to reflect on creative writing. Please answer these questions in a post on your blog. Your answers will not be graded for content, and there are no right answers. Please be honest.

  1. Finish this sentence: Creative writing is…an opportunity to tell a story, real or fictional, and share your passion with others.  It is a gift, one that allows us to freely express and create art.
  1. Briefly describe your history or background in reading and writing creative texts. I have written many pieces in many different genres, and have read and critiqued many differnet pieces from multiple genres as well.  I would say that I have a better understanding on how to critique and creative text, as well as the confidence I needed to own and be proud of my creative work.  I now embrace the writing process, and write often.
  2. Are writers born, made, or both? Explain your answer. Both.  There is a certain passion that cannot be taught, but with practice and direction, one can be made into a great writer.
  3. Explain how writing affects your daily life. I write daily.  It is an outlet.  Instead of bottling up events from the day, thoughts in my head, or stories I just want to shout out, I can put them in a notebook that is for my eyes and just let out what I want to say.  It is truly a gift to be able to express what I want when I want.
  4. What is the purpose of the creative writer in contemporary society? The purpose of creative writing in contemporary society is to entertain yourself and others.  It is also to share and inspire others to embrace what they love to do, as well.
  5. Will you continue to write creatively when this course ends? What are your plans? I will continue to write, and plan to do so for a long time. I consider myself a writer.

End of the Semester Questionaire

Filed under: Uncategorized — ammark3 @ 5:50 pm
  1. What was your favorite writing assignment? Why?

We didn’t really have writing assignments, but rather, we had writing activities that we did in the beginning of class.  My favorite one of those was when we got into a group and folded the paper and read what our group came up with.  Or the time we did it as a whole class.  Those activities were really fun, and some people were able to create some cool pieces of writing based on what happened with those activities.

What was  your least favorite writing assignment? Why?

I don’t think I have a least favorite because they all proved useful in one way or another.

Discuss your reactions to full-group workshops. Would you change them in any way?

I really think that the full group workshops are productive.  It is a great way to get feedback from a whole group, versus just a couple of people which is usually the case.  I think it also gets the class talking and discussing, which brings the class together as a whole.  The only thing I would change about the full-group workshops is the lag, or down time that there was.  Sometimes, someone would read a piece and no one would say anything for five minutes.  It was kind of awkward, so maybe if you could figure out a system for that, it would be helpful in moving the workshops along.  Also, it may be helpful for the person handing out his or her piece to read it out loud before.  I like the idea of critiquing a piece, and then coming to class and hearing how it was suppose to sound, and maybe taking a different stance, but it may be helpful to read it before we all depart to go critique the piece.

Discuss your reactions to small-group workshops. Would you change them in any way?

I really liked the small group workshops, even more than the full-group workshops because you were able to see the same people’s work during the group time.  There were many times where we would bring in pieces that the group had made revision suggestions to, and look over the revised work and critique that, so I think the small-group provided great feedback.  The only way I would change the small group workshops would be to have only a couple people bring their work in, so we could spend more time on each person’s individual pieces.  We had three people bringing work in, and sometimes I felt like one piece would get pushed to the side while we focused on someone else’s, or we didn’t have time to fully commit to one piece because of the time we spent on another.

Did the overall course structure (two portfolios, emphasis on invention before revision, arrangement, delivery) helped your writing practice?

I do believe the course structure helped with my writing practice and the different aspects there are to that process.  With the final portfolio, I think that we should get some revision advise before we turn them in, because I included some new pieces that hadn’t been critiqued by anyone, and I didn’t really think they were completely final, although I did see them as close to their final product.  So maybe, if you arranged the calendar to accommodate the final switch earlier so we could get feedback, change a few things, and then turn it in, that may be helpful to students.

Would you have liked more specific instructions on genre conventions (e.g. poetry, prose, creative nonfiction, etc.) or were you comfortable with the multigenre or genre-less approach to writing? Explain your answer.

I actually would have liked more explanation on the different genres because this was an introduction class, and I, myself, was new to the different genres (some of them).  It might be helpful to do a quick overview or provide some examples for us to see and try a piece of our own so that we understand the concept, layout, or any of the other elements included in each genre.

Did you like having the opportunity to negotiate grading criteria? Were you able to fully participate in this process? How would you change it for future classes?

I really liked the structure of the class and the input you took from us about the grading criteria.  I thought you went about it as fair as you could, and I think that is good.  I feel like students perform better if they have set some of the standards they need to be living up to, and that is what this class felt like for me.  Other than the fact that this was an extremely enjoyable class, it was really nice to participate in that process and discuss it as a class.

Did keeping a journal and blog help your writing practice? Explain.

I loved having the tangible object, the journal, and the online ability to write as well.  I didn’t mind that we had to blog twice a week, but a lot of the time I found myself writing what was in my journal, on the blog.  I don’t think that is a bad thing, and like I said, I liked having both the object and the online access.  Plus it was interesting to learn about a blog for the future.

What did you use the blog medium for (creative writing, reading response, journaling, etc.)?

I used the blog for journaling and creative writing.

Discuss my performance as an instructor. Did you find the way the course was conducted satisfactory? Would you have liked the instruction to be different? Explain.

I did like the way the course was conducted.  It was a very relaxed environment which made class really enjoyable.  We were able to talk about anything, and it was very open.  I think the instruction was great and the examples you provided were very helpful.  Your blog was always up to date and very helpful as well.  I really enjoyed the way the class was conducted, and think you did a great job.

Please offer some advice or helpful hints for students taking this course in the future.

Dear future students–embrace writing as a time to tell a story.  Whether it be about a deep and personal event, the weather, or a fictional story about a girl going to the mall, embrace it and own it.  We are so lucky to be able to freely write about whatever we want.  We have the power to change with our writing, so don’t hesitate to share your work.  The workshops may seem scary at first, putting yourself out there for others to judge and see the work you may have once thought no one would see, but it is really a great time to get feedback and revise some pieces.  And last, write..write..write!


Ode to Journal November 27, 2009

Filed under: Uncategorized — ammark3 @ 9:07 pm

Recently, I have been writing in my journal and posting what I write while in class or whenever I would write in my little journal.  Now that we have turned them in, I find myself almost lost without it.  I check in on my blog and want to post something, and then realize I don’t have my journal.  I was having a hard time writing in it at the beginning.  I felt that since we had the blog and were required to journal, I was having trouble writing in both, keeping them separate, and finding time to do both of those things.  However, I started getting used to it, and actually found myself posting what I would write in my journal/composition book.  Now, I have to say I am feeling a little lost without my journal.

On another note, I ate way to much on Thanksgiving, as usual, but had a wonderful time with family and loved ones.  My brother was able to get leave from the Army base in Tenn. and he was able to come home and spend time with us.  It’s been a great break, but now I must focus on school once again.  Those research papers, final exams, note cards, and all the other last minute assignments are calling my name.  Since I am just now responding to those calls, I am in need of some big-time catch up time, to say the least.  Yikes!


Break November 23, 2009

Filed under: Uncategorized — ammark3 @ 7:58 pm

Break started for me on Thursday, after my last class ended at 4:50pm.  I went home on Friday and have been lounging around the house ever since.  I decided to start some homework today, which got me thinking if there is ever really such a thing as break.  When break comes around, that means we can go home and relax from school, but for me that means I don’t have to worry about school work, but I must worry about actual work, as in being a waitress.  When my parents take a day off from work, or their “break”, they usually spend it doing household chores, running errands, and catching up on all the e-mails and phone calls they have put off writing or making.  Interesting.


I love the fact that we get a week off of school.   However; just like today, I am spending my time writing papers, researching, reading, studying and all that other fun stuff.  Fun stuff..right.  I guess it’s all worth being ahead of myself come time for finals and crazy stress-filled crunch time.  I guess what I’m trying to say is, I can’t wait for Thanksgiving, for a nice relaxing time with family and food (also my favorite holiday).  And I can’t wait ’till finals and the fall semester wraps up and comes to an end.  Happy catch-up time 🙂


A Little Reflection November 19, 2009

Filed under: Uncategorized — ammark3 @ 6:26 pm

I think I have come a long way since the beginning of my first semester here.  I have really learned a lot about myself as a writer, and I think that is one of the most important components of writing; knowing who you are and what you are comfortable with.  I have to say, I was not comfortable with a lot of this in the beginning.  I wasn’t interested in sharing my work, being critiqued on how I wrote, and critiquing other’s pieces.  However; as the weeks went by, I was thrilled to be reading different works from the different authors in this class, and loved responding to what they were writing.  In addition, I became more and more comfortable handing over my work, giving up control, and sitting back while others gave opinions and suggestions.  I have to say that my final portfolio is the best writing I have ever done..ever!  I am very proud of what is in that folder, and I know that I am going to continue on this path of habitual writing and editing.

I really have appreciated the structure of the class, the full group workshops and small group workshops.  I am just extremely thankful that I have broken out of my comfort shell, and really branched out into the different writing genres.  I am also proud of my work, having a sense of ownership, which has really helped my confidence as a writer.

Just a little blurb about my thoughts as I put together the last strings of the portfolio and get ready to head to class.  Always good to vent, especially when it’s positive!  So thanks Steve, thanks fellow writers and classmates, for making this an incredibly enjoyable class!


She Always Said… November 16, 2009

Filed under: Uncategorized — ammark3 @ 8:16 pm

No day like today

Time to take action,

Be an active member

Have a reaction.

Set the bar high

Accomplish you goals,

Be strong and fight hard

Do what your told.

Live now, live easy

Relax and have fun,

This part of your life

Has only begun.

Love hard, love completely

And reach toward the sky,

Stay true to yourself

And remember to try.

Keep your guard up

To keep yourself safe,

And don’t forget

To find your happy place.


Live now, live easy

Relax and have fun,

And jump on the ride

Because it has only begun.