Light Show

“You should get a light show!” she says as the blaring music fills the bar room and bright strobe lights reflect off of the floor.

“Huh?” I replied completely perplexed, with one drink in my system. “What’s a light show?” She laughs and points me toward this girl wearing white gloves with bright, multi-colored neon lights flashing continuously in an unpredictable pattern.

I’m entranced. “It’s even better when you’ve taken something to enhance it,” my friend tells me.

The white-gloved girl waves her Christmas-lighted hands in quick circles and lines and unnameable polygons in front of my soon-to-be deejaying friend’s face. Her jubilee hands move in and out all around his face, coming within millimeters of his eyes and skin.

An example of a glove light show.

Logic tells me it’s only hands, lights, and random gestures. But I’m hypnotized. This light show . . . I want to experience.
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Playwriting: Minimalist Strategy

The semester is winding down and with it comes the end of my first playwriting class, which also means public readings of some scenes that students have written.

As the deadline for a finished play and the staging of scenes  approaches, and I look back on the experience, I’m thrilled that my writing strategy paid off. The informal public reading is the class’s final project in which we pick out a bit from our play to be read by actors. This requirement for finding our own actors was stated earlier in the semester by our professor, who also told us that we would be in charge of directing them–providing the necessary input to let actors know how to read and perform the scene. With this information, I hatched the idea to write in a minimalistic style and develop a play that would appeal to an actor’s creative and collaborative instincts. Continue reading

Fieldwork: Exploratory Writing

The end of the first chapter of Fieldworking, a research and writing guide by Bonnie Sunstein and Elizabeth Chiseri-Strater, provides a few steps to think, choose, and write about a potential field topic or site. In particular, steps three and four on page 54 (which focus on thinking about problems and drawbacks of picking a topic), was something I found useful in thinking about my field site.

After listing the subcultures and groups that I belonged too, I wasn’t sure about what I really wanted to explore or spend the last few weeks of the semester researching. But after getting to the third and fourth steps–questions focusing on practical issues of doing research (drawbacks, objections by people within the group, benefits to its members and yourself, and the possibility of giving back to a group)–I realized that the topic I wanted to write about and would be the most useful for these last few weeks of the semester was something I didn’t think of listing at all: job-seeking seniors (who are about to graduate). Continue reading

Flash Nonfiction Submission for Brevity

Regarding my first post–reflecting on writing in the flash genre and my first submission to a writing contest–Brevity just announced the winners of its flash nonfiction essay contest inspired by Philip Graham. Although, I didn’t win anything, I can now post my short submission in full:

Headphones, Sound Effects

“No,” I said, secretly shocked by my own answer. I should be ecstatically answering the opposite, which is exactly what any of my buddies would do, and moments before I thought I would too.

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Mission Statement for Cultural Commentary

When I started writing my critical essay analyzing Elizabeth Barrett Browning’s forty-third poem in Sonnets from the Portuguese, it was largely an effort to try to use one work to fulfill two different assignments for two different classes. But in the end I still ended up writing two slightly different essays that explored the same poem. Although they ended up being slightly different, both essays seemed to have a common desire: to write academic papers that didn’t sound academic (at least not in the usual sense of being overly distant in tone or staking its analysis on obscure or tangential facts). Continue reading

Excerpt Choice

In considering what makes a good blog posts (and good writing in general), I chose the Huffington Post article “Coming Up England by a Different Line” by Gary Lightbody, the lead singer of Snow Patrol. And the excerpt I’m sharing contains the article’s first few sentences:

Coming up England by a different line. Not my words, but those of Philip Larkin, British poet and miserable genius. God rest his soul. He loved a train. As do I. I studied Larkin at school and every time I am on a train I think of that line from his poem “I Remember I Remember.” I can’t help it.

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Reflection: Writing a Memory Narrative

At first I was unsure about writing a memory-based narrative for Brevity‘s flash nonfiction contest. I was most worried about choosing an interesting topic to write about without getting overly personal. Before it was even discussed in class, I already knew I didn’t want to write about anything traumatic or too heavy. But when I sat down at my computer, everything that popped into my head were things too personal that I didn’t want to put to paper — much less condense into 500 words (or less). Finding my topic was probably the hardest and longest part of writing the memory narrative. Continue reading

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