Dialogue, I believe, is more fun than exposition. In my creative writing class, I was assigned to explain the differences between the styles of Ernest Hemingway and Ruth Prawer Jhabvala and to briefly discuss William Carlos Williams. I chose to do so through an imagined dialogue among the three while they have drinks at a bar.
“Manny has good taste in drink,” Ernest said, smirking at Ruth and holding a glass of whiskey in his hand. “And he’s appropriately named.”
“That’s not what I asked,” said Ruth, sipping her own glass of whiskey, keeping pace with Ernest.
“You want to know whether I think there is too much narration, not enough dialogue, in your story ‘Passion’?”
“No . . . what?”
“No, I don’t.”
“You’re rather reticent for a man who relies so heavily on dialogue.” Continue reading “Ernest and Ruth Discussing Writing at a Bar”
What if you could spend a day with your favorite literary character? In the creative writing class I’m taking, I was assigned to write a short scene featuring myself and a literary character of my choosing. I chose Sal Paradise, Jack Keroac’s alter ego in On the Road. I attempted to mimic Keroac’s style (run-on sentences and all) in this scene that has Sal and me meeting near the Ohio State campus. Continue reading “On High Street”
There’s no such a thing as a “math person,” claim the authors of a recent article in The Atlantic Monthly (published two weeks after this post was originally published). Understanding math, they argue, is the result of hard work and study. In the following scene, written for the creative writing class I’m currently taking, I write from the perspective of a child who believes his genes determine his academic achievement. If you’re a parent, consider reading this post along with the article linked here, by Po Bronson, about the inverse effects of praising children for being “smart.”
I gave my report card to Dad to show him how smart I am in English and history. He turned down the basketball game and looked at my report card and read off my grades: “A in English. Excellent. B+ in history. Great. D+ in math. C in science. Well, son, you are your father’s child. There’s no doubt you got your genes from me.” My dad was good at English and history, and every time I show him my report card he says I got his genes. Genes are the stuff in your DNA that you get from your mom and dad and make you who you are. So if your mom and dad were good at English and history but not math and science then you’ll be the same. If you’re lucky one of your parents was good at math and science and the other was good at English and history and then you’ll be good at everything. I wasn’t so lucky though. My mom was pretty good at English but not math and science. So I’m not a math and science kid, but I’m really good at English and pretty good at history. Continue reading “Good Genes”
Rewriting scenes from other authors’ works continues to be a fun exercise. In my fiction class, we were assigned the novel Monkeys, by Susan Minot, which tells the story of the Vincents, a New England family with seven children growing up during the 1970s. Monkeys consists of nine short stories that all favor the children’s perspective. Our writing assignment was to compose or rewrite a story favoring the father’s perspective, rather than the children’s, but still imitating Minot’s style. Regardless of whether you enjoy the story I’ve written, I highly recommend the novel.
At least once every summer the couples from Massachusetts gathered to play find-the-button. Tonight Gus and Rosie Vincent arrived at the Irvings’, as the fog rolled in from the North Eden Harbor. Rosie led the way and greeted the Aberdeens, who were sitting on a sofa in the parlor. The sun was setting, and the parlor lamps were dimmed. After offering a curt hello from behind Rosie, Gus noticed the Scotch Mr. Irving had set out on his liquor cabinet across the room. Gus walked to the cabinet and poured himself a glass. Continue reading “Illuminated”
What Do You Invest In?
Bud’s alarm clock rang at 5:00 A.M., the same time as his father’s. Bud’s father dressed and arrived in the kitchen at 5:05 and started coffee. Bud hit snooze and got to the kitchen a few minutes after his father. They left the house at 5:15. Bud sat in the backseat, while his father drove and listened to talk radio. Continue reading “What Do You Invest In?”