Wednesday, February 17, 2010

Dig the Jo Bingo Timeline

From: The Winter Olympian Nut
To: The Saintly/ Lucky Personage who reads my Blog (thanks)

A Collage I made on the Computer a while back - for my Dad (he's a Fish nut!)
Click to enlarge with any images, as always.

Okay, so I spent most of today figuring out how to embed audio on blogger - I somehow figured it out, and later in this entry there is an audio embedding that is the baby of two recently birthed accounts: one with FileDen, and one with MixPod.

So this entry is also a blast from the past. Several Blasts. It is a very rough timeline of my fiction writing skills - rough because there are major gaps of important stories to me that I wrote, that I still have to dig up. It is a TIMELINE because I've presented them to you in - in order o time. (It is 12:56 am and I'm forgetting that "ch-" word that means in time order from earliest to latest!)

The first one is SUPER embarrassing. But I'm seriously trying to make the growth of my psyche and persona accessible to anyone who's interested. To have a feel whether this is your type of blog, or even if you are interested in it even slightly, you've got to have an idea about who I am and my writing style. And what better way, than a short story time-line.

I have done no editing - thus there may be typos. And prepare yourself for childish writing and teenage angst :) Maybe you'll even spot my analytical approach to outward stimuli that I ALSO apply in my approach to feminism :D

IMPORTANT NOTICE: I may not have ever had the views expressed in my fiction (since it be fiction) - and in the cases that I did, I do not necessarily have them anymore, or at least not in the same way. It is a TIMELINE. Thus it hopefully runs from immaturity to close to maturity.

Oh, and by the way, I've squeezed in some things that I've produced that aren't short stories. ;)



by [Jo Bingo]

Chapter 1. Sammy and Sarro

Soldier Sammy and his friend, Soldier Sarro, were at war against the land of Brutoonu. They were on the side of the land Langoria. It was a hard war. Their only food and shelter was broken down shacks with sour, dirty tasting water and stale, rotten, bread. The shacks were hidden, so they weren't attacked. It was hard to believe; the war had started over perfume. The two queens had fought over who had the biggest collection of it. Then each king got angry at the other king thinking the argument must have been his fault, so the war started. The war had now lasted- what, how long? It had lasted about two years. It was supposed to be over by now.

Sammy and Sarro were tired, hungry, and not to mention sick. Soldier Sammy was white and had dirty brown messy hair, brown eyes, and an appropiate estimate would be eighty thousand freckles. Soldier Sarro was black with baby blue eyes, dirty black hair, and chubby fingers. Sammy always made fun of him for that. Now, both of them were very bony, except for Sarro's fingers. Sarro was known for his brains and fingers, and Sammy was known for being mischievious.

Chapter 2. Sarro's Idea

It all started the morning of December 29, 1867, when the cold weather really started coming in. In the morning, Sarro awoke to the freezing cold and the horrible sound, not music, of the bugle played by Hairy Harry Hudson (that's what his friends called him).

"That darn bugle!" cried Sarro, as he sat up only to hit his head on Sammy's top bunk. "Oh, holy-"

Sarro was interrupted. "Hey! watch where you hit my top bunk! I was sleeping!" said Sammy. "I was at home smelling beef frying till someone stabbed me in the back!"

"Well my head hurts!" cried Sarro. Their mornings were usually like this.

"Time for battle. Come on, sleepy heads! The Brutoonu's are attacking early!" barked Sargent Marteeny, "Up, up!"

If only we weren't in this dumb war!" cried Sammy. Sarro was listening to his head buzzing while Sammy was talking. "I mean, It's not worth it!"

"That's it!" Sarro had suddenly jumped out of bed.

"What does your oversized brain have to say this time?" Sammy teased.

"Sammy, you've got it!" cried Sarro.

"What?" asked Sammy.

"If only we weren't at this war!" Sarro said. "We could get away from this war. Run away," whispered Sarro.

"That's cowardness! We'd be shamed! Our friends would be stupified!" shouted Sammy.

Everyone had stopped getting ready and was staring at them now. "Talk... about... later." Sarro whispered as quietly as he could.

The war just got worse. Finally, Sammy gave in and agreed to running away. "To where?" he asked when everyone was finally asleep. "Where to?"

"Home." whispered Sarro.

"Home!" Sammy had almost let out a yell. "Home! Are you crazy??!!! Our homes are through Blizzard Land! We'd never make it alive! This is paradise compared to Blizzard Land!!!!!! I take back what I said about your brains."

"It might sound crazy," said Sarro, "but it will work."

Chapter 3. Running away

That night Sammy and Sarro packed up and were on their way to Blizzard Land. Sammy was still complaining, but Sarro took no notice. "Our food will be sucking snow." explained Sarro. Sammy looked as if his friend was mentally damaged but went on.

They had only gone a little way when Sammy complained more than ever. "I'm dead hungry!" he shouted. They were thinner than usual; even Sarro's fingers were starting to get thin. "Admit you are."

"Okay, okay! I'm cold. I'm hungry. I'm tired! I'll go make a fire! We'll find something to eat!!!!"

Sarro burst out like a balloon which had slowly been filled with air till the balloon couldn't hold it any longer. Sarro took his Bible that was in his pack, threw it on the ground, and bent down to make a fire. "Go find us something to eat!" he barked.

Sammy looked worried. "But-the-Bible-"

"Go!!" Sarro shouted as sparks began to fly. "GO!!!!!!!" It was cold weather. Sammy was looking up at the sky to see that it looked as if it was going to snow down hard soon; not good for Sarro's fire, Sammy thought. His eyes scanned his surroundings. White, white, white, and guess-what... white!!!!! Snow everywhere! How was he ever going to find food? Sammy sat down and rummaged through his pack. His Bible, one thin extra pair of clothes, two slices of bread, and two bottles of water???!!!! Sammy couldn't beleive his luck. He went running to Sarro who wasn't very far away and cried out with joy: "FOOD!!!" So Sammy and Sarro had their feast. One to remember too. That rotten, stale bread had never tasted so good in Sarro and Sammy's mouths, and that sour water, at least it tasted better than snow. That night to celebrate, instead of trudging to Blizzard Land by night, they slept.

Chapter 4. "Kidnapped"

It was such a nice, deep sleep that night. Later Sarro admitted to Sammy privately that that was the best night of sleep he had ever had in his life and ever would. That morning they were woken up quite early by the sound of a piccolo!!!!!!! The battle must have changed its place to Blizzard Land! Sarro jumped up and cried, "I've got another idea!"

"Uh-oh." Sammy murmured. Following Sarro's instructions, they both hid behind a rock and changed into their battle uniforms. Then, quietly, but swiftly, they slid into line to march off to get the Brutoonus. Later, they were asked why they hadn't arrived on time, and Sarro immediately said, "We were kidnapped, Sir." That's how the story of Sammy and Sarro's disappearance was known... until now.


My Attempt at Cooking the Simplest Julia Child Omelette. It tasted great, though. and now I'm hungry.


This is from my homeschooling year. It is based off a real-life experience - I really did get kicked out of a car very close to home, and at an age when I really should have considered looking at the signs of the streets, I walked looking at the ground and the sky like an idiot and walked too far. But I am not Melonie, and my mother is NOT Mrs. Hatterswitch.

[Jo Bingo]

August 18, 2006

Assignment H1

“I expect an apology quick, or else no allowance for a month,” Mrs. Hatterswitch’s eyes had never been so round, her neck so stiff or her nostrils so large. She watched the face of her eleveen year-old dughter, Melonie, through the rear-view mirror. Its as if I’d asked her to kill the cat, she thought, steaming, as Melonie’s jaw stuck out and teeth glued themselves together.

“Talk!” hissed Mrs. Hatterswitch, her long giraffe earrings hitting the sides of her face the car hit a particularly bumpy bit of pavement. The girl had her arms folded and had her eyes fixed on a particularly yellow bird dropping splattered all over the window.

My girls will learn respect, thought Mrs. Hatterswitch, as she parked on the side of the road in the middle of nowhere. “I don’t need to serve you hand and foot if you won’t even speak to me or acknowledge me,” she spat, “and I certainly don’t need to drive a baby home when you’ve got your own two legs! Get out of the car! We’re on Blacksmith’s Street. In about a mile and half you’ll have reached Tarwood Terrace, and you’re home! And you better have something decent to say once you get there!” As Melonie stepped out of the car, she slammed the door shut.

“None of that!” said Mrs. Hatterswitch, “Two months without allowance!”

Melonie found her voice. “But Mom, how will I know when a mile and a half is over?”

“Are you stupid as well as rude? Keep your eyes peeled. Its just a straight line! Surely you can walk in a straight line? Everybody learns by doing. You’re not dumb, figure it out!” Before Melonie could complain about how it was cold out, the car had driven away. She imagined her mother cackling as the car dissapeared about a mile and a half away.

Melonie stared at her feet. At least she was wearing sneakers. It was a shame about the money though. She began to walk while staring at the pavement. I don’t know how long a mile is, she thought. Couple thousand feet, or something. That’s a pretty big hike.

After a half hour Melonie started to amuse herself by wondering how many dogs peed on that fire hydren or how many ladybugs were concealed in that oak. She continued the day dream adventures of the fairy named Rose in her head and imagined that her favorite author, Frank Baum, was walking beside her. She wondered what was going to happen in the next Harry Potter book. She recalled she hadn’t recieved a test back in her Science class. She concoted all the things she wished she could say to the boys who teased her in the Social Studies class.

“I don’t see you reading your textbook. My hair might be dirty today but their is always that pimple on your nose, Eddy. If you really take three showers a day, Bruce, how come you don’t mind wearing that same pair of stained pants every day? Of course I get my shoes at Payless, Chuck, but how did you know? Do you by girl’s shoes? Yes, Paul, I don’t wear make up or do my nails, do you? And if you guys are all so smart, when is Frank Baum’s birthday? Where was he born? What was his favorite color? Have you even read the Wizard of Oz?”

After what seemed like a great while Melonie began to believe that if she stepped on a crack, or touched the leaves of a certain tree, something bad would happen. One house that looked kind of like a log cabin she imagined housed a lunatic old man who would shoot any little girls who touched his lawn. Cars wizzed by but she had encountered nobody as she walked down the street. She saw smoke making a line in the sky - was that an atomic bomb on its way down to wipe out America? She had read an article about Kim Jung Ill in Social Studies and it said he was evil and wanted to bomb America and probably could. She had been pissed off because she had only recived a check for her summary of that article and that other girl, Prunella Torpid, had got a check plus for writing some stupid poem about how time was going by fast and buildings were being destroyed, or something. Prunella always got the spotlight, she had just got the mian part in the play today and Melonie had been made an extra.

Suddenly Melonie stopped fuming about Prunella and looked around her. She had reached a big intersection and there was a huge line of cars waiting to turn left or right. Melonie saw red (thankfully, it was just the street light, but still, she was in trouble). She had walked just like her mother had told her to and where was she? At the end of her striaght line. She couldn’t walk striaght anymore. For a few minutes, she stood dumb, wondering what to do next. Then she sat down in the side walk and looked at her socks. They were dirty and the dog had played with one. On her left, there was a high metal fence. Two empty bird cages were on the lawn, and she wondered where the birds were now, how they were feeling, what kind of bird they were. The people in the cars never looked at her. They just sat there, chewing gum or turning up the radio or reading a magazine. For a moment Melonie thought she had found her salvation when a jogging women come up on the sidewalk. But it was no use. This lady had muscular arms and long fingernails and might be a lunatic. Melonie began to wonder how life would be like as a bum. No one would ever find her, she had no idea where she was. She was getting pretty bored though. She decided to cross the street and see what was behind the bushes on the other side.

It was a schoolyard playground. It was pretty cheap, no swings, tetherballs or gaga courts like at her school, just a bunch of tires tied together so they looked lke a black igloo with a lot of holes in it. However, it was a place where a child was neither at home nor lost. Melonie decided to play in it. She found various candy wrappers that had been left in it. The sky began to get darker, and Melonie resolved that this would be where she would sleep. It was kind of like shelter. And at least no jogging maniacs would be able to see her.

It was horrible. The tires hurt her back. How did hobos do this? It suddenly struck Melonie that she hadn’t thought much about her behavior towards her motherr during the walk. She recalled the car driving away, her being left alone. It was as hard to remember the exact details as it was for when she was three and got lost in a museum. Do I never think properly? she thought. I’m not so stupid or proud or rude that I can’t ask for directions.

She returned to the sidewalk. For the people in the long line of cars, she must have been a strange sight indeed, for she was peering intensely into each window and sizing up every driver. Her nose was extremely long and pointy, which made passerby think of wicked witches, dodging a blow if she turned her head. It also made her look particularly snobbish. The necklace completely lined in little stone black cats didn’t help matters.

She decided her best chance was with asking somebody in a house. This way they would also have a phone so she could call home. She felt very foolish for not having thought of this before. The first house was tall and thin and green, and a long way in from the sidewalk. It had two metal collomns on either side of the pink door. There was a big package at the top of the steps and there was bluish tinge of light in one of the windows, as if someone were watching TV. The people in that house were probably busy with something.

Melonie looked down at her hands. The skin was all spotted, cold, and moist. The second house was brick and had potted lilies and sunflowers on the steps. She took a step forward and felt her stomach turn inside out. What if some ugly man with a unibrow and potbelly slammed the door in her face? But the curtains were white and lacy. Surely a woman lived inside it? Melonie dropped her feet as she walked, biting her chapped lip and picking at the scab on her pinkie. She rang the doorbell.

Thank Heavens, an old woman wearing a blessed apron answered the door. What were the chances? “Hello, and who might you be?” she said. Her eyes were darting all over Melonie, obviously looking for a uniform or a badge, but at least she was still smiling. There was not the reassuring waft of baked cookies which Melonie had hoped for.

“I’m...” what would she say? This was a stranger. She was invading the woman’s privacy, she was invading the woman’s house, she couldn’t expect to be rescued by a woman who hadn’t known she excisted only a few seconds ago. “I’m not a brownie.” She said. She had meant she wasn’t some girl-scout-in-training come to sell something, but it came out wrong. The womans eyes widened as she let out a laugh that made a cracking noise likesomeone stepping on an empty chip bag. Melonie noticed this old woman was extremely skinny with a huge forhead. Melonie’s tongue was dry and all the saliva in the world couldn’t make her mouth properly wet again. She swallowed.

“I’m Melonie Hatterswitch.” she said. The woman was losing her smile, and probably losing her patience too, added Melonie. Great, now that she knows your name, get on with it! “I’m Melonie Hatterswitch, and I’m lost.:” she said.

“Oh.” said the woman, “well, I’m Mrs. Gidgedent, and please come inside. Where do you live? What’s your phone number?” Mrs. Gidgedent lead Melonie right into a room filled with squashy couches and gold fillagree and handed her a purple phone.

Later, in the drive home, which Mrs. Gidgedent most obligingly supplied, she couldn’t stop talking, and never seemed to be looking at the road. “14 Tarwood Terrace, you say! Goodness, that’s got to be two whole, whopping miles! Your poor feet! Are they sore, dear, do they hurt? I advise you to put them straight away in a bucket of nice, hot water when you get home!”

At home things were a mess. There must have been five police on the front lawn, and although they didn’t have those fancy hats, they had the badges and even a flashlight or two. “Your mother’s been screaming on the front lawn,” said Mrs. Gidgedent, smiling.

Mrs. Hatterswitch had lost one of her giraffe earrings and her red hair had tumbled down out of the bun it had been in. “Honey!” she said, when she saw Melonie, “I thought you were murdered.” Later, when the police and Mrs. Gidgedent had left, and Melonie mentioned the bit of advice the old lady had given about her tired feet, Mrs. Hatterswitch said, “Nonsense! You weren’t out that long, two miles is nothing. Besides, you were wearing sneakers. And don’t you think I’ve forgotten about that apology you owe me.”


Oopsie - this isn't mine. I just AM a Manatee. Inside.


[Jo Bingo]

American Literature

Theme: Fear, Religion


Basic Statistics

Name: Joan

Age: 14

Nationality: German

Socioeconimic Level as a child: Lives in apartment with single-parent struggling mom

Hometown: South Orange

Talents/Skills: Math, balancing on head, double jointed arm, poker and any card games

Siblings: none

Children: none

Grandparents: only grandpa, did not go to the grandma’s funeral

Significant Others: none

Relationship skills: none

Physical Characteristics

Height: moderately tall – 5’ 3”

Weight: too thin, 113 lb.

Race: Caucasian

Eye Color: Brown

Hair Color: Blonde

Glasses or contact lenses? None

Skin color: white

Shape of face: round oval round

Distinguishing features: delicate, scar at right edge of mouth when fell and cut from a piece of glass as a child when trying to play basketball for the first time

How does he/she dress: jeans always, and long-sleeved shirt with no graphics, mostly (she hates graphics); rather fastidious about her hair (French braids, ext…), hates hats and especially bandannas

Mannerism: unmoving and unmoved countenance, likes picking at her elbows, hates when people cross at their upper legs (because it is over the years unhealthy) and always makes sure to cross her legs, if at all, at her ankles.

Habits: killing a bug instinctively whenever she spots one, cracking her knuckles, neck, ankles, wrist (these last two by rolling them), and back routinely, sniffing her food carefully and critically before she eats it, drinking coffee when its cold, and as black as possible (relishes in its bitterness)

Health: she’s probably got a handful of nutrient deficiencies because she is particular about what she eats – a careless and squeamish vegetarian, always seems to have a headache or anticipates getting one

Hobbies: learning every new card game, collecting card decks, still plays jump rope as a competitive record maker, loathes TV and computer, not because she likes to read (on the contrary, she dislikes reading for the same reason) because it gives her a headache

Favorite Sayings: whatever, and mmm (this used when to lazy to supply an articulate response)

Speech patterns: tends to slurr her speech out of sheer inattention or haste to finish sentence and be done speaking, not very loquacious

Disabilities: None

Style: None – even her walk is ackward and sporadic, her only pride is her various hairdos, which are unimaginative and a choice of five typical combinations, just variations on braid or some similar thing

Greatest flaw: Insensitivity, Reclusive

Best quality: Interestingly enough, she is good at listening to what others have to say, and others feel as if she is sympathetic, despite the stony face

Intellectual/Mental/Personality Attributes and Attitudes: Not into analysis, only uses her math skills in school (to give her credit she never brags about it either, it sort of doesn’t exist outside of school). Very passive in the way that she would have made an admirable ant or gerbil, likes to be outside, either jump rope or just sitting there.

Educational Background: End of eigth grade, two years ahead in math, biology interests her but rocks and volcanoes do not

Intelligence Level: Moderately high, but she is also moderately unotivated

Learning Experiences: Once when she was little, the old and much-respected organist at their non-denominational church had caught her with a deck of cards smack in the middle of the sermon, and had scolded her afterward about how, if she did not accept Jesus into her heart she would go to hell. He had no friendly mustache and was bald and sweaty all the time and she was very scared; but then the next day she was told he had died, and she took this as a sign that accepting Jesus into your heart meant being lke him and dying like him and she quiety renounced her “faith” then and there, became not an atheist, but one indifferent to religion in general – whatever was, was, and why should she have to “accept” it or incessantly tell others to do so? Her mother soon found out about her attitude, and now always goes on rants about how her one and only child is “without Christ”

Character’s short-term goals in life: None

Character’s long-term goals in life: Move away from mother, perhaps get a porcupine for a pet in college?

How does character see himself/herself?: Mostly thinks herself moderately content, however since she dislikes analysis she likewise dislikes analyzing herself even more

How does character believe he/she is perceived by others?: She prefers not to think she is perceived with too much interest, except when playing cards, and then she has enough arrogance to hope she is assessed as a skilled player

How self-confidant is the character?: Only in math and cards and hair, nothing else

Does the character seem relied by emotion/logic/both: logic, if, unbeknownst to her, it is emotionally based, like the inident with the old organist – but stll, she is relatively nemotional ad sometimes painfully logical with others

What would most embarrass this character: Getting wet or sweating profusely in front of other people, crying n front of other people, stomach growling in front of other people, dropping all of her cards in front of other people

Emotional characteristics: Anger is a rarity and when aroused she keeps it inside and maintains monotonous face, takes it out in passive ways such as ripping up pieces of paper in the privacy of her own room

Strengths (never panics, low-key when encounters stress)/weaknesses (gym, affecting an emotion (such as the religious reverence her mother wishes to excite in her))

Introvert or extrovert? Introvert

How does character deal with anger? See emotional characteristics

With sadness? Makes a logical decision to avoid whatever made her sad – going to the non-denominational church, for instance, makes her sad. She also shuffles her card deck over and over again to prevent from allowing herself to thin too much about whatever makes her sad.

With conflict? Responds to people in monosyllables, looks away, only slight movement of eyebrows in very slight scowl when feelings terribly hurt, NEVER rolls eyes, because, although she is genuinely a sarcastic person, she is not actively rude, only passively so – (i.e., her apologies are always indifferent)

With change? Indifference, as long as she can maintain her few extremely adjustable and portable reclusive habits

With loss? Her father was dead before she was born, and, according to her mom, he was an atheist and went to hell – therefore Joan esteems him because he, too, rebelled against the tyranny of organized religion or hurtful religious thought; however, it doesn’t bother her in the slightest that he is dead because his death and her conception almost coincided, and thus (and this is her most religious thought) she is a sort of continuation of him, and they made a sort of agreement to arrange it that way. Anyway, two non-Christians in the house would have killed her mother. The loss of her grandmother occurs in the opening of the story, the mother of her mother, a perfect older version of her mother, who hadn’t ever visited and she had never met before, and would never even see in the coffin. She only hears of the happening from her mother, who can’t afford to go to a funeral in California or take time off her job.

What does the character want out of life: Contentment, silence, cosy passive comfort, like taking a nap out of the sofa. No thirst for adventure

What would the character like to change in his/her life

What motivates this character: Nothing besides irratation and annoyance

What frightens this character: Bugs

What makes this character happy: Playing cards, sleeping, a foggy or rainy day

Is this character judgemental of others? NO, except those like her mother, in taking the Christian religion to a fanatical and obsessive new level

Is this character generous or stingy: generous because indifferent

Is the character generally polite or rude: polite in a yes’m no’m way

Spiritual characteristics

Does the character believe in God?

What are the character’s spiritual beliefs?

Is religion or spirituality a part of this character’s life

If so, what role does it play?

Pretty much already discussed – religion has negative connotations for her

How the character is involved in the story: protagonist

Character’s role in the novel: main

Scene where character first appears: first scene

Relationships with other characters

How character is different at the end of the story from when the story began:by end wants to play piano, better understands herself oriented w/Death and religion, whereas before she avoided it


Basic Statistics

Name: Betty

Age: 49

Nationality: German

Socioeconimic Level as a child: well off

Socioeconoomic Level as an adult: not so well off since death of husband

Hometown: Chattam

Current Residence: South Orange

Occupation: Before badtimes – nothing, now – day care and teaching kindergarden


Talents/Skills: Beautiful calligraphy, plays viola moderately well, is no cook but is good at cracking nuts and throwing them up in the air so they land in her mouth


Birth Order

Siblings: One other, Shirley, 54

Spouse: Dead at 39 when Betty was 35, George (died of food poisoning)

Children: Joan

Grandparents: Dead and Forgotten

Grandchildren: None

Significant Others: Now, none

Relationship skills: minimal

Physical Characteristics

Height: 5’3”

Weight: 130

Race: German

Eye Color: Brown

Hair Color: Blonde

Glasses or contact lenses? glasses

Skin color: whitey white white

Shape of face: long vertically but still oval-roundish

Distinguishing features: Big birthmark on right palm about the size of an eyeball

How does he/she dress: nicely – all oldb/c can’t afford to by spanky new stuff, but of good taste and not overtly fashionable or formal

Mannerism: when “looks into space,” likes to slowly tickle her neck, or just scratch it; also she drives her car with one had over and the other, under, underhand (one palm down, the lower palm up), sucks hard on teeth after eating food

Habits: cleans out nails, leaves viola out, chews and talks with mouth open

Health: excellent – goes running three times a day and lifts weights

Hobbies: collecting calligraphy pens and whatnot, old-looking yellowed pieces of writing paper, practicing viola and playing it for church, converting people, volunteering for youth-group

Favorite Sayings: what they don’t know won’t hut ‘em, “I feel like…” before everything she says, lickety-split

Speech patterns: train of consciosness, moderately fast

Disabilities: none physically; emotionally, well… she has no therapist, yet

Style: Plenty, why not; very into colors, usually remarks on whether colors please or repulse her

Greatest flaw: tendencies to look for something twisted or harassingly complex when there is no such thing, tendency to inadvertently “make up” memories of someone or other saying something or other when it was nosuch thing

Best quality: good with little kids, writes decent poetry when she’s up to it and when she doesn’t immediately trash it for shame it will mar her reputation as a decent poet

Intellectual/Mental/Personality Attributes and Attitudes

Educational Background: full highschool, two years in college for environmental studies for social change, drop out

Intelligence Level: average

Learning Experiences: don’t run on the pavement, because you’ll fall in a slide with multiple deep bleeding scratches – this learned when she was little, now one of her pet peeves

Character’s short-term goals in life: become a missionary with her daughter

Character’s long-term goals in life: become a missionary with her daughter

How does character see himself/herself? She is not pretty, but she believes that others are excessively charmed by her talents; is way over confidant and arrogant about her viola abilities (although she has’t had private lessons since she was 25, and now only attends a sort of amateur adult seminar every 6 months). She decidedly does not view herself as past her prime

How does character believe he/she is perceived by others? Believes that others, overwhelmed by her confidant and solid character, allow themselves to be directed in their lives by her, and easily. She also thinks all believe that she is a true and one of the best examples of a Christian

How self-confidant is the character? Very… supposedly (inward, of course, is a more complicated matter)

Does the character seem to work by emotion/logic/both: emotion

What would most embarrass this character: someone seeing her after having fallen on the pavement with marred knees, someone finding and reading a poem by her that they didn’t think was good, seeing someone scratching underneathe their shirt

Emotional characteristics

Strengths (good at motivating people to exercise or create, good with children)/ weaknesses (not so good at converting)

Introvert or extrovert? Extrovert

How does character deal with anger? Clenching fists and tensing up, major stomach cramps

With sadness? Clenching fists and tensing up, major stomach crapms (essentially, in anger), lots of “Jesus have mercy on her soul”

With conflict? Picking at hands, taking charge of the situation overmuch, not supplying enough give

With change? Pretending t doesn’t exist, complaining

With loss? Complaining

What does the character want out of life? Reverance on both sides between herself and God

What would the character like to change in his/her life: wants more control over people, wants to publish a book of poetry

What motivates this character: the smell of bacon frying, the smell of soap, the humm of the air conditioner

What frightens this character: large dogs, double-jointed people, the dark, cramped places (she’s claustrophobic)

What makes this character happy: sleeping underneath many layers of blankets, eating sour cream and union chips, taking a long walk on a rainy day

Is this character judgemental of others? Yes but not necessarily in a malicious way – though it may always be condescending if the person is known or suspected to be non-Christian

Is this character generous or stingy: Stingy with money for necessity’s sake, generous with giving other people her time, stingy with other’s opinions, generous with her own

Is the character generally polite or rude: generally polite in a condescending way or a overly acted out carefree way

Spiritual characteristics

Does the character believe in God? yes

What are the character’s spiritual beliefs? evangelical

Is religion or spirituality a part of this character’s life? very much so

If so, what role does it play? She uses it as a tool to interpret and interact with everything and everyone

How the character is involved in the story

Character’s role in the novel: she limits the intellectual development of both herself and her child, but in the end helps it push forward

Scene where character first appears: church concert full of volunteer musicians she drags her daughter to

Relationships with other characters: not so stable, not so bad, pretty bitter though

How character is different at the end of the story from when the story began: zilch


Found a small cello-player way up in the architecture of the Palace of Versailles. I had to zoom my poor old digital camera to the utmost, but I got a decent image.




American Literature, Slot D

The Organist, the Pianist, and the Breeze

A Short Story

By [Jo Bingo]

Joan was shuffling a pack of cards, each with a design of a porcupine on it. It was summer and she had no plans. A surprisingly cold breeze wound itself around her, and she pinched her elbows in perplexed fidgety irritation. She was looking at her jump rope, right where she’d dropped it yesterday, right in the middle of their small yard. It was a yellow frayed rope with wooden purple handles and was heavy enough to smack her really hard if she accidentally let the rope swing too low, and into her face. Joan had a scar that extended from the right edge of her mouth that sloped downwards – this from when she was seven and had tried playing basketball for the first time, and fell right on a piece of glass. She looked at the jump rope, but she didn’t get up. She just kept shuffling the cards, secure that the alien wind from a different season would not carry away her thin blonde hair, for she had braided it with the aid of two mirrors and then swirled it up into a bun. After a few minutes she cracked every knuckle and rolled her head around to loosen up the muscles. The jump rope sat.


“A concert,” her mother said. “No rock or jazz though – maybe some oldies will sneak in, but for my part I’m rather reconciled to classical. Besides, it’s about time you heard what comes out of a person inspired by the Lord. And it wouldn’t hurt,” she added, cross-legged at the foot of the couch with a bowl of walnuts and cashews, as she threw a nut she had just expertly cracked into the air and snapped her mouth shut upon the thing as it reached its inevitable end, “if you brought a Bible, because we’ll probably have a talk afterwards about the Creator and the blatant reality of Adam and Eve. I suggest you bend the book about and crack the binding, maybe insert a green or pink post-it or two, to add to the pious effect.”

“Mmm” said Joan, picking at the inside compartments of the empty half of a walnut shell, trying to remember where nuts came from. Than she wondered, did they smell like anything?She always identified with walnuts in a strange way. Their dryness was reminiscent of dusty windowsills.

“You will be younger than most… why, Garbenson is only sixteen, and that’s only two years older than you – only that much.” Her mother, Betty was her name, was cleaning out her nails now with her other hand’s dirty set, and then sniffing the tips of her fingers to see if she had really gotten the dirt out. Joan didn’t quite understand this. If her mother spent all day changing the diapers of toddlers in daycare, why would she think that the dirt on her nails smelled any different than the dirt on her hands?

“Ahh, Mrs. Reuter. We look forward to your singing viola on this evening of evenings.” At the church, Mrs. Vennigan’s fat, flat, dimpled physique, looking almost as if it were stuffed with cotton balls instead of fat and blood and organs, perfectly exemplified the natural state of Share the Sunshine Church in all its middle-aged glory. Mrs. Vennigan was turning fifty today, a trifling detail the young chickens like Mrs. Reuter at forty nine were constantly forgetting.

“Ah yes,” came softly from Betty, and sounded as if her mouth was full of cotton, and then – “Oh, yes! And you make sure and look out for one of my calligraphy cards! Vennigan, born again, what a hen! Now five times ten,” she reeled off.

“Oh, yes, you and your poetic powers! Now, can I capture this young Mrs. Reuter while you run backstage?” Mrs. Vennigan said, daintily patting the shoulder of Joan as if she, Mrs. Vennigan, were anticipating becoming a feeble old woman already.

Sitting next to each other in the pews, Joan kept having to tilt her head out of the way whenever Mrs. Vennigan looked to the left because the point of her neo-green bandanna pointed straight backwards out of her head at a right angle and kept getting in Joan’s face. They were in the front row near the “lights” and Joan hoped she wouldn’t start to sweat and thus cause Mrs. Vennigan or anyone else to ask if she were perfectly comfortable. She rolled her ankles around and heard the cracks – cracks that sounded exactly that way when she was in her room alone. Looking under the pew almost shielded all others from her vision and she pretended she was in her room looking under her bed. Suddenly, a fleshy white ankle in sparkling red shoes kicked her stronghold of solitude into oblivion.

“Dearie? I just wanted to say,” bob of the neon green spike from behind – so pointy! Why did not the very air around it retract? Joan cringed at the yellowed teeth and wide, open green eyes, with the surrounding white rings. “Yes, maybe it’s better I didn’t, but oh well. Well. Now that I started – I heard. About your grandmother passing on to Jesus. I just want you to know you’re in my prayers.”

Why should I know that? Bitterly thought Joan, but then she recognized the answer was obvious (if unkind) and the question obnoxious (if understandable). “We just learned this morning.” Pause. Eyes blinking. Was the woman listening? “You know, she never visited, and we can’t go to the funeral. It’s in California and – “ Joan wasn’t afraid to say and my mom can’t even afford a visit to the neighborhood pub, except she didn’t want this woman to continue blinking at her. “-and she never visited, so -” Joan began to sweat.

The audience lights dimmed, shadows began to collect on the stage, and Vennigan and Joan were silenced. Joan took advantage of this by edging away from the bandanna’s harsh determination to point so rigidly. On the stage was her mother and the viola.

Her mother was decent on the viola, okay. The slow movements of her fingers at that angle made it look to Joan as if a caterpillar was slowly inching up the fingerboard, but sometimes getting nowhere. Her mother had dropped out of her college major, Environmental Studies for Social Change after two years. Betty was always trying to convert Joan. But Joan refused to acknowledge religion, and that is why Joan did not like this building, this wooden pew, with the farted-on cushions and pamphlets asking for money. Strangely enough, it was not her mother’s doing (for who can’t easily construct the personality of a passive nature? Just as a cat can inherit the tastes of its owner whilst in the house, it might gobble up – who knows, centipedes in the dark of the night, in the woods, - and Joan liked it outside, despite the cold breeze), but the fault of the old organist. He was Mr. Kirkpatrick, with his name containing an unbearable amount of unforgiving consonants that pinch the unawake mind of the serious five-year old.Joan had once been shuffling cards in church, thinking whether her father had liked walnuts, and Mr. Kirkpatrick had caught her, and had given her the present of wrinkles, worry wrinkles:Daughter of Satan, he had said, Or you soon will be, cards-in church- you know how Jesus reacted when he saw that?? He overturned tables! Yelled and scattered the peoples! You had better accept Jesus in your heart or he will overturn you! He was bald and sweaty and had no friendly mustache but a bald face. – her thoughts were interrupted as Betty played a four string loud smashing chord – and he had died the next day. And Joan had been tempted to slip her cards into his coffin, but instead she allowed her baby faith to slip in there (whether it would be represented materially by a pure white cloth or a snake she did not open her eyes to see), and watched it get buried on a beautiful foggy morning. And now she was no longer acquainted with religion, neither atheist nor nothing, for that entity did not play an interactive friendly part in her life.

They were all clapping and her mother had walked off, to all standing ovations. Now there was a thirty-some year old man crying as he dragged his feet onto the stage. He sat at the piano, and for a long time he just sniffled. Mrs. Vennigan was about to get up to help, or yell, but then he began to play. Joan had, for a minor moment, thought that what he was about to play was going to be inspiring and ingenious, that his hair might turn into a halo, that his feet might become bare, and that he would fly over and strike her on the cheek. But he was more mediocre than her mother. And his hair only became the limper (it was long, beginning to grey already). With every press of the key, he seemed to be disappearing.

Mrs. Vennigan put her weight on her right butt check and allowed her right elbow to sink into Joan’s unyielding overly skinny left arm. “I don’t suggest you take after him, girl – why, he’s Muslim, I think. And anyway he plays terribly, and look at the snot running down his nose!”Joan tried not to breathe in Mrs. Vennigan’s old cheese breath. Old Feeble Lady breath already.

Afterwards, at the reception, she asked her mother about him. “Oh, well he left like lickety-split. But,” this whispered with a nervous scratch at the nape of the neck, “what a baby, blubbering like that. I heard from Helmut that he had fallen on concrete and scratched his knees, which would have mortified me, but I don’t believe it. I feel like it’s because his mother made him perform his old high school supposed talent and he didn’t like being exposed for what he really was...” louder, to the church group: “today I feel like we should read a psalm after all this music, you agree, my Vennigan, what do you say, pretty wren, then? Shall we read and then say amen?


That night, Joan slipped out of bed, checking to see if the area under her bed really did look sort of like under a pew, but, thank the Lord, it did not, and she cracked her ankles safely. Than she slithered her way outside, and found her jump rope – she still had to beat her record of two hundred and three in a row, which she definitively could, but had been prevented by all the math competitions she had been invited to lately, because she was good at that, at least.However, she was crying before she got to Mrs. Vennigan’s fifty. Through Helmut, Joan had found out that the blubberer was the son of the departed organist who had killed her soul. Joan suddenly was inspired to search though her pocket, and for once burrowed past the much-fingered playing Porcupine cards, her much cherished dream to move away from her mother, the loathful handkerchief, the church – and found her father’s portrait. She never looked at it; she had only this morning put it in her pocket when she heard the news, the thing about the grandmother who never visited. Her father. He was an atheist and had died around the time of her conception in the interest of her mother, so she wouldn’t have to deal with two non-Christians in the house. She never mourned him because she knew that he had died specifically so she would be a whole-hearted continuation of him, so that she could be his soul entirely. She would mourn her mother, though. Maybe she would - yes she would like to learn to play the piano in a black dress, with her downward curved scar at the edge of her mouth whispering a secret.

A cold breeze came and whisked away the old photograph. In an old rented apartment four and a half miles away, a woman with a stern mouth and a bald face prayed by her bed as if kneeling at a pew, a television was playing loud and unwatched, and a thirty year old scruff of a man tore pieces of paper slowly and put them in the wastebasket, just as a fourteen year old girl he had never met used to do when her mother presented her with that non-rosary, non-necklace, the cross to bear.

Explicit, Deo Gratias

[I had learnt that this [phrase was often written at the end of books by Medieval Monks and other writers - it means "Finished, Thank God!" in Latin (excamation point mine).]

The images are NOT in chronological order. (Hey! I came up with the "ch-" word that indicates time order from earliest to latest! Yay!)
This was my idea, and I drew this all on my own. You can tell, can't you? I love mermaids.
Can't find the complete text, but this is an excerpt from a short story (for school, yet again) entitled "Parakeet Named Funny After Sunny." My teacher did not like it. I hope to find the story about my turtle Isaiah being dead, when he really wasn't (and in fact still isn't). It came out nice. Nicer than this. But this is a good - albeit small and insufficient - portrait of my various pet experiences.

No matter how much I begged or wailed, the decision was made to wrap up Funny in toilet paper and shove him in the freezer. I thought this was wicked – that we merely looked like decent citizens on the outside but were a pile of hidden mummies on the inside. My opinion was generally ignored on the subject of ridding ourselves of the carcasses of pets because my opinion was generally unreasonable – I always insisted a pet should be buried, even if it was a fish. Both the fish and my protestations always ended up down the toilet. This time, it was my parakeet Funny, named after my elder sister’s parakeet Sunny (which looked exactly the same). I’d barely owned Funny for one moon, and now the cause of his death was preventing his burial – the winter frost.

My parents are extremely practical on the subject of death – perhaps because my mother is a doctor and my father a banker. Or maybe it is just because they understand and accept that when something grows old or gets sick and dies it is not their fault, and that the corpse is of no use to anybody anymore, least of all the deceased. Whatever inner phsycological reason allowed them to place the dead bird next to the frozen chicken, pizza, and Chinese dinners, my parents’ practical reason was obvious: the ground was too cold and icy to allow the shovel in.

Our house has held many birds in the past and present. Presently, we own three (Sunny is still alive, miraculously enough, and we have bought only last year two conures which we have named Nippy and Budapest). Our birds have died in worse ways then Sunny – who died merely of the cold (he was too close to y window). One bird died by swinging downward on his perch and falling upside down.
Our house has not only held birds. We have also owned tiny sea turtles, a box turtle, tropical fish, freshwater fish (which we catch ourselves), a hamster, numerous gerbils, newts, what seemed like a million breeding guinea pigs, and a dog. We have never owned a rabbit but I once pet-sitted one and what a disaster that was.

I am a shortsighted earthworm or mole or bat. I also own a fishtank at the foot of y bed full of guppies and pladdies of orange and red and yellow. The result of the combination of the two is that when I am sleepy I amm staring into a bright, rectangle blob fullof swirls of color.

Parakeet named Funny after Sunny. Dead. Gets wrapped up and put in refridgerator. Triangular rock marks grave. Near Window.

Before I start, you need to know this is a story about my bird. I needed to tell you this because I’ll probably ramble a lot before I ever even start talking about birds, let alone my own. His cage was on the top of my bureau, and that’s what my mom says killed him. Now I have a clay pig on top of that bureau – and two turtle figurines with bobbing heads, and an American flag, and a thumb piano, and about five small pottery pots – bowls. Now the only living things in my room are a tiny sea turtle named Isiaiah, which almost died, and a fish tank of about five thousand cagillion tropical fish – only about five percent of the original number. The turtle ALMOST died for about a year. Instead the properly filtered tank, Isaiah lived in a bucket that used to hold detergent. This blocked out all sunlight, which is bad, and I remembered to feed him about once every two months, which is very bad, and I cleaned his bucket about twice total, which is probably so very very bad that I should have been put in jail by the animal patrol for turtle abuse. Isaiah also frequently found himself sitting in a dry bucket, because the water was constantly evaporating. And I probably don’t need to describe to you the amount of his filth which constantly surrounded him. His shell grew soft and his eye all white and filmy due to unfit conditions. Two years ago, I was assigned to write a narrative essay, and I wrote about the Death of Isaiah, how I hobbled down the stairs with a sloshing bucket full of dead turtle and how I had wished that I’d mended my ways and how unfair I had made the world to him to the very end.

But he didn’t die, I was lying the whole time, and my teachers were so convinced that he was gone from this world that I didn’t have the heart to correct them. He is now happily swimming in a large fish tank with food and cleanliness aplenty and daily. But I’ll tell you something you don’t know. I originally had two turtles - Dibujar and Isaiah – Dibujar was the smaller and the weaker, and died pretty quickly, I think we ended up flushing him down the toilet. Mentioning the toilet has reminded me about fish. I’ve grown up around fish; my dad is a fish maniac. We’ve always collected freshwater fish – darters and long nose daise and black nose daise and sunfish, with the occasional crayfish and eel – and we’ve always bought tropical fish – catfish and guppies. The only fish my dad has never been crazy about is the goldfish, mostly I think because goldfish are ugly and stupid and boring.

Since I have always grown up around fish, I could tell you a thousand anecdotes about falling into lakes and stuff. But I’ll just tell you two things. The first thing will sound unrelated at first. And that’s that I’ve always wanted a dog (and didn’t get one until I was in the sixth grade or something, it felt like forever). So, as this little toddler with nothing but fish when I wanted I dog, I would often attempt to pet my fish – just stoking their fins in the water. You probably think I’m in insane, and I’d say you are right. The second thing is my fish tank’s version of the Black Plague. The heater that regulated its tempurature malfunctioned and killed off all of the million bagillion fish in it.

This, believe it or not, was meant to be a belated Mother's Day present. If you read it though, it has nothing to do with that subject. At all. It is an incomplete short story that I really should go back to finishing it. The plot? The girl was going to be visited by a demon.

Once upon a time there was a girl with one nostril that was larger than the other. But she was not ugly – nor did she apparently suffer from low self-esteem. Bodies around her rejoiced in her unevenness, felt the scale falling backward upon which they sat (she was the fulcrum of this see-saw). They liked to struggle for balance around her, knew that her stability was an organism all its own, spitting and breathing and shifting.

She was not supercilious or overly clean. She did not make sure every pencil was parallel or shiver when a knife, left on the counter on the other side of the kitchen, pointed in her direction. Instead she calmly put it away or ignored it completely.

She had a perpetual itch on the right side of her left knee but she did not begrudge it. She did not humbly and ashamedly lower her maidenly eyes as she scratched it, just like she never tried to swallow a persistent cough. Instead she satisfied the itch in a business-like open manner while maintaining eye contact with the teacher as they discussed the tyranny of railroads upon farmers.

Although people admired her, and secretly loved to look for the force that kept her from tipping over, shivering, or hiding her tears (for she was capable of crying), these people were not without their awkwardness, wobbling in her shadow, unsure, as they grasped on the feathrs of her wings, whether the feathers would give way, or whether they had tok flight in the first place. Did this girl have a goal, anyway? Was her atmosphere a blue sky, healthful and rich, or more like a chlorine pool, nice to look at, if a bit artificial, and hurtful to the eyes if you open them once submerged in her soul.

This girl, though, about whom I have been speaking, was unconcerned with the musings of these people – not like a lord is of the starvation of the peasants, mind, not at all like the railroads and the farmers. But she was the type to feel all the more comfortable in the presence of a person because they were incomplete. Not because it made her left nostril bigger and her right nostril smaller. But because it made things more cosy, like an over-soft pillow when one has a headache – set up a home for her to inhabit, like water and flour in a bowl. She felt just as warm towards a being ten feet away than towards one hugging her. Or perhaps more. Her life-blood and sympathy could flow through the air better than any other medium.

And so we come upon her vice. Her indulgence. The thing that could have made her silly if it were funnier. She, without thought, accepted the mingling of the soul and the solid, the mental and the material, as one would accept the yolk with the white, the turtle nd the shell, the scar with the blood – the dirt under the nail. She relished sinking her foot into the fresh wet greenery and mud in the early morning after rain, heartily believing she was soaking up the vitality of earth. When she sweat, she was oozing droplets of her soul back to the earth, and when she tripped and fell, hirting herself, she bid farewell to the bits of dead skin, all the more alive to her, blowing away with the breeze. She both thought the breeze was thinking and not thinking, taking her little bits of self to a separate place intentionally and not intentionally – but it all self-directed by the said wind, not under the command of an outside stronger will. For she believed in equality, and valued the personality of leather just as much as she did iron. She felt powerful when she scribbled notes in the margins of her textbook, fully feeling the interaction between her thoughts and the ink and the paper like a dance or a scuffle or a political debate. This was all because she wanted to derive as uch as possible, and maybe more, from everything, including objects. The shirt she wore made the same guestures as she when she argued with her mother, it too shrugged its shoulders.

When she closed her eyes, she felt the universe creep and sweep into different positions. Like when she was sure her bed turned to a different spot on the floor of her room once she let her lids fall. Or the possibility that, though she kicked her legs up on a worried night, that the blankets had planned on moving upwards anyhow, and that the existence of her foot in that shared upward motion was coincidental. Now this girl was not crazy – she did not worship the flowers or the yield sign – they might be allowed to be individuals, bit they would go their own way and she hers. She didn’t think the stars told her anything she did not choose to interpret. She knew about the tranquilizing power of bias and closed-out hope that stifles the intellect and knew where to cut her nuttery short of insanity. She just liked playing with reality a little. That was her vice: a see-saw ame of dominance and subordinance, control and chaos, with the apathetic frim reaper that was the inanimate: the book in her hand; the sweat between her fingers, the saliva in her cough.

A flower I designed on the Official Coraline Website. I love that movie. I named it "Zod." I think the name fits.
This next one was not written for school, in fact it wasn't really anything untill it turned itself into a story - and it was the only piece of my writing that got published in the school writer's magazine. Of course, I only submitted - two to three things tops, during all of highschool.

Llana’s Description

by [Jo Bingo]

Trees, skies, dirt. Landscape descriptions are too often as sinful and dull as lists and portrayals of smeeells and tases. They broadcast effort. Though all writing can be expected to contain a degree of vanity, somehow those sheet-fulls on the smooth or jagged lones of nature render readers comatose.

Of course, they might disregard m as elitist or a simple bully if I start out so critical. My eyes are throbbing. I should replace more of the bulbs in here. The witching hour is officially not the most inspiring. Maybe I should have a go at what I’m stamping out, try describing a landscape, a backdrop – this ought to be good, as I know nothing about nature.

He walked by the standing pillar of vines and green that shattered the sky in two, holding the bits and pieces together in the net of its grasping branches, indifferent, faceless, yet somehow scrutinizing, its roots half-raised in anticipation of the intruder, but forever fixed by some hellish potency that would with enough sifts and gyres and oscillations in that continuum of the vegetative developing torpidity in time.

Okay, so one option would be to drown in abstract metaphor…

It is dark, yet the outline of the overgrown flora standing just outside my window seems darker. Do I detect a grin, or does everything seem right now to be grinning… I can just make out the organized tangle of bark like the tight spiral twinings of a thick strong rope. But wait. It was an apparition; that tree has been hone from my window for months. It had rotten insides, a hollow being, it was severed from its feet and its feet remain, bloodless and dead, still as in life. I look down and squint in the black night. Do I imagine it, or are the rings in the trunk perceptible? The grin remains. I knew it.

Llana was playing with her own words: she wasn’t the object of the pun, she was the pun. Her critical essay was to focus on trees – and she was a tree. At least, that’s the story her label told, for Llana means tree. It was midnight and she was chuckling to herself at this reversible cleverness – feverishly, though, hurried, as Hours were all that stood between the student and the deadline:

Writing about writing is a tortuous endeavor, like setting a mirror upon itself and attempting to count the number of images born as a result. It is dividing and classifying what already has been dissected. However, process analysis is a muscular tool – it can attack anything, even forms of itself. So: Analyze a writing tool for tomorrow.

(The teacher (who will remain nameless, guess why) had written this very fast, let us say beside her kitchen sink for aesthetic purposes, her long nails clicking against each other while the phone rang, a prompt for the class number something in something number classroom, a prompt, an essay, an exercise, a tool, a gear, an engine, click click click click click)… (Still haven’t guessed? I don’t know either)…

Llana’s room was small, cramped, and cluttered. No, that’s no good – showers of clich├ęs speak nonsense. – Though Llana’s shoulders did not reach the ceiling, as she leant over her work they reached higher and higher, two growing masses of stiffness, all the congregation of cluttered objects surrounding them serenading and crowding in that growth. Outside, the lack of tree gaped, spilling out soul and memories like a crack in a bottle leaks – low pressure dribbling of sentimentality and notions confusing the reality with the tangible and vice versa.

Okay, I’ll try again.

The tree like a vertical hand with fingers waved – only on second look did one realize something was off, there were too many fingers and the skin too tough – in short, the realization that one, only seconds ago, had been that close to a mutant, an isolated being which had nothing in common with one’s own…

Description is latent. There is no action. Description of trees is often either irreverent or too reverent: what I mean by that is that is that is that… the stillness is assumed to be passive, made synonymous with the lack of the ability to move… and of course they can’t move… or talk… or become involved in any storyline… but maybe it is an insult to be continuously classified as backdrop, as ornamentation, as the “blueprint of the archaic ages”… who, after all, wants to be “described”? Even extras in a play are allowed their ebb and flow. Landscape is not a plane or a medium, but an additional character – not just some smiling entity but perhaps – perhaps even violently insistent on its characteristic fullness of being!

Llana quickly looked up as if slapped roughly on the back. The tree stood there outside her window as if it had never left.

Okay, and, as a mini-break from prose, cello stuff!
A small movement on cello I once preformed.
(It is 5 minutes and 31 seconds long - it starts 21 seconds in so don't worry it's not broken.)
I wrote a good chunk of a Novella which I have yet to finish during the month of May for school, but the project was really the beginning of a fufillment of a life-dream. I'm NOT going to include even an excerpt from the story, but I'll give you an idea of the work that was put into it, plus what I got out of it, and maybe you might get something out of what's here too.


· “ The Art of Fiction: Notes on Craft for Young Writers” by John Gardner, pgs 97-124, Chp. 5 Common Errors

Three “Faults of the Soul: sentimentality, frigidity, and mannerism.” “Faults of the soul. Like faults of technique, can be corrected” sentimentality ¹ sentiment

Don’t write in the passive. Don’t use non-finite verbs merely to vary or differ the lengths of sentences, and certainly don’t write non-finite verbs incorrectly in a sentence, as apparently many amateur writers do. Avoid diction shifts and steady use of inappropriate diction. Don’t attempt variety by awkwardly stretching a sentence out with a “that” or “which” clause, for it “obviously” results in a trailing off and energy is lost (notice how I just used a non-finite verb and a passive clause one after the other, haha).

Avoid anticlimactic endings to sentences (by using the periodic sentence, but don’t overuse it).

Irritant -> “Needless explanation and explanation where drama alone would be sufficient”

Irritant -> Accidental Rhyme. Choose either to be arrhythmic to try to have writing and speech as close to real life as possible, or think out your rhythm; never thinking about rhythm is always a bad idea.

“dramatized, not explained” – avoid becoming to fond of your mellifluous voice.

· John Gardner The Art of Fiction, Chp 6 Technique 125-142

“Writing an exercise, the writer is in the ideal artistic state, both serious and not serious. He wants the exercise to be wonderful, so that his classmates will applaud, but he is not in the dark psychological set of the ambitious young novelist struggling to write down his existence as it is, with the ghost of the young James Joyce standing horribly at his back” 127

“fiction is made of structural units; it is not one great rush.” 127 “The good writer treats each unit individually, developing them one by one.” 127

“[the writer] works on the [description] as if this were simply an exercise, writing as if he had all eternity to finish it, and when the description is perfect – and not too long or too short in relation to its function in the story as a whole – he moves on to his story’s next unit.” 128

“Telling the truth in fiction can mean one of three things: saying that which is factually correct, a trivial kind of truth, though a kind central to works of versimilitude; saying that which, by virtue of tone and coherence, does not feel like lying, a more important kind of truth; and discovering and affirming moral truth about human existence – the highest truth of art.” 129

· John Gardner The Art of Fiction, Chp 7 Plotting 179 - 184

“The novella can be defined only as a work shorter than a novel (most novellas run somewhere between 30,000 and 50,000 words) and both longer and more episodic than a short story. I use the word ‘episodic’ loosely here, meaning only that the novella usually has a series of climaxes, each more intense than the last, though it may be built – and perhaps in fact ought to be built – of one continuous action.” 179

“But the continuous stream nevertheless has its progression if increasingly powerful climaxes, each, if we look closely, symbolic and ritualistic as well as intense on the level of pure action. The writer, in other words, has organized his continuous action as a group of scenes or scene-cluster segments, loosely, ‘episodes.’” 180

“A good novella, whatever its structure, has an effect analogous to that of a tone poem in music. A good novel, on the other hand, has an effect more like that of a Beethoven symphony.” 183

“The chief beauty of a novella is its almost oriental purity, its elegant tracing of an emotional line. Whereas the short story moves to an ‘epiphany,’ as Joyce said …– the novella reaches an end wherein the world is, at least for the central character, radically changed.” 183

· Aspects of the Novel, by E.M. Forster

“The novelist, we are beginning to se, has a very mixed lot of ingredients to handle. There is the story, with its time-sequnce of “and then… and then…”; there are ninepins about whom he might tell the story, and tell a rattling one, but no, he prefers to tell his story about human beings; he takes over the life by values as well as the life in time. The characters arrive when evoked, but full of the spirit of mutiny. For they have these numerous parallels with people like ourselves, they try to live their own lives and are consequently often engaged in treason against the main scheme of the book. They ‘run away,’ they ‘get out of hand’: they are creatured inside a creation, and often inharmonious towards it; if they are given complete freedom they lick the book to pieces, and if they are sternly left in check, they revenge themselves by dying, and destroy it by intestinal decay.” 66-67

“In daily life we never understand each other, neither complete clairvoyance nor complete confessional exists.” “even if they are imperfect or unreal thy do not contain any secrets, whereas our friends do and must, mutual secrecy being one of the conditions of life upon this globe.” 47 “The main facts in life are five: birth, food, sleep, love, and death.” 47 “So let us think of people as starting life with an experience they forget and ending it with one which they anticipate but cannot understand.” 48

· E.M. Forster’s Aspects of the Novel

Chp. 5 The Plot 83-104

“If it is in a story we say ‘and then?’ If it is in a plot we ask ‘why?’ That is the fundamental difference between these two aspects of the novel. … a plot demands intelligence and memory also.” 86

“To appreciate mystery, a part of the mind must be left behind, brooding, while the other part goes marching on.” 87 “The plot-maker expects us to remember, we expect him to have no loose ends. Every action or word ought to count; it ought to be economical and spare; even when complicated it should be organic and

· Anne Lamott’s Bird by Bird,

Part One, Plot 54-63

“The development of relationshi[ creates plot.” 55

“Find out what each character cares most about in the world because then you will have discovered what’s at stake.” 55

“Drama is the way of holding the reader’s attention. The basic formula for drama is setup, buildup, payoff – just like a joke.” 59

“I heard Alice Adams give a lecture on the short story… she said that sometimes she uses a formula when writing a short story, which goes ABDCE, for Action, Background, Development, Climax, and Ending.” 62

Part One, Dialogue 64-73

“It is a matter of the ear, just as finding the right physical detail is mostly a matter of the eye.” 65

“First of all, sound your words – read them out loud” 65-66 “If you are a writer, or want to be a writer, this is how you spend your days – listening, observing, storing things away, making your isolation pay off.” 66

“Second, remember that you should be able to identify each character by what he or she says.” 66

“Third, you might want to try putting together two people who more than anything else in the world wish to avoid each other” 67 “In any case, good dialogue gives us the sense that we are eavesdropping, that the author is not getting in the way. Thus, good dialogue encompasses both what is said and what is not said.” 67

“My friend Carpenter talks about the unconscious as the cellar where the little boy sits who creates the characters, and he hands them up to you through the cellar door.”

Part One, Plot Treatment 85-92

Telling chapter by chapter what exactly is going on “I figured out, over and over, point A, where the chapter began, and point B, where it ended, and what needed to happen to get my people from A to B. And then how the B of the last chapter would lead organically into point A of the next chapter… write a final draft. This time I knew exactly what I was doing. I had a recipe.” 92

Me "reading" before I could read. I did it all the time.
This is the little conclusion paper that we were required to write at the close of the project.

[Jo Bingo]

Senior Project: Write a Novella

Reaction Paper

Sunday, June 7, 2009

To become a writer and write a piece of fiction larger than a short story has been my lifelong dream, in fact it is to me a defining point in life. Thus this senior project was highly personal and inherently self-fulfilling. Though I did not manage to finish my first draft, both my mentors Mr. Ed Myers and Mrs. Cindy Trumbore gave me line-by-line edits of my 62-page manuscript, double-spaced, as well as process-related and conceptual advice. Mr. Myers is an author, ghostwriter, and his own publisher. Mrs. Trumbore is a children’s book author, an editor, and a writer’s critic. Both are family friends. I met with Ed Myers four times, in person at his house, once a week, usually after an installment, to discuss my issues as well as so I could receive feedback. I exclusively exchanged emails with Mrs. Trumbore. I gave my mentors my writing in five approximately equal installments evenly distributed during the month of May.

I worked 4 to 6 hours average hours a day. I created my own writing group which met three times, once a week, lasting each at least two hours and a half, sometimes more, the regular members being my writer best-friends and fellow seniors [Kelsique] and [Sarah], as well as myself. My sister [Aladine] also attended for two of these meetings. During writing groups we discussed each of our problems and ruts we were embezzled in, and exchanged advice, favoring no one member. We also read aloud inspirational sections and read each other’s work, as well as supplying each other with emotional support. We have all agreed that it was super successful, each group leaving each member satisfied and with at least one useful suggestion. We will most likely continue this group in future.

I have learned so much more than the exact nature of my bad tendencies in writing style, such as my excessive use of the word “suddenly.” I have learned how to challenge myself by choosing a teenage audience and thus making myself write more simple and short sentences, very, very out of my comfort zone, as I am naturally very, very verbose (can you tell?). I have learned to start with an idea germ, than focus on characters, which determine conflicts, which set up the plot, also how to write realistic dialogue idiosyncratic to each character. I have learned how to pace myself with specific deadlines and goals. I have not only learned how to edit but how to suspend my editing mind and just write, concentrating on fluidity rather than perfection. I have learned countless ways to cure writer’s block. I have learned how to read books and view movies with an eye experienced in plot and characterization levels of quality. I have learned how to take extensive notes and spend days thinking of my characters weeks before I write a word of the actual manuscript. I learned how to overcome frustrations and setbacks without giving up. I learned how to cater to the “constant unholy terror of boring the reader,” in Roald Dahl’s words, one way being to leave the most interesting part of each sentence for the last. I learned to skip common errors of beginning writers by avoiding describing actions of characters with “-ing” words or ever writing in the passive. I have learned to balance dialogue and action, inner and outer conflict, to focus on making my main character the instigator of the plot and to avoid like the plague the plot device “dues ex machina.” I have learned how to avoid starting each sentence the same way (as I have purposely done in this paragraph).

Since childhood, Roald Dahl has been my favorite author, so I constantly kept him in mind. In the words of Roald Dahl, I have tried to cause the reader to: 1) Laugh (actual loud belly laughs), 2) Squirm, 3) Become Enthralled, 4) Become TENSE and EXCITED and say, ‘Read on! Please read on! Don’t Stop!’” Following Roald Dahl’s advice, I collected pictures of people to help visualize and describe my characters. I also followed Roald Dahl’s footsteps in the writing process: “Most of the stories I write all begin with a small germ of an idea for a story. I then take that idea and begin working with it.” I kept in mind what Roald Dahl wrote about his writing process on his short story for Children, The Giraffe, the Pelly and Me: “So I started trying to build a story round these three creatures. It was very difficult. For seven months I wrote and discarded and I rewrote, and you must believe me when I tell you that I have a file of discards and rewrites which contains exactly three hundred and fourteen handwritten and typewritten pages. The finished story runs to thirty-four and a half typewritten pages. That’s how difficult I found it. But, throughout the months it was fascinating to watch one little cog after another falling into place as the story began to take some sort of shape.” I therefore did not criticize myself for not always being able to dish out gold-standard writing, and encouraged me to write ten times more notes than actual writing.

I already loved to write, and loved the idea I had been saving for years to use, and am forever grateful for this opportunity to set my dreams in action, and learn how to realize my dreams in future.

Books I used as references, and wrote extensive notes on:

Harvestmen: The Biology of Opiliones edited by Ricardo Pinto-Da-Rocha, Glauco Machado and Gonzalo Giribet

My Daddy Longlegs: A Let’s-Read-And-Find-Out Science Book by Judy Hawes

The Essential Writer’s Notebook: A Step-By Step Guide to Better Writing by Natalie Goldberg (used during Writing Groups)

On Becoming A Novelist by John Gardner

Write Up a Storm with the Polk Street School by Patricia Reilly Giff (also used in Writing Groups)

The Art of Fiction: Notes on Craft for Young Writers by John Gardner

If You Want to Write: A Book About Art Independence and Spirit by Brenda Ueland

Aspects of the Novel: The Timeless Classic on Novel Writing by E.M. Forster

Bird by Bird: Some Instructions on Writing and Life by Anne Lamott

From The Roald Dahl Treasury, Ideas to Help Aspiring Writers pgs. 409-411, by Roald Dahl, and Creating Characters pgs. 62-63

& Countless websites, including many short essays from on the recommendation of Mrs. Trumbore

More to come - more relevant stuff too,
Jo Bingo, Bemusing since Birth, apparently

P.S. This doodle was born on a day when I had a particularly bad sore throat. I decided to try and draw how it felt to have a sore throat. This is what came out. (Her neck is wood with brambles attached.)

P.P.S. Yes, this is an egocentric entry. But you know what? This is a gepocentric universe! [What, wait, it's not? The universe doesn't surround us? Let me see that wiki print out... heliocentric, huh? I don't buy it.]

1 comment:

  1. omg.

    I never saw some of this. Amazing writing, drawing, cello playing!

    Mrs. Hatterswitch!