Dec 22

what was my process in writing this long-short story?

since I wouldn’t call the story conventional, I’d have to say that writing was the same. to be honest, this was what I was waiting for the whole year, the reason I signed up for the class. I wanted to be creative with my writing. I believe I achieved that to some degree.

I think I was trying to write the way I talk, which can read badly, so maybe that was reflected in the story. Like the fairy tales we read for class, I was inspired to bring my own twist to storytelling. I wanted it to sound like me, without actually being “me” if that makes any sense. I was having a conversation with my friends while trying to think of a story topic when I realized that I should just write about a situation where I can write about a group of friends. I wanted to show them together, how they interacted with each other with dialogue, and then break them into individuals & show their inner monologues as well. You mentioned in one of your comments that my generation is trying to sort of reinvent the word “neurotic”. You might be right, but I feel like it’s not just how we question ourselves and our relationships, it’s also about how we’re trying to be two things at once: to be part of a group, a unit, and also trying to carve out our own individual personalities and selves, both from that group and from the world in general. Sorry for getting philosophical!

Is the story a little slang- heavy? Yes. But I think that’s the best thing about it. I took your advice and changed the screenplay-bullet point form of dialogue to hopefully make it more readable (for everyone). I also hope the slang doesn’t detract from the overall story (or stories, as it were). The feeling I tried to convey through the slang was one of friendship, plain and simple. There were no secret messages between characters in any of the curse words (sorry for the language). It may not be a story for readers of a certain age, but I think the most relatable part of it is the theme of being part of a group, a gang, a unit, a clique, a circle- whatever the time period, whatever you want to call it. I just like to see the way friends talk to each other, because it’s always unique and entertaining, and lifting the veil to that world feels like I’m uncovering secrets, or in-the-know about something. Does any of that make sense?

In short, I was excited to do this exercise, I enjoyed doing it, and I hope it came out okay. I just want to add that writing it was a miracle itself, and deserves a little story itself: a few posts into my story I started having trouble with my computer, which was nothing new since it crashed on me too many times since the day I got it no more than 3 years ago. There was some unholy jingling sound happening every time I picked it up. But it still worked, which was too important with finals coming up so I ignored it, until one day it didn’t jingle and also didn’t turn on. I didn’t panic yet. I sent it to the computer geniuses and waited. I wasn’t expecting them to tell me that it was unfixable. Then I panicked. We’ve heard the sob story before: “I had everything on my laptop!” this goes to include my slang- ridden short story. Holiday miracle!: I have some very nice friends. Friends who would put up with my vegetarian experiment blog post recipes (and melt downs). Friends who listened to me whine about my horrible poems. Friends who inspired me to write them into infamy in short stories. Friends who took time from their hectic finals study time to let me use their computers to piece back together my short story. Friends: you guys deserve an A.

One last thing:

I want to thank you, professor, for your encouragement. You were a model for me in learning how to give criticism in the most positive, talent channeling, problem solving way. Thank you for laughing and not laughing at the right times, and for being patient with me and everyone else. Thank you for putting up with my cover letter confessions, and for seeing more potential in me than I saw in myself. (sorry for getting sentimental!)

Thank you!

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2 comments so far

  1. 1 jenny abeles
    9:37 pm - 12-30-2011

    Hi Jamie. So glad your computer story has a happy ending! And, indeed, your friends sound wonderful. I’m also glad the semester was mostly successful for you and that we finally reached the long-awaited short fiction section, a section you’ve done admirable work on throughout.

    In your short, short story, I like how your supercilious narrator apalled by humanity’s stinky crush finds herself perceived as rancid as everyone else, a moment of seeing oneself as not just judgmental subject but also object itself open to judgment. It’s an interesting way of pulling the rug out from beneath this narrator.

    Your longer, multi-perspective story is a really interesting read, mainly because you drop all kinds of suggestions and details that knit these three together in their own, snug world—Whip It, shared language and jokes, a desire to be noticed, appreciated, show appreciation for one another. As cozy as this world is, it’s also perforated in ways that make it open and unstable—the grumpy old lady on the bus, the potential date in the library—such elements disrupt the stability of these friends’ little world but also ensure that it will not become static. It, and they, are open to change, and readers get the sense that change will inevitably affect them. The hint of romance between Janie and Mike (and the therefore possibly upsetting incident of the calculater-flower) Provides the story momentum both within its parameters and, since readers don’t know how this will unfold, beyond them. Is this the central conflict? I think you’ve achieved some of what you’ve set out to do here, showing us their need for inclusion and mutual belonging while also illuminating some of the more private spaces within, but again, I sense some limitation in these characters, and it seems as though its connected to their speech. How do they aim to deal with their own limitations? It’s very readable, overall.

    So, as we know, you’re missing quite a bit of poetry from this blog, and that means lost points, but what you have posted has consistently been fun, engaging, and well-written. With three absences and missed work, I have you at a C+. Thanks for all your insight into the class (never apologize for getting philosophical!) and for your part in a good semester!

  2. 2 jenny abeles
    10:14 pm - 12-30-2011

    Sorry, Jamie. Reconfigured a couple things and came up with a B- rather than C+. A bit better…

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