Happiness is a Warm Gun by Tess Horton

I will admit, through gritted teeth, I miss—and mourn—the poetry unit. This sentiment is strange indeed, for I do consider myself to be a grander writer of fiction, and although I respect poetry and understand its’ appeal, I tend to detest the act of creating it on most days. What a funny thing it is, because as soon as I need not write poetry any longer, I suddenly have the incentive to do so!

As a product of this grudging realization, I have written poetry with sad fingers during class, as we speak of, admire, and discuss stories by Bernard MacLaverty, Italo Calvino, and Edward P. Jones. Through bouts of impulse I scrawl haphazard lines of prose, swimming in and out of structured language and the opposite. I am inclined to write poetry now, and yet the words I write are absolutely and utterly vile: a disgrace to poetry itself. That is why I will share the poetry I wrote last semester, while I was under the influence of disgust and bitterness—somehow, I managed to conjure somewhat of a poem. Why can’t I seem to amalgamate words like I did not two months before now? This world is a cruel one.

 

Able-Anna, Able-Anna

She walks between a guided path,

Toes of lace, dipped in a bath

Of early morning breath of birds

It drips below her feet-cut thirds

And with the candle placed in her palm,

She twists the wax and hums a song,

Fit for a king, fit for a man

Of humble words, from South Sudan

She wanders to, from fro and back

With nothing left to whom she lacks.

 

O’ Anna knows she is forlorn

She has been, too, long since the mourn

When little boys breathed in her ears:

“Anna, O’ Anna, You have more tears!

You must go back to the weary tomb

Where lies your birdies, since the womb—

They call you now, they have since noon!”

And so she did, she upped and left,

With nothing but a mood; bereft

She felt as if she were not able

To see the light from which the sable

Dress she wore sucked away till drought

Past meaning; the past without

Her faith in what she knew as opposed

To Mordecai on the tip of her nose.

 

She wanted nothing but a small, brief taste

Of the bitter paste served once, with haste

Perhaps, she thought, it would be sweet

To add a bout of sick, petite

She’d read the words on paper-thin

Turned the ink before the tin

And once old Gideon had said enough

She’d turn back to the door; a bluff

Bite into the muted, whispered words

Flee again, past mountains, past birds

Back to the path she knew and heard.

 

Tess  Horton, class of 2020

Humor Week with Daniel Handler by Tess Horton

 

Creative Writing spent a week with our latest Artist in Residence, Daniel Handler, also known as Lemony Snicket. The main subject he taught us was humor, and the many subjective ways humor can be incorporated into our writing. We covered structure and format, the definition of a “callback,” the nature of the number three in Western humor, and how, to make a piece of writing objectively funny, sometimes you need to have a few boring sentences before the joke.

Everyday, we would read a piece of humor in class, a few examples including Curses From a Millenial Witch by Scarlett Meyer and SantaLand Diaries by David Sedaris, and then analyze what made them “funny.” The goal of the week-long workshop was to write our own 1-3 page humor piece, using the devices we discussed in class — focusing mainly on formatting and structuring our pieces in ways other than straightforward narratives. For example, the piece I ended up writing was “A Snake Charmer’s Dating Profile Throughout the Years,” featuring five years worth of updated dating profiles of a snake charmer.

Our week of humor with Daniel Handler was entertaining and a solid introduction to humor for me. I appreciated learning about the technical aspects of what makes a piece funny, and how to use certain techniques in my writing if I were to ever want to do so. Although humor is subjective and difficult to teach because of it, I take my hat off to Mr. Handler for teaching us in a relatively unbiased way and letting everyone’s own sense of humor thrive without restraint.

Tess Horton, class of 2021

Farewell Fiction by Tess Horton

Farewell, Fiction.

With the conclusion of the fiction unit in Creative Writing 1, our playwriting unit is soon to be upon us. As much as I appreciate fiction and consider myself to be a better fiction writer than anything else, I am excited to experience the legendary “playwriting unit,” of which I have heard so very much about these past few months. It almost feels as if it won’t truly happen: I have come to think of the playwriting unit as something of the future, something I won’t ever go through, and that I’ll simply wonder about for the rest of my days. Of course, the playwriting unit must go on, and go on it will, even considering my preconceived notions.

The fiction unit has been enjoyable, nonetheless. We have read short stories such as “After the Theatre” by Anton Chekhov, “Eveline” by James Joyce, and most recently, “How to Tell a True War Story” by Tim O’Brien. Most of the stories we have read have focused largely on characters and sentence structure, both of which we have been discussing at length in CW 1. We focused on the aspects of a story that make a story what it is, for example: tone, style, setting, genre, diction, etc. After repeating this process (taking home a short story, reading it before I go to sleep, and deconstructing it the next day in Creative Writing 1), numerous times, I feel as if my capacity to analyze and understand a short story in a more academic, structured way has improved immensely. That, paired with writing three other short stories in response to given prompts, has definitely caused me to find more of a sense of confidence within my storytelling ability.

Although the fiction unit is over, I still have the playwriting unit to look forward to, and hopefully more to come. This unit has been a learning experience for me, and I am eager for my fiction-writing to improve as I grow as both a student and a writer.

Tess Horton, class of 2022