[DR]: Democracy

Picture 331by Avi (’15)

Democracy.  It isn’t what you participate in on the first Tuesday in November. Nor is it a system of government through elected officials (thank you Google).  It means to raise your hand and vote!

Today in Creative Writing we closed our eyes, covered our heads, and raised our hands high to vote for the theme of the show we liked the best.

Yes, I’ll admit, we desperately needed some dictatorship from Tony and Rachel (I mean there is a point where democracy gets too democratic— see “voting on whether to vote”), but in the end we came up with our show!

And after the results were in, and ALL tallies were counted, we found our answer, our result, our president: The Yet to be Titled Show Involving Aliens and Cruise Ships!

It took some discussion, it took some frustration, it took some back-tracking, but like a green alien, it finally came to us… in a UFO containing Jules’ brain (what a wonderful genius he is, what a shame he isn’t taking Calculus.)

After voting on whether or not we should choose our script-writing groups, we divided ourselves and began the arduous process of writing our scripts— excuse me, interludes (as skits are FAR too elementary, get with the program.)

For those of you non-Creative Writers reading the blog, you should be— need to be— worried, confused and most importantly, excited. Preferably feel all of these emotions at the same time.  Just know that the aliens of planted CDub are coming to a stage near you… if you live in San Francisco.  Sorry Grandma and Grandpa, you will need to fly out, no C-Dub wants to perform in fifteen feet of snow in suburban Minnesota.

[DR]: In Process

by Emma E. (’17)

One of the most exciting parts of planning anything is watching it begin to come to life. During Creative Writing today, we began discussing details of what we want our fall show to look like. Although we are still in preliminary (and top secret) planning stages, the show already feels real and immediate. To help us begin working on the show itself, we had two artists, Tony and Rachel, come in. One of the nice things about enlisting outside help is you get the benefit of their ideas and opinions. Having Tony and Rachel in helped us make our plans more detailed and organized. It’s crazy how much can happen in a class period; at the beginning of the day, we hadn’t even decided on a theme and now our show is already taking shape! One of my favorite parts of the day was when we each said one thing we could bring to the show that was specific to us; the list included knife throwing and onstage cooking, so it’ll definitely be exciting. Today was both productive and enjoyable and I can’t wait to keep planning our show and seeing the new directions it takes!

[DR]: Onset of Fall

by Jules (’14)

It’s no secret these days that it’s rapidly turning into autumn. It rained this saturday, I can’t wear just a tank top and a sportscoat at night anymore, and, perhaps most importantly, the Fall CW show is just around the corner. Today in Creative Writing we spent most of the period listening to theme ideas from Tony and Rachel and Carol (the person who gave birth to me, for anyone who didn’t know), our artistic directors. They took us through the various stages of David Bowie’s work as an example of an artist who has both gone through a very complete journey, and as an artist who works within in many different personas and genres. We then got to propose our own ideas for the show, which, like many matters of national security, will remain secret until it comes out of our proverbial oven, so to speak (to give a little food analogy retort to Midori who assumes I just never read the blog and so seeks to slander me with being an unpatriotic CW student).

by Mykel (’14)

Sometimes, artists in residence spout out the most beautiful, compelling, or funny ideas that I just have to write them down in my notebook. Creative Writing II’s poetry unit consisted of units by two artists in residence: Justin Desmangles, who focused on blues and jazz, and Truong Tran, who taught poetry through visual media. Here are some of their ideas that changed the way I think about poetry.

JUSTIN

“The message ‘you’re not okay,’ seen in advertisements, affects and infects the way we relate to one another. Only through poetry can we examine our language and find what is truly us and what is the result of advertisement.”

“The idea of the boundary of what’s decent and indecent has to constantly be broken to ensure your freedom.”

“Dissonance and harmony are a lot about remembering and forgetting.”

“History has a way of calcifying itself. It’s your job as poets, not just to reconstruct, but to rescue it.”

“Your ability to think is defined by your ability to feel.”

TRUONG

“It’s okay to explore different subjects through the same objects or images over and over again.”

“At some point in your writing, you have to shut out the idea of the audience.”

[On poetry]: “Don’t be precious. Make a big fucking mess.”

BONUS ROUND: TONY BRAVO

[In response to a comment on his luscious eyelashes]: “Thank you. I had them harvested from Shetland ponies.”

The Joys of Hard Rock Island

In Tony Bravo’s Queer Lit Unit in Creative Writing, we talked about many things. One of these is was gay wit, another, the defensive humor of queer literature, another, the reactionary nature of many writings. But, of all of these lessons, what I took away was the lessons of Hard Rock Island, nee Meth Island.

Tony constantly encouraged us to be outrageous, to present characters so over the top (gay, not gay, platypus, it didn’t matter) that they catapulted the reader into the world of those character’s creation. It wasn’t about fake drama, or melodrama, or even realistic dramatic tension: it was about the drama that the characters brought to the situation, and allowing oneself, as the writer, to be ridiculous about it. 

We began a play in class, a play about Hard Rock Island. Tony led us in the practice of character building. With someone at the whiteboard, we shared our ideas about characters we thought should be featured. In our play, the island is made up primarily of meth addicts. There is an opera house there, built in memory of the trailer park that failed because everyone tried to park their trailers on water. A large, blonde, opera singer from the land of marijuana farmers is going to perform there soon. Her gigolo niece is accompanying her. Throw into this mix an 80 year woman who needs some gigolo love, and a prisoner of a South Asian Island Country (never specified which one) who runs the opera singer’s fan site. His name is The Dragon. He believes himself to be the reincarnation of Odysseus. 

I, for one, simply cannot wait for the film adaptation. I think Kate Winslet should play The Dragon. 

Pillows

by Molly (’15)

There is a mess of pillows in the Creative Writing room. They are solid-colored squares and circles of red and black, and are indisputably chic. They are often used as headrests during Sustained Silent Reading and can also be used as devices to hide Colin with when Heather takes attendance or to throw at Justus while he is sleeping. By the end of any given day they are scattered across the carpet in a completely unorganized fashion, which Heather finds unacceptable.

Students are asked to fix the pillows, and although this particular ritual is very common and necessary, there is not yet a set of rules on how these pillows should be arranged. Some decide to organize them by color, while others go by size. The way a person organizes the pillows is a direct window into their psyche; some throw them in an indiscriminate order, while others spend many minutes aligning them.

Last Monday, our minds were opened by Tony, who runs an internship. While organizing the pillows, he suggested we spread them across the entirety of the carpet instead of piling them in a corner. The reds went on one side, the blacks on the other, and through this Tony created a work of art that was, as he said, “meant to be seen from a distance.”