Tuesday, December 6, 2011
This past Sunday's Bolton reading was our best yet. How can I be so sure? All those knowing looks I got from the workshop leaders. They know good writing when they hear it and they were impressed. So congratulations to all our readers and MFA instructors (some of whom are pictured above) and thanks to them and to all our helpers in the residence halls and to Mr. and Mrs. Bolton. See you next semester!
Thursday, December 1, 2011
Remember the infamous line Dorothy repeats while clicking her glittery, red heels? "There's no place like home." She said it over and over again with her eyes closed. Another famous writer, Tennessee Williams, said something like, I see better with my eyes closed. Or maybe their eyes are closed because it's the tradition of a wish or helps them visualize better. Nonetheless, when home is home you know it with all your being.
This week, Arnoldites wrote about their new-found homes that they kinda missed while they were away at, well, their other homes. They wrote about Morgantown using everything but their eyes. In the visual age, sometimes it's easy to overlook those sensory details of taste, smell, hearing or touch, but when we resurrect them sometimes they're fresher than ever!
A little taste (haha) of the writing that went down this week:
"As soon as you turn off the highway your car hits bumps, cracks, potholes. You hear your car scream to go in the opposite direction. . . . At night the city awakes, streets full of clacking heels. . . . Sirens fill your ears." (Caitlin Cooper)
After a semester of fun, I asked for some comments and suggestions and from what I collected they liked me, they LOVED Bolton, and they wish for more food and freestyle rap. (I think I can do that.)
So, thank you for this opportunity and for keeping tabs on the Bolton Writing Workshops throughout the semester. Make sure to check back with us next semester! Until then, join us at Honors Hall this Sunday at 6PM for the End of the Semester Bolton Reading and brownies!
Wednesday, November 30, 2011
Friday, November 11, 2011
Thursday, November 10, 2011
Tuesday, November 1, 2011
Preview: Poetry! Six words that describe you.
Monday, October 31, 2011
Tuesday, October 25, 2011
Of course on a campus of thousands and thousands, there are bound to be one or two people these brave Bolton Workshoppers don't want to friend on Facebook. So with Halloween as an excuse, six of us wrote flash fiction pieces about a campus monster we've encountered in our time here. Our requirements to fulfill: at least one character, setting, conflict, and some kind of resolution in one-hundred words or less. Impossible? No. Ernest Hemingway wrote that ever-famous super-short-short-short story, "For sale. Baby shoes. Never worn." But with Hemingway on the table, the task sure was intimidating.
But the Arnoldites, with pen weapons and paper shields, faced their monsters: one-word texters, serial texters, clubrats, house partiers, and the parking meter Po-Po. Not only did they leave victorious, they left with smiles and tummies full of Oreos and Skittles.
Join us on November 28 at 7:30PM for Arnold Hall's next Bolton Workshop!
Tuesday, October 18, 2011
Monday, October 17, 2011
Join us at Arnold Hall at 7:30PM on 10/24 to rant about campus monsters!
After a brief exchange of real ghost stories in the Pariser’s quaint den and then a delicious dinner of steak (yeah, steak), potatoes and green beans, the students got down to business writing about a setting that scares them in Morgantown and peopling that setting with an "innocent" and a monster locked in some kind of confrontation. The monster was either to be an amalgam of their fears related to being a student at WVU, or just an exaggerated version of some creep that really moves around this town.
What they came up with was chilling. A monster named “Fub” who harasses people in the dorm, a faceless, shadowy figure lurking in a darkened Monongalia County Courthouse plaza, a killer who lures his victims outside by playing a tape recorded scream of a child ...
Whooooo’s got my golden arm?
Good stuff. The next workshop is Nov. 9. I think lasagna's on the menu.
Tuesday, October 11, 2011
I strolled my way into the lecture hall;
This was not my first match with chemistry.
I made my way down the steps and fall.
Knowing me, this couldn’t have been a mystery.
My eyes were set upon the board.
Could I see from this distance?
The professor walks in, oh Lord!
Knowing him, I will need some persistence.
He welcomes the frightened class as they enter
He seems a bit gruff but I think I can handle
Approaches the board and writes his name in the center
I look at the floor and notice he’s wearing one sandal.
Although appearances may give your first impression,
I would only use them at your highest discretion.
Here's a preview of tonight's festivities: The first year experience--Monsterized! Your teachers have become zombies. The janitors are werewolves. Your roommate is kissed by a vampire (not the shimmery kind). Terror spreads across a state funded college campus. Will you call your mommy?
Tuesday, October 4, 2011
Tuesday, September 27, 2011
Morgantown loves: independence, weekends, diversity, new friends, all-you-can-drink Icees in the cafeteria, the locals, acceptance, seasons, college atmosphere, pepperoni rolls, Eliza’s , mountainscape, daily access to NY Times (small town and strict father), Bolton, the Rec, free sporting events, pedestrian lifestyle, Chick-fil-A, opportunities, free activities, the Meal Plan, view of Morgantown from room, the architecture of the old buildings, FOOTBALL, semester long library checkouts, Ogawa
Hometown misses: big and comfy bed, parents picking up the bill, the beach, pork rolls, cats, family, oldie-but-goodie friends, flat roads, AC, homecooking, cable, reliable mail, feeling safe (current shooting at the nightclub Karma), gigantic TV, car, mom’s food, free time, backyard, the lake, museums
After sharing our heart pangs and longings, we fit our love inside fourteen lines which took a lot of deleting because we’ve got big hearts over at Arnold. How does your love measure up?
Come join us on October 24 at 7:30PM for a Halloween themed workshop.
Did I mention cookies?
Monday, September 26, 2011
Wednesday, September 21, 2011
Tuesday, September 20, 2011
Monday, September 19, 2011
Students who are not able to attend the meeting but would like to be on the Calliope staff should email or call the magazine's faculty sponsor, Mark Brazaitis, at Mark.Brazaitis@mail.wvu.edu/304-293-9707.
Tuesday, September 13, 2011
Sunday, September 11, 2011
I’m not going to lie; I was nervous as I walked up to Honors Hall on Tuesday. This being my first Bolton, I didn’t know what to expect. What if no one showed up? What if everyone hated the prompt? What if everyone was just plain mean?
My fears were quickly put aside as I stood in the RFL’s book-lined living room. A girl walked in, holding a notebook to her chest. “I can’t wait to write,” she said. I knew then that everything would be fine.
Six students put their homework aside for an hour and joined us at the dining room table. Eating cake and cookies, we wrote in between bites. The topic: dorm life. The rules: 50 words or less. Flash nonfiction. We discussed the importance of each word in writing, and I reminded them how flash fiction or nonfiction makes the writer pay attention to each word. When dealing with only a few words, each word has to carry its own weight. Frivolous words get thrown out quicker than a bowling ball in a sinking canoe.
The time came to share, and after the first student read, I wondered if they even needed any reminders on writing. They covered it all: roommate admiration, budding romance at an open mic, the enticement of chanting coming through open vents, the description of a flyer on a wall, the wonderment of living alone, the dangerous ground of hair spray in bathrooms amongst girls. Each of them reminded me of something that I forgot to mention in my mini-lecture: the importance of a final line. All of them had one final poignant sentence. Yes, I know, the whole students teaching the teacher something has been done, but at times clichés are true.
I left that night almost skipping out of the dorm. After all, any night that combines writing and cake is a pretty successful night in my book.
Next up: Fiction on October 4th.
Thursday, September 8, 2011
It probably would have had nothing to do with the weather anyway that RFL Dr. David Pariser and his wife, Live/Learn Community Specialist Debbi Pariser, were able to round up eight students, mostly freshman, for the evening.
Now, maybe it was the promise of the free food that made them so enthusiastic to be there, but I’m going to say they were just excited about the prospect of writing. Who isn't? And, they just seemed like a good bunch of ambitious students. After a meet-and-greet in the Pariser’s comfortable, wood-trimmed living room, we adjourned to the dining room for a wonderful spread of herb chicken, ziti (?), and other accoutrements. I know. It sounds like typical wedding food. But it was a cut above, catered by the university.
We ate and wrote and talked about writing and ate and read our writing with our mouths full and ate some more. It felt like a Parisian gathering of expatriates. Speaking of which, our writing topic was home. And we talked about Hemingway’s notion that a writer cannot truly write about “home” unless he/she is far away from it. Most of the students are pretty far away from it, and I was worried for a moment that bringing this Hemingway thing up might have backfired and only serve to roil up homesickness. But it didn’t.
True to Hemingway’s theory, they each turned out beautiful, true, panoramic meditations on the subject. They weren’t meditations of longing. And I was impressed by their natural writing talents and their seekers’ creativity and I look forward to reading their pieces once they’ve got them in finished shape (they only had ten minutes).
I think at the next workshop (Oct. 12 at 6:30 p.m.), we’re having steak and writing fiction. So come on over.
Monday, September 5, 2011
Thursday, September 1, 2011
We started the workshop by writing as many six word memoirs as our brains would allow inspired by the theme of transitions. We each picked three of our favorites to share with the group and explained what they meant. A few gems:
"Went for a walk, started running." (Jordan O'Brian)
"I need more trees around here." (Mariah Painter)
"This situation only happens to me." (Chad Kriss)
Then we picked our favorite of the three and expanded on it in twenty-five words or less. Here, Bolton Writing Workshop friends and fans, is the first ever piece of hint non-fiction to grace the web (I think). Drum roll regardless!
"I Shouldn't Have Any Married Peers"
by Mariah Painter
I remember how she wanted to be a vet and help animals.
Now she thinks only of housekeeping.
We wanted to go to college together.
And they say creative people can't add. Pfffsh.
Sunday, August 28, 2011
*My short blog will make a little more sense as soon as you read my corresponding post workshop blog. Consider this a little preview of the fun Arnold Hall participants and I will be having tomorrow night during our first Bolton session!
Sunday, August 14, 2011
Melissa Atkinson is a second-year poet. Melissa will be working with writers in Summit.
Lisa Beans is from rural Nebraska. She received her Bachelor's of Arts in English at Nebraska Wesleyan University. She is a poet. Some authors she likes are Thomas Hardy, James Wright, Christine Garren and Jeffrey McDaniel. She can knit scarves and only scarves. Lisa will be working with writers in Bennett Tower.
Ben Bishop is a native Kentuckian from a suburb south of Cincinnati called Burlington, and studied English with a creative writing emphasis at Kentucky Wesleyan College, also minored in music. He is a poet of the American confessional stream, but also delves into flash fiction and electronic poetry-- yes, you read that correctly. He loves classic Transcendentalist authors, as well as Christian mystics and scholars (Emerson, Annie Dillard, Thomas Merton) for brain food, and Carver, T. C. Boyle, and Lewis Nordan for gems of fiction. His biggest hobby is easily consumer tech/personal computers; he speaks Linux, Windows, Android, and generally runs a pro bono tech support service for friends and family. Ben will be working with writers in Fieldcrest.
Matt London is a 3rd year MFA student in WVU's poetry program. He has taught English 101 here for 2 years and looks forward to teaching 102 this fall. A graduate of Waynesburg University, Matt's background in writing includes poetry, fiction, and dramatic writings, both electronic and print. Publications in Muse & Stone, past simple, Connotation Press, and Zero Ducats. Matt will be working with writers in Brooke.
Because of divorce Connie Pan has two hometowns: Lahaina, Maui, and Grand Rapids, Michigan. She’s not bitter —it’s just a premeditated explanation because most people ask why she would ever leave Hawaii. She got her Bachelor of Arts in Creative Writing at Grand Valley State University. She’s dabbled in all genres but fiction is her love. She adores Gabriel Garcia Marquez, Junot Diaz, Sherman Alexie, Janet Fitch and Kate Braverman. Her name is twenty-four letters long. If she ever gets married, she’d be tempted to hyphenate her name just to make it longer. She likes long names. Connie will be working with writers in Arnold.
Andi Stout hails from Belington, WV, and received her undergraduate degree in English with a minor in Philosophy from WVU. Her focus is poetry, but she writes in creative nonfiction, fiction, and screenplay as well. Andi is a fan of great writers and three of her favorites teach right here at WVU: Jim Harms, Mark Brazaitis, and John Ernest. In an attempt to combat issues related to social anxiety, Andi has dyed her hair purple. Andi will be working with writers in Braxton.
Rebecca Thomas is from Orange County, California (the land of Disney, The OC, and Arrested Development). She received her undergraduate degrees in creative writing and screenwriting. She is a fictioneer who has writerly crushes on Salman Rushdie, Sandra Cisneros, Flannery O'Connor, Carson McCullers, Daniel Handler (and his alter-ego Lemony Snicket), Dave Eggers, Mark Twain, Arthur Miller, and David Sedaris. She was married in Yosemite National Park. The first house she lived in with her husband was a re-purposed 1920s community center and church for the fruit packer community. Rebecca will be working with writers in the Honors Hall.