This program is made possible through a generous gift from Ruth and Russell Bolton
in conjunction with the Eberly College of Arts & Sciences.

Monday, October 31, 2011

Morgantown, Home Sweet Home?

Morgantown first felt like a home to me during my first fall. Coming from Southern California, a land of homogenous seasons, I was pretty stoked to see the colors on the trees. I had to restrain myself from kicking up piles up leaves. I'd never had the chance to see a pile of leaves before, let alone kick them. It was something as simple as driving down Don Knotts to the Walmart. I saw the hills polka-dotted with color, and I thought, yea, I could stick around here for a while.
What about you? When did Morgantown first feel comfortable? Come to the Honors Dorm tomorrow at 7 pm (11/1) as we write about what makes a house (or in this case, a dorm) a home.

Tuesday, October 25, 2011

Lightning Crash Flash Fiction

It seems as if it was just last Monday that I was talking to the Arnoldites about their transitions into college. Three Bolton Workshops later, the leaves are turning, the temperature is dropping, and they are fluent in Morgantown. Not only do they know where to get the tastiest pizza slices, inexpensive gear, and to always watch their step on High Street, but they are one-strong in a campus of 29,000 plus.

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

Fieldcrest and the PRT

Last Tuesday in Fieldcrest, we found out a rather unexpected bit of information about our Mountaineer experience. While we focused on flash fiction pieces about PRT mishaps and breakdowns, we found out something else. With our workshoppers using language like "the prt gods" and the "all seeing eye" in the controller building, we found that no matter how much we may hate the PRT when it breaks down, or are appalled by what we experience while riding it on gameday, we share a common thread that it's sacred.

I know, it sounds crazy.

But think about it... how many other campuses in the US have anything like it? How much do we rely on our little blue and gold cars to get us to class or downtown to High St.? We respect it's ability to do... whatever the hell it does... and that we can only choose to ride on it and deal with all of its idiosyncrasies, or not. And when parking costs are outrageous and open spots are still hard to find... this is how we deal. And no matter what we do, we can't stop it from breaking down, or getting us to our destination any faster than it wants to take us. And so, we submit ourselves to it, much like faith, and hold it in a place of high regard.

So much depends upon,
a blue and gold car....

Monday, October 17, 2011

Campus Monster Mash

Do the pantless girls parading High Street freak you out? Do the omniscient eyes of the PRT give you the heebie-jeebies? Have you ever wondered what hides in the Cold Hole in the Towers' basements? Have you had a Mothman run-in?

Join us at Arnold Hall at 7:30PM on 10/24 to rant about campus monsters!


I had some trouble walking back to my car in the dark after the Bolton participants at the home of Stalnaker/Dadisman RFLs Debbi and David Pariser on Wednesday wove their tales of horror.

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

Very Scary Sonnets

It was a dark and stormy night last Tuesday. Okay, not really. After a weekend of abysmal weather, things were finally clearing up. The temperatures were no longer flirting with frost, and you could walk outside without wanting to run right back on in. But that didn't matter because the weather inside the RFL Apartment in the Honors Dorm was downright cheery, and cheer seemed hard to come by last week with everyone steeped in midterm madness.

We celebrated October with scary stories that night. We kicked off the night with freewriting about our scariest experiences, focusing on how centering our writing around realistic details and the five senses makes a scary experience stick with the reader. And man, did those scary experiences stick: a haunted elevator in the Downtown Library, walking home to discover a shattered window, the slow realization that a man is staring at you as he lays along the rail trail, and an organic chemistry professor that actually teaches you how to drug your friends. Embellishment was encouraged.

A few students had to leave halfway through -- did I mention it was midterms -- but for those brave souls that stuck around, we tackled the scariest of all poetry forms: the sonnet. The students' courage paid off, though, because these sonnets were good and scary. Read below...if you dare.

"Untitled" by Ben Stansbery
I had to get a book from the library;
But rumor had that an old ghost lived there.
This made my motivation lead toward the contrary.
I decided to go, courage like mine was rare.

My book was in a hallway, old and lean,
My courage began to falter, just a bit.
The hallway was dark, looked in all ways mean,
And my confidence had just about quit.

The air conditioner growled like an old beast,
The bookshelves crammed, making it hard to see
If a ghost waited to make me his feast.
Then I heard a sound that frightened me;
An elevator bell, with no floor to find,
And I ran away, a laughing ghost behind.

"Untitled" by Chris McBride

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.

It turns out that the only thing scary that night was how good their sonnets are.
Stop on by next time for a post-Halloween writing fest. November 8th at 7:30. RFL Apartment. Honors Hall.


Happy Halloween! We're celebrating in Braxton Tower! We know it's early, but we just couldn't contain ourselves. We're meeting tonight in the Residential Annex at 7 p.m. See you there!

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

The Horror

Do you have a PRT horror story? Do you suspect that your professor’s really a werewolf? Does your roommate seem vampiric? Come share your very scary WVU stories tonight (10/4) at the Honors Dorm RFL Apartment.