Saturday, December 1, 2012
Discovery is an appropriate word for the night for we all found out something new about our characters. By thinking about the trajectory of a certain object in a character's life, we all found out new details about characters we thought we knew, and, as we discussed, when it comes to characters, details matter. Details are what make characters come to life, and having characters surprise us as writers, lets us know that our characters are finally coming into their own.
And so, armed with our newly found knowledge about our characters, we sat down to write. Some wrote a scene, others poetry, the point of it all was to write about that object and the character. The results were great: poems exploring time, scenes exposing the heart of the character. As we were winding down our writing, one Boltoneer wasn't quite done. She needed one more use of metaphorical language.
"Like a penguin, he waddled away," another Boltoneer suggested. It was the first thing that she thought of.
We all thought that it was such a striking image, we stuck the line to the end of all of our works (with a few cases of adjusting for tense, gender, etc). Suddenly, our discussion of character changed into a discussion of how details affect tone and meaning. We witnessed our scenes and poems change. We were shocked, surprised, and delighted. As the night ended, we said goodbye to our characters -- for the night, at least -- and because we all created such vivid, well-developed characters, they waved back. Like penguins, they waddled away.
This Sunday, 12/2, in the Honors Hall Dorm at 6 pm, students will read their work they created this semester. Be there! There might be penguins.
Until next semester, Boltoneers. Keep on writing!
Tuesday, November 27, 2012
We're discussing characters tomorrow for the Honors Hall Bolton Workshop. Come join us explore what makes a character so great. There will be crayons involved...and goodies. So, why don't you come join in on the Bolton fun at the Honors Hall, 7:30 pm, November 28?
Sunday, November 25, 2012
Join us 6:30pm, Thurs. Nov. 29, at Chaang Thai for our last meeting! We will meet at the RFL house and walk over. Hope to see you there. As always, free writing and company will accompany the food.
Even though this is our last workshop, keep in mind the final, group reading at the end of the semester! Get over your reading fears and share your work in a small group of others just like you.
Saturday, November 3, 2012
Join us this week, Wednesday, Nov. 7 at 6pm for fine dining and fine writing. Looking forward to our glorious thanksgiving vacation, we will use the dinners, disasters, and smells of your past to create edgy and fresh flash fiction. Throw in a tattooed lover-boy, a pet dragonfly, and whatever else you can imagine! See you there!
Sunday, October 28, 2012
Wednesday, October 17, 2012
Notice how Garrett Hooton captures suspense and tension:
You wake up in your dorm room The morning is still and cold. You sense something different about this day. You disregard this feeling and go about your day. As you’re walking, you notice a faint whirring sound. You look around, and no one seems to be paying attention to it. You turn back around and notice you’re now alone. The group you were following behind is gone. You notice the whirring sound again. This time it’s louder and intensifies with each second. It grows to be all you can hear and you realize it’s the sound of a voice--your mother’s voice--screaming--the sound continues to grow. It is now a horrifying shriek. It stops. You look around, still alone, still calm and cold, but day has become night. Pitch black darkness. You woke up in your dorm room. The morning is still and cold.
Notice how Alexis Noé uses questions to access the surreal:
This place is mine. These are my things. Why is it still so strange? The carpet is a soothing blackberry color, very soft and comfortable. My bed, yes my bed, is like a cloud. So why is everything still so wrong? Everything is in its place, yet nothing has a place.
The lights flick off. The darkness is like a needle in my eye for a moment. It is so instant. My loss of sight causes me to listen closely. What is that whir sound over there? Or was it an echo from the hallway? Could it be someone’s voice?
I gather my thoughts and calm myself. This is silly. As my vision slowly returns, I venture across the blackberry sea and climb up the edge of the cliff to my fluffy cloud bed. I gaze into dark and see it all. Everything that is wrong. It will be another restless night ahead.
Notice how Jonathan Serino brings rhyme to the streets:
The moon was shining on the street
Shining with all her might
Glowing through the clouds
To illuminate the fight.
A whisper came and went but
No ear would hear the word
And as he slowly closed the gap, came a sound;
a quicked whir.
Two minutes time then all was still
Lest for his nervous tick
And to the blackberry colored blade
He gave a single, sickly lick.
Notice how Jamie Winter captures the senses and finds comfort:
I feel like I’m falling off a cliff;
with pins and needles in my arms and legs.
There is a whir in the background;
sounds like home.
My mother’s voice calling me;
I feel like I’m lying on a cloud.
The smell of blackberries enters my nose;
I lick my lips.
When I lick my lips;
My mother has made me breakfast.
Join us Wednesday, Nov. 7 for more freewrite fun!
Friday, October 12, 2012
And so it is in writing, especially poetry. We read a few poems, paying attention to how they illustrated abstract ideas like first love or grief. We marveled, really (and how can you not marvel at William Meredith's "The Illiterate" or Tomas Transtromer's "After a Death"?). We then tried to write about an abstraction ourselves. We each got an abstract idea, wrote a poem, and then the others had to guess what the abstraction was. As we heard each poem filled with striking images and incantatory repetition, it was clear -- these Boltoneer poets had conquered abstraction. Long live the concrete detail!
Below is one of the poems born out of an abstraction.
Monday, October 8, 2012
And we even let the sounds of Debbi's dog, the smell of the barbeque chicken, and the sweet chill of Cold Stone ice cream creep into our senses to unleash on the page.
Hope to see you all this week for dinner and an exploration of spookiness through poetry--what new, weird things in Morgantown, in your dorm room, haunt you? Have you ever been actually scared on Halloween? How do we choose an ending for a poem when our life's endings are so uncertain? Bring your pens and smiles! It's okay to be dark when there's warm food on the table.
See you Thursday, Oct. 11 at 6:00!
Sunday, September 30, 2012
At the Honors Hall's first Bolton session, we discussed the necessity of finding that balance between the unique and the common. The flash nonfiction that emerged demonstrated that these Boltoneers were good at finding it. Besides the experiences mentioned above, the Honors Hall created some amazing flash nonfiction pieces. One Boltoneer wrote about the strange stillness of walking into an empty dorm. Another wrote about the anticipation of gathering together for dinner. Another wrote about the anxiety of that first night, the urge to call someone familiar. Another about a man sitting on a bench on High Street. What grounded all of these great works, though, was another crucial quality that good writing needs: clear, vibrant voices.
We ended the night with the first every Honors Hall nonfiction face off. Very valuable prizes of Spiderman bubbles and playdough were awarded to three very talented writers. It seemed impossible to choose.
Come join us for our next session, this Thursday, October 4th at 7 pm in the RFL apartment. We'll be creating scary poems, and there might just be more prizes and treats! Thanks for kicking off the Bolton season with a great session, Honors Hall. I can't wait to see more of your work!
Saturday, September 29, 2012
Saturday, September 22, 2012
In Brooke Tower with Rebecca Childers: September 10, October 1, October 29, November 12
In Summit Hall with Rebecca Doverspike: September 27, October 4, October 25, November 29
In Arnold Hall with Connie Pan: September 20, October 4, October 25, November 29
In Dadisman/Stalnaker Halls with Christina Seymour: September 27, October 11, November 7, November 29
In the Honors Hall with Rebecca Thomas: September 6, September 20, October 4, November 8
Friday, September 21, 2012
- I like meeting new people...writing...creating things I never dreamt I could do!
- I liked all of it...I especially liked how it was laid-back.
- It made me feel really creative.
- The food...funny topics...the conversation...it's so much fun!
Wednesday, September 19, 2012
The first ever Honors Dorm Nonfiction Face Off had to be put on hold last session. So, come one, come all to the Honors Dorm on Thursday, September 20th at 7 pm for the first ever Honors Dorm Nonfiction Face Off (for reals this time), RFL Apartment. The winner will still receive a very exciting prize!
Wednesday, September 5, 2012
It's hard to believe that a summer has already passed us by, but try as I might to deny it, it has. An upside to this? Bolton is back, I'm looking forward to another year of working with the Honors Dorm, starting with our very first session tomorrow.
For our first session, we will delve into flash nonfiction with the first ever Honors Dorm Nonfiction Face Off. The winner will receive a very exciting prize!
Can't make tomorrow? Our other dates are: September 20th, October 4th, and November 8th. All times are at 6:30 in the RFL apartment. Hope to see you all there!
Write on, Boltoneers!
Sunday, August 19, 2012
This time around we'll have workshops in Arnold, Dadisman/Stalnaker, Honors, and Summit on the downtown campus, and at Braxton and Brooks on Evansdale.
More info soon---we promise!
Thursday, April 26, 2012
We're looking forward to hearing your work... and there'll be special surprises for all our readers.
Hope to see you there!
Tuesday, April 24, 2012
Friday, April 13, 2012
Thursday, April 12, 2012
After chatting, I explained the workshop would be dedicated to character sketches. I passed out blank sheets of paper, and a couple of groans surfaced. A reluctant voice from afar mumbled, "We're not drawing again are we?" Laughter, and I joined. I'll be honest. I wanted to mess with them a little; a character sketch is when you draw a character with number two pencils . . . Just kidding! I informed them they wouldn't, in fact, be drawing. After a "phew," I continued. They would be introducing a character in a moment in time--with words. Ideally, character sketches give the audience a strong mental image of the character, how they speak, their way of doing things, and an idea of their value system. It's called a sketch, because it avoids the character's whole history.
But what were flying papers about in my sneak-peek reminder blog? Well, it was how they found their inspiration! How the flying papers went down: Each person sat with a piece of paper in front of them. First, I asked them to write a place and a first name, then pass. Second, I asked them to write a last name, then pass. Third, I asked them to write three physical attributes, two adjectives, two nouns, and two verbs, then pass. Fourth, I asked them to write an everyday task, two lines of dialogue, and three lines of interior monologue, then pass. Fifth, I asked them to write one deep, dark secret, and one no-no, something the character would never do, then pass one last time.
With the paper they held in their hand, that amalgamation of information, the Arnoldite Boltoneers' jobs were to create memorable characters, and did we meet some characters! Roxanne Jarvis, a tall, green-eyed chain-smoking people-watcher. Sean Mizkophski, a mysterious red-haired man, who grew up on the streets with his mom, and would never ever hit a woman. Eve Boviar, a shy girl with blue-streaked hair, who must shower every morning and every night to function. And Masha Meduzot, a sterile green-and-gold-eyed woman, who has fallen in love with her brother.
With that said, it has been a fun and creative semester at Arnold with some interesting and talented characters. I look forward to seeing everyone at the Bolton Showcase! Thank you for the great year.
Tuesday, April 10, 2012
When I Write, There's a Sonnet Boom!
By: Joshua Carnes
Tonight, I walked through rain to find her.
Again, reminded of its inconvenience.
My sight is blocked despite my desire.
But in my frustration, I find no difference.
Like the rain, she to my heart is long awaited.
She quenches my soul as though it were dust.
She is my bane and with every breath anticipated
My vision is blurred with overwhelming Lust.
One day, we will meet again when my intentions are true.
Mark my words, Fate--who keeps us separated.
That day you will fail, since the idea is not yet new.
What I feel is like a war vet but more decorated.
The war is fought for Love, and it is omnipresent.
No beginning, no end--my heart has been drafted.
By: Andrew Poszich
Alone, I wait upon this girl to come,
Laudable charm has left me in dismay.
I stare at my phone, what have I become?
My mind blank, I don't know what to say.
The rain pours down against the window pane,
Time slowly ticks by, where can this girl be?
I fret that my waiting will be in vain.
I thought this time would be different for me.
Distraught I feel, to nothing else compared.
It's getting dark now, desolate my heart.
Question her actions? Would I even dare?
Too bad it's getting late, I must depart.
Tomorrow, tomorrow, and tomorrow,
I will see her and be wrought with sorrow.
Sunday, April 8, 2012
Friday, March 23, 2012
Wednesday, March 21, 2012
For the next step of the activity, I pulled a lifelike ceramic owl I scored from an estate sale out of my bag. An A-ha and some Oh’s filled the room. “Now, draw the owl,” I said. Pens moved furiously. Even the swear-by-stick-figure folks looked a little more confident. When they were done, they held up their before drawings and their after drawings. Can you guess which ones were better? (These after owls were owls down to the feathers.)
I bet you know the lesson, right? Draw from life, and your drawing will be more realistic. But this lesson crosses fields, too. Write from life, and your writing will be more realistic. When I was eight, my first novel was set in California, a state I had never been to. Now, ninety-nine percent of my writing takes place in Maui, my hometown. Can you guess which fiction is better? (Maybe time deserves a little bit of credit, too.) Our drawing activity and the “Write what you know” speech led to a discussion about details: the “not-so-good” details, cliches and rocky descriptions; the “useful” details, the must-know things that are simple but may be viewed as lackluster by some; and the “golden” details, the details that brand brains and stick with the audience long after they’re done reading.
To finish the night, at the top of the gray lined papers we are accustomed to, each of us wrote something that could be described: a trip to the emergency room, a gun after a day on the range, a blind dog, my car, and holding a grandson. I set a timer for two minutes, and we passed our papers to the right. Then, each of us had two minutes to describe what was at the top of our paper with the intention of writing a “golden” detail. When the timer beeped, we passed our papers to the right again and continued. We did this until we finally described our own thing-that-could-be-described. Of course with the timer running, there was a lot of pressure involved. I assured everyone, if they shot for “golden,” worse thing that could happen is that they would land among the stars or among “useful” details or, sometimes, among “not-so-good” details, but something is better than nothing, right? We were writing!
*This activity is based on an activity by Dave Eggers titled “Details (Golden), Character (Immortal) & Setting (Rural India).”
Monday, March 19, 2012
Friday, March 16, 2012
Saturday, March 3, 2012
Saturday, February 25, 2012
Monday, February 20, 2012
By: Ducan Manor
I went to Karaoke Night at Braxton Tower. I thought it would be night to sing. The songs I decide to sing were “That Summer” by Garth Brooks and “Drops of Jupiter” by Train. I got more than I bargained for when women started handing me their newborn children.
My Grandfather’s Room
By: Lucinda Harris
One year ago, my family lost someone very dear to us. During his final months, my grandmother stayed by his side in the Rosenbaum House by the hospital. Soon, he passed away, and my grandmother moved back home. Through a generous donation from his extended family, the Rosenbaum House was able to get a new playroom for the children. Anyone who knew my grandfather, knew he loved children. This month, I finally got to see that playroom. His spirit was alive through bright colors and a huge window overlooking Morgantown. The best part of the room was a picture of him and my two nieces hanging above a plaque that read “In Memory of Roger P Gandee.”
The Day I Bought Kid Sized Clothes…Again
By: Moses Ajemigbitse
Fool me once, shame on you. Fool me twice, shame on me, or so they say. Shame on me anyway. It was a sub-zero temperature day in January. Ironically, the perfect weather for snow football. Wesley set up a wonderful excuse for a bunch of college boys to dress up warm and run around in the snow like they boys they still were. I decided to be part of it. In preparation for the game, I asked Danny to drive me to Wal-Mart to purchase cheap thermal clothing. In Wal-Mart, it took us awhile to find thermal clothing. And when we did, being the engineers we are, we decided the best way to look through a rack of clothes is by taking it down. After I found a suitable color and size, we put the rack back up and checked out.
Fast forward a few hours. Right before the game, I took the thermal underwear out of the bag and opened the packet. Instead of a size L for men, it was a size L for boys. Fantastic!
Preview: A Month of Love--writing sonnets and navigating character relationships on the page. Our next meeting is Feb. 21 at 8 p.m. We're in the JB Lounge located in Towers. As always...FREE FOOD!