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

Monday, April 8, 2013

Sun Sets on this Writing Parade—But not before the reading this Sunday!

As the last wisps of fall Bolton workshops in the Dadisman/Stalnaker hall fall over this crisp night, I will share some of the work I’ve gathered from our writers over the semester. Just two hours ago, we sat on RFL Debbi’s porch eating Al’s pizza, looking over Woodburn Hall to a pink sunset on one of the warmest nights of the year. We wrote anything we wanted with a few quotes from Basho, Chuck Klosterman, Jill Bialosky, and Chuck Palahniuk guiding our way. What came out was a memory of a raccoon stealing your backpack at age seven; a fast food drug deal; an ode to our fabulous RFL :); an ode to awkwardness; and a tender poem for a suffering friend. Oh, and I wrote about the sky, in typical MFA fashion.

Bob Ross says that the moneymaker of any seascape is that little spot of yellow in the waves—the sun’s reflection on the ocean. That sky tonight had an orange-sun moneymaker that stole the show—any other pink stripe or deafeningly blue cloud was upstaged by that sun. We took moments to compose ourselves looking at the quickly changing sky, and we were glad to share it, until many of our RA participants had to shuffle off because a fire alarm went off (don’t worry, there was no real fire).

Our writers are like that spot of sun, the showstoppers of these long school days at WVU.
Enjoy these few highlights from this semester.

An excerpt of Shannon Ballard’s poem that skillfully captures the suffering of a grieving woman:
“The pain is too great and I’m not that strong”

The words spill from her lips like the neverending
pour of the tears that burn down her cheeks
laying splayed upon the crumpled covers of the bed
surrounded by the crushing darkness that has
become her friend. Her breath puffs out a potent sigh
that makes her whole body shudder as the pain
settles in her chest like a weight pressing
down making each breath a labour.
“The pain is too great and I’m not that strong”
It echoes around the room bouncing in her ears
reminding her of how much it hurts,
just how weak she is.

Karli Neff’s anti-ode to physics. Notice how her clipped sentences express her annoyed tone-of-voice:

Oh Physics how I hate thee

It kills my brain
I can’t stand these days
I sit there for an hour
nothing makes sense
the formulas
the rules
it’s all ridiculous
there is no logic
there is no reason
it’s a waste of my time
if it never existed life would be glorious
It’s a trap that pulls me in
like a spider wanting to attack
then everything shuts down
and I want to run away
escape it and call it quits.

Nick Sturniolo’s comparison of a hospital and a funeral home. Notice his subtle humor and precision of image:

Hospitals are filled with sick, injured, dreary people, half of whom are probably trying to get a prescription for their “back pain.” The funeral home had three elderly gentlemen, smiling, even though I don’t know them they were smiling. The lights in the hospital are white and very bright, you have to stare at the floor to see. The rooms in the funeral home are filled with soft incandescent light being emitted from shaded lamps and chandeliers. Their furniture also resembles their light, soft colors, complex patterns and thick fur rugs, while the hospital is filled with laminated floors and furniture made out of plaster and metal.

There’s more where that came from. See you all at the Jim Daniels/Bolton Writers reading this Sunday, April 14, at 4pm in the Honors Hall!

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