“December Moon” by M. Neidlinger – Thoughts

I think December Moon by Mike Neidlinger was an interesting short story. I have to say, it did feel like we were reading a journal entry from a war veteran that was able to make it out of this chaotic war. With that being said, I think it would be really cool if Mike did continue this short in that form. Maybe with dates and other implications stating that this could be a journal entry. I also think this could be the prologue or even a small introduction before the actual first chapter starts. I think because it is short enough but does give us insight on what is happening. Obviously, this is my interpretation so maybe I have it wrong from Mike’s vision of what he wanted to convey from his storytelling.

I did really like the amount of detail added to this short story. I think I was able to visualize the scenes where the narrator was being shot at up on land and I was able to imagine the way the humid air felt that night for him. Like a thick, moisture in the air that can feel like you are being choked. I liked that details like these were added to give us more of a connection to this character so we understand more of what they are going through. It makes the experience a lot more real for the readers this way. For me in particular, I was raised in Florida so I know all about the way humid weather can be uncomfortable for many people– especially if you are not accustomed to it. For me, a detail like this makes me feel more connected to the narrator and their environment.

I think this short story could be continued in so many ways so I do hope Mike does so. I do wish there was more context about the pre-war era so that we could maybe understand what kind of enemies the narrator is up against. I assume the enemies are nothing of this word because there are phantoms and we even had a creature featured who was fire breathing. I think having a little more context about where these people or monsters came from would help us a little with connecting what is going on now. Maybe a location and a time period would be helpful, too.

I did really enjoy the story though because I feel like there are many places you could take it as the author or even the reader. As I previously stated, I interpreted this story or the first chapter of a novel as a journal entry. I am sure there are plenty of people that thought much differently about this text. So, as a reader, I think your imagination could take this text anywhere. The author, Mike, can also add in whatever he pleases, too. Overall, it was a good piece of writing and I hope Mike continues this story.

“Foolish Intentions” by R. Usher – Thoughts

I think Foolish Intentions by Rylee Usher was a short story that left me wanting more. I felt like the protagonist, Alice, based off of what we know about her, was consistently making poor choices. I mean, I think we all can relate with some of the things Alice does but sleeping late everyday and not having an appetite screams that Alice could be missing something in her life. She may even be depressed. Alice also seems like she does not work and has not worked in a while due to lack of experience. It is ironic considering you can’t really get a job without experience but you have to get a job for the experience. I just wonder what her source of income may be or does she rely on her roommate for everything? These do sound like poor choices to be making five years out of high school.

I do wonder why she is this way and does her roommate make an effort to break her out of this cycle? Maybe the person who sent the package was her roommate. The readers were never told about where her roommate had gone but we do know that her roommate would be gone for a few weeks and would not be coming back for a while. What if Alice’s roommate actually had malintentions and decided to send it to Alice, expecting it could cause harm. I could maybe have it all wrong. Maybe her roommate sent a gift to her to cheer her up and get her out of this repetitive life she has. But why would there not be a note? The lamp does make me wonder since the story ends as Alice was finally going to use the lamp but instead falls over and hits her head. I think I would maybe categorize the ending as anticlimactic since nothing really happened here. I do wish Rylee continued the story with maybe a paragraph or even a sentence that would have given us something to think about. For all we know, Alice could be dreaming right now since sleep has always been something she was able to do. Of course, this is my opinion but I felt like I needed more to say if I enjoyed this short story or not. I could be missing something or overlooking the story but I do wish there was more here for me.

A Chaotic Circus Review

Regarding A Fantastical Day At Your Average Circus by Jack Klima, I really enjoyed the whole short story. I felt that I was really in the circus that was described. I could feel the excitement like I was actually there in the audience with my own turkey leg in hand. Honestly, I have not been to the circus since I was a little kid so this really brought memories back to life for me. I really appreciated the description and some of the realistic elements that are sad to admit about a circus — the abuse some animals may have gotten from their tamers. It is very sad but true in some shows. I love that the tamer got what was coming to him and the hero, Frederick, was able to serve up justice in such a humorous way. At the end, Frederick says to come back next week for more entertainment. I just wonder, how often has he done this?

 I loved how much humor was put into the story from the Frederick Falcon was able to save the day to the mini intermission or nap that the narrator allowed us to have while he was watching his favorite act. I also think the humor is carried through within the title. I think Jack really knew what he was doing with the title. This “average circus” was far from being average. This day was also not as “fantastic” for the lion tamer or anyone who bought a ticket to the show for the day. I think the ironic title makes the overall experience of reading this short story more enjoyable.

I really hope Jack makes a second part of this short story, A Fantastical Day At Your Average Circus because it was truly hilarious. It would be neat if he was able to write a couple stories that stretched over a few weeks at a time. Maybe Frederick Falcon says an animal every week, making the tamers’ lives a living hell. I would not be surprised if the tamers came together to hire a bird bigger than a falcon to try to defeat our hero. Anyway, I think Jack could go a couple ways with this and I do hope he can continue writing short stories like these because they are very funny. 

However, I do wonder why the Frederick Falcon was at the circus but not part of the circus. Was he an escaped animal from one or the acts? Is he a national hero in his community? If Jack does continue this story, hopefully he can touch on some of these questions.

“Blind” by A. Crouse – My Interpretation

To begin, reading the three short stories in Erratic Behaviors by Alison Crouse was rather different from what most other people wrote about. I did enjoy all three but I think Blind, the third of the three short stories, was my favorite. I have to say that this story was sad but I felt like we could connect with this narrator more than the other two stories. I say this because we are literally in the head of the narrator. The previous two stories, Bullseye and Shoreline, had a narrator and an additional character that they had to account for in order for the reader to understand what their part in the story really was. However, in Blind, we see a narrator that is completely fixed on their own motives. I find that this allows us to see deeply into the character more than if the character or narrator is also fixed on other people most of the time. We can see very clearly that the narrator was a corrupted person who needed help, not a troubled kid messing around with their friends in this story. Anyway, I am okay with the story going either way but I did appreciate that element about the third short story, Blind.

I would have to say that Blind is also my favorite short story within the three because I think we have all seen a movie or read another story like this one. It was very unique because it came from Alison but when I read this short story, I could not help but think about seeing or  reading a story very similar to this one where a psycho is obsessed with their partner and will stop at nothing to ensure that they are the center of attention in their partner’s eyes. I still did enjoy this short very much but I can’t help but think about connecting it to other readings.

Lastly, I found that the title being “Blind” was very fitting for a couple of reasons. One being that the narrator is figuratively blind to the fact that she does not need to commit crime or destroy things around her partner to make herself his or her priority. Also, it seems that the victim in this story, the previous dog owner, had been through this before. When the narrator said that they had stitched the fur into one of their own, I assumed that they may have done something like before because they already had something prepared to carry out this deed. Also, the previous dog owner was crouched into a corner when the narrator came in. This reminds me of what people who have trauma do when something they experienced comes up or triggers them. It also appears that this person in the corner is blind and bounded to the narrator. These are just some thoughts and my interpretations of certain things.

“The Bar Keep” by P.R. – My Opinion

Regarding The Bar Keep by Patrick Rogers, I really liked how descriptive this short story was. I really could visualize everything Patrick intended us to see through his writing in this story. All the way from the first paragraph that simply described Michael smoking a cigarette to the very last part about Michael finally leaving the meeting with Peter and leaving the money clip in the chair. I honestly do appreciate it as a reader. In my personal opinion, I felt like the description was a little much sometimes. Of course, this is my thoughts but I feel like some things that were described didn’t need as much detail as it was given. I remember earlier this semester, we read a story that had an absolutely excessive description of something as simple as a building on every page. One student, I believe it was Jack, mentioned that the author was using so many repetitive words and descriptions to show off that they could. I sort of felt this way about this story but I still did really enjoy it. The descriptive writing is just something I would want a little less of.

If I’m being honest, I knew about Michael being dead around page two well before he was shown the computer by Peter with his body in the hospital from the drunken car crash. Maybe I watch a lot of movies where plots are similar to this one but I was able to clearly understand what was going on when Peter revealed the amount of information he had Michael and Peter would not say who he was. To me, this reads as either the after life or an abduction by a secret service. But when Michael stated that he didn’t remember coming into the office and Peter had never been past his office, it was very clear to me. However, I was not sure if Michael had been in heaven or hell. I guess the story does answer my question sort of. The door that Michael went through must have led to one or the other. But overall, I thought it was obvious that Michael had been dead or a fall-down-drunk who lost his memory and cellphone. 

Lastly, I would like to point out that I wish Patrick continued the story just a little further. I really was curious about whether Michael had gone to heaven or hell and what this would mean to him. Leaving us to interpret the ending and thinking about what was behind the door is so unfair! I do hope Patrick does continue this story because I am sure we’re all curious about what will happen next for Michael. Regardless, I think Patrick ended the story really well. It left me wanting to continue reading his story if there was more to see. Leaving your reader to interpret an ending would open doors for conversation but now we want more so a job well done, Patrick. I hope you continue this short story or make a second part to follow it.

Thoughts on “I don’t get it.” By M. North

Reading I don’t get it. by Madison North was very touching. Even though it was so short, I thought a lot had happened and I felt like I learned so much about Luke and Kayla within those four and a half pages. First of all, I would like to know more about the relationship between Luke and Kayla. Are they cousins, close friends or dating? When I first read it, I assumed Luke might be older than Kayla since he will be off to college very soon. But then I thought maybe Kayla chose a different path for her career besides college. Regardless, I think understanding their relationship a little more would have made the impact of their conversation differently. I say this because, for example, if Luke and Kayla were dating, maybe this would be the break up in their story. Maybe this is the last Kayla saw of Luke because they sort of ended things here. Another option is if they’re friends or close friends. I feel like I would perceive their argument more like something that may have been building up and this is the tension finally being released. These are just thoughts, obviously and the scenarios could apply for various relationships. But I feel like the last part of their argument would have a different impact if we understood their relationship a little further.

As I read it, I enjoyed the contrasting characters between Luke and Kayla. So, at first, Kayla seemed like a wild soul who follows whatever her heart desires. On the other hand, Luke reminded me of the “responsible friend” or the “dad” of the friend group who looks out for their buddies. But when I kept reading, I started to understand more that Luke and Kayla were only dealing with this sorrow in different ways. Kayla wanted to be more expressive of ignoring the obvious while it seemed like Luke wanted a distraction. Well, I think they both didn’t really want to express their true feelings but it came out anyway. I think Kayla and Luke were both looking for a distraction through alcohol, pizza or even their unsafe car ride. Regardless, I think both of these two were looking for a way out to avoid the sorrow they were feeling.

I also really liked the line that was consistently repeated about Luke, “He doesn’t get it”. Kayla also has the same thoughts about the elder lady at the end that saw the fight between the two of them, “She doesn’t get it.” is then used. I found it ironic because the story is called “I don’t get it.” I assume all of this being a disconnection between the characters being Kayla, Luke and briefly the little old lady toward the end. Kayla and Luke clearly had different viewpoints as to how Margot should be handling her chemotherapy. Kayla believes Margot should push through and be strong because it is selfish to give on life, leaving loved ones broken without you. On the other hand, Luke has an opposing view as Margot is in a lot of pain and should think of herself here because Margot is the one suffering. I think they both have good points but that disconnection between them understanding each other’s perspectives is what they do not get.  This is a sensitive topic and I do not know if I can agree with just one of them. I think they are both correct in their own way but I would have to say that neither of them understand each other. I believe that is the it that they do not get.

Reflection on the “One Sentence” Story Format

I would also like to reflect on the beginning of the semester very briefly. The first reading assignment and one of our first writing prompts was about the VERY short story, The Dinosaur. For me, I found the exercise to be very difficult to write a one sentence story, so well, that it could cause a productive class discussion. Now, I still do feel the same way but I have to say that I have learned that getting a draft down to figure out where your writing is going is a massive part of the writing process. As an example, I had to write a final essay for one of my classes this semester. I really had a couple great thoughts on what I wanted my thesis to be. However, I just could not formulate my thesis the way I wanted to in my head. I actually took a few minutes to grab a pen and a piece of paper to literally write down my thesis. I would write down my thoughts together and a few words here and there to make it make sense. I repeated this a few times before I was finally comfortable with my statement. No joke, this took me at least five or six tries.

My point in relating this to the original “one sentence” story prompt is that I believe that the process would be easier for me now that I have a real method to apply in order to achieve the result I want. I have tried to apply this writing process whenever I see fit and it really helped me. Back in high school, I never would have tried to write a “shitty first draft” because I would be worried about the quality of my writing. But no one really introduced the idea that I had to have a bad first draft to achieve that quality piece of writing. I am just grateful that I understand that now.

Workshop Assignment Thoughts

To begin, I would like to say again that reading my fellow classmates’ work this past semester has been pretty special. I really felt that sense of community in our class. A person sharing their writing is not easy for everyone. Based on discussions we have had in this very class, I understand that most of us did not really feel all that comfortable with others reading their work, like myself. I know this can be a touchy subject for certain people due to fear of judgement of quality or even the overall content of the writing being presented. I think I can be that person in some situations so I could relate with how they felt. I think that is the main reason I shied away from submitting my short story for a workshop in class.

Regardless, I’m really happy we were able to examine different students and their writing. It sort of made me feel normal because I think I shared common themes with them in how we would write and what we would write. Other students had completely different writing styles and it was pretty cool to see that firsthand. I hope that everyone in this class continues to grow as the amazing writers they are. Hopefully, in the future, when I take another writing class, I will be more open for judgment and constructive feedback from my peers. Obviously this can be scary in any event but I should give it a try before finishing college.

Workshop Submission Feedback – Thoughts

I really enjoyed the opportunity to read my fellow classmates’ workshops and getting to know them as writers. It was also reassuring to see that they had similar concerns, questions and comments as I did in class about writing. I think it was pretty cool having workshops in the class like we did with famous authors. Not to mention we did practice these analyses in class for the first half of the semester, it seemed a lot easier talking about our writing and all of our processes.

I do regret not having my story go through a workshop session this semester but I still did receive some really good constructive feedback about my story. I feel like the feedback I received would definitely help me write more. If I could go back to my workshop submission with some of the questions from my feedback, I would change a few things. For one, I wish I had gone into more depth about certain details regarding Andrea, my protagonist. I feel like I did a lot of narrating through Andrea to discuss the story but I think I forgot to speak more about her character. I sort of modeled Andrea after myself in a way. One thing I typically don’t do is talk about myself very often. I think I carried this attitude into my writing without knowing. If I were to go back and edit this, I would really try to incorporate more Andrea into the first chapter such as including her hobbies, interests, passions and more. I think this would allow the reader to connect a lot better with the protagonist and even relate to her.

Another element I would alter would be about Andrea’s motive for the makeover. After all, the story is literally called Makeover. I think I should have added more that would have hinted toward Andrea’s makeover being more for herself but also to passively take revenge. So in short, Andrea would want to take revenge and this story would be talking about her new style and how this new chapter in her life is now open. I would have to rethink this text more and consider my protagonist more often when writing. I think I was really hung up on trying to set up the plot and setting that I sort of missed on other categories. Still, it is really great to receive such good feedback on the first chapter so I know where to go if I want to continue writing this short story one day.

I even thought as far as to have Jasmine finally become her friend at the end but I have not decided yet. I think I need to continue writing the chapters in between before the final chapter to really tell. I kind of feel like it would be cliche to allow Jasmine and Andrea to become friends. I am not really sure what I would have to do to change my mind about this idea but I guess it will take some time to truly know. Regardless, I am really grateful for the feedback I received and I do hope to possibly continue the short story this summer.

Thoughts on Creative Writing

To begin, I would have to admit that my perception of creative writing has definitely changed versus the first day of class. To be honest, I never really enjoyed this genre of writing. I do like writing, though. I always found myself writing the best when I was able to follow a prompt typically for persuasive writing or an informative essay. Basically, anything that school would academically prepare you for. I have not had a creative writing class since middle school so this class was a little out of my element. I soon realized that creative writing was not as bad as I thought it would be. I almost thought that something like writing for ten minutes a day would be useless but I soon began to see a difference in how easily inspiration would come to me. Even if my writing was not very organized or simply weird, I was able to get something down on paper to edit and play with. After all, this is part of the writing process.

I also have turned the small assignment of trying to creatively write for ten minutes a day into a hobby now! I have a job at a college prep program mentoring first generation college students. Our program is called TRIO Upward Bound and I am an alumnus (Class of 2019). I work there now as a Tutor-Counselor helping kids with homework, being a social/emotional support, and more. We run after school help and Saturday sessions in the fall and spring semesters and summer programs when they’re out of school. Anyway, we tend to journal with our kids for about ten minutes every Saturday. I found that this was the most relaxing, productive way for me to write. Of course the prompts help stimulate my mind but I feel like I can do more on those days. So, I think as a new form of self-care, I will be doing creative writing in my journal from now on. A quiet setting with relaxing music is probably the best environment for me. I find even calling it “journaling” instead of creative writing is also less intimidating for me.

So, overall, the whole idea of creative writing was never really something I used to be very interested in but I am thankful that I took this class and now understand the value in it better. This semester, I also took an Intro to American Writing course along with this one. I have to say, I enjoyed this class a lot more. It is ironic because I typically prefer expository writing over free writing. However, I felt like I had a different experience with this class that allowed me to see creative writing a little differently. I also really liked the Intro to American Writing course, too. But if I had to pick, this class made me want to write a lot more than the other. I’m grateful I was able to have this experience and I can’t wait to see where my creative pen takes me next.