Wilkes Residency 501: assignments #2-3

Assignment #2: fiction, 150 words maximum. Aztec writing, #12 Montezuma’s log, focus on VOICE.

Could he be a descendant of our God, Quetzalcoatl? This white man with dark hair on his face, Cortez? Unamito died at my feet to bring me the news; that is an ominous sign. He said Maliniche is with them, the white Gods. We outnumber them at least two-to-one, but if Cortez truly is a God, as Unamito has warned, it wouldn’t matter if we outnumbered them 100-to-one. The three birds and the hidden sun must have importance if my man, Queritzo, made sure that his runner mentioned them to me. White birds–white men–white God returns. Even if Cortez is not our God, his great magic hides the sun and causes the heavens to cry! My warriors are ready; if they confront a man, they will return with his head as a sacrifice to Quetzalcoatl. If they face a God, they will be the sacrifice to Him. May He be appeased.


Assignment #3: creative non-fiction (realistic fiction), 200 words maximum. “Flat and Round,” focus on CHARACTER.

“Shawna, get off that damn computer!”

Shawna rolled her eyes without realizing it. She paused her game and turned, yelling, “What, Mom?”

“Someone in the front needs you!” her mother called back.

Shawna sighed. She knew all funeral directors were weird (how could they not be?), but her mom was the worst. Always thinking about the customers.

“Fine, fine. I’m goin’.” Shawna heaved up out of her chair–the butt imprints never left since she sat there (“I gotta get to the next level!”) so often–and walked to the front desk. Shawna felt sympathetic to the people who came in here, but she wasn’t sorry for them. Everyone had someone who died. Then again, Shawna was deathly afraid of losing her mother, annoying or no.
Silvia, Shawna’s mother, was always thinking about the customers. Right now she was on the phone with a woman who’d just lost her father to a heart attack. The poor woman was hysterical.

Silvia’s voice was calm, collected, in charge. “Ma’am, it’s all right to cry. Don’t you worry about it, now. We’re goin’ to take good care of you here at Life’s Path Funeral Home. You just go ahead and let it out.”

Wilkes Residency 501: assignment #1

Assignment: drama (playwriting), about 1 page. “Trash or Treasure”, focus on IMAGE.

A sixty-ish mother and her twenty-something daughter are setting nick-nack-like things out on card tables on the elder woman’s front lawn.

DAUGHTER: This is a garage sale, Mom. Meaning… you know, that you actually sell stuff?

MOM: Yes, but–oooh, look at this! I remember when you were just a baby and you wore this for Halloween! You were so adorable in your little spotted make-up and whiskers.

D: Mom, please! I was two. Being a cat for Halloween was the pinnacle of my existence then, I’m sure, but that doesn’t mean we can’t sell the little cat ears and tail now.

M: But what about the memories? What about your children–?

D: I’m not having kids, remember?

M: Of course, of course, dear. Now, what about this? Do you want to keep this?

D: No. Mom, this is a garage sale for a reason.

M: But it’s your first grade lunch box! Look, the My Little Pony© picture’s nearly worn off ‘cause you loved it so much!

D: Give that to me. (pause) This isn’t mine, it was Bunny’s. She liked–

M: Don’t call her that. Your sister’s name is not “Bunny.” For heaven’s sake; who came up with that?

D: She did, Mom. Hey, hey, hey. Keep putting stuff out on the tables.

M: (sitting on a lawn chair) But what if the people who buy this stuff don’t love it as much as we do?

D: Don’t you mean, “love it as much as we did?”

M: What are you saying? You didn’t like your childhood? Your father spoiled you with all those cotton candy treats and late bedtimes.

D: This has nothing to do with being spoiled, Mom–

M: What? You don’t love your father and me any more?

D: Mom! No, that’s not what I said. We’re just trying to move you out of this house for now, okay? That means we have to part with some of our old stuff. Not all of it. Not the important stuff.

M: Your memories aren’t important?

D: They’re yours, Mom, not mine. I don’t remember being a cat for Halloween when I was only two!

M: (distraught sputtering, she stands)

D: Mom, calm down. Just because we’re selling some of our things doesn’t mean we’re selling our memories, too, okay? Just sit down again. Here, just sit there and I’ll get you a glass of iced tea. Do you want sugar, or no?

M: No sugar. Make sure to be careful with my nice glasses.

D: (patient sigh) I will, Mom. (she goes into the house)

M: (to a potential customer who just arrived) Good morning! Looking for anything in particular?

From Wilkes-Barre, pronounced “Wilks-Berry”

I’m sitting in the computer lab at Wilkes University not doing work (because I’ve already finished the assignment, not because I’m a slacker) well into the second day of an eight-day residency for my Master of Arts in Creative Writing program. Most of the stuff so far hasn’t been particularly brain bending (at least not for me), and I’m still exahausted from my commute up here from Lancaster yesterday. My bags were/are heavy and now there are rug burn-esque marks on my shoulder from carrying my stuff all day. I’m looking forward to the rest of the week and am REALLY glad that I was able to attend that IHS seminar last summer, if just for the fact that the hours are long this week (as they were in the seminar) and, for once in my life, I didn’t miss ANY required time at the seminar–so I know I can do it again here, where a lot more (of my) money is on the line.

I’ve got a room in an amazing apartment lined up in lower Manhattan (assuming that it’s not a scam, which I AM wary of; the renter is being a tad sketchy about the money, so we’ll see) and a phone interview sometime early this week. Things are looking up. I’ll keep you all posted when and if I have time.

To do-dee-do-dee-doo-doo-dooo

Homework for Wilkes
–Read “Becoming a Writer” by Dorthea Brande + chart
–Assigned reading in “Imaginative Writing”
–Writing assignments
Apply for work in NYC
–Check Craigslist/Monster/HotJobs/NYCbackpage
–Contact F&M Career Services
Find/secure an apartment
–Call people on page 2 of CityLeases pdf
Balance my checkbook
Get rid of my furniture
Write “Amish Otaku” article #2

DONE! (w/ date)
Read “On Writing” by Stephen King + chart (6/9)
Write “Amish Otaku” article #1 (6/11)
Keep in contact with Robert, Upper West Side; it fell through -_- (6/18)
Read “Writing Down the Bones” by Natalie Goldberg + chart (6/18)

First posted: 13 June 2007, 6:29 pm