Sunday, February 21, 2010

The Third Winter Is the Hardest

Choose one of the following to answer. Please post your response by noon, Sat., Feb. 27.

1) Describe the relationship between the straight and parenthetical passages in Martha Gellhorn's "The Third Winter." In other words, what is the function of each and how do they function in relation to each other?

2) Analyze an instance of Gellhorn's use of metaphor or simile. Include why she choose this image and whether or not it works and how or why.

Thursday, February 18, 2010

Juke Joint

Please respond to the post below by 4 p.m., Wednesday, March 2.

How does Walter Bernstein convey his feelings about Frankie's? Pick an image or phrase or device that you believe helps him get across to readers what he wants them to think about the bar. What is the dominant sense of the place Bernstein wants us to have? How does the technique or phrase (or whatever) you picked reflect that? Caveat: Each of you should pick something no one else has.

Wednesday, February 17, 2010

The Story of an Artist

The incomparable Daniel Johnson:

Story of an Artist

The incomparable Daniel Johnson:

Monday, February 15, 2010

Death in the Morning

The issue for a writer is how to close the gap, often yawning, between the writer's subject and the reader's experience. Give one example of how Richard Harding Davis creates reader admiration and/or sympathy for Rodriguez in his story. You should cite a specific image, description, etc., rather than make a general statement. Notice, too, how he leads us to feel quite the opposite about the Spaniards.

Please respond by 1 p.m. Wednesday, Feb 17.

Wednesday, February 10, 2010

How to Write a Story

Begin in the middle
with the screams

of something burning,
then insert nightfall

and a trail of bread crumbs
the crows will maliciously eat.

It’s important that there be
lost children, but the search dogs

should be tired, or even better,
dubious, and with no way

to stop the bleeding
in the region of the brain

that controls our tears.

What, according to this poem, are the key components of a well-written story? Does your projected story incorporate any of the components? Respond by five p.m., Sunday, February 14.

Friday, February 5, 2010

In the Beginning

Write the opening paragraph of your scene (that is, your story for LHW). Skip the David Copperfield crap, as Holden did. Please respond by 4 p.m., Wednesday, Feb. 10.

(Let's start in the middle -- that is, closer to the central conflict or tension. . . let's avoid elaborate descriptive setup; rather, put the "characters" in motion asap. . . don't summarize what people say when you can use dialog instead. . . if a character is important to the story, give a couple of descriptive details when you introduce him or her -- not at or toward the end of the piece. . . And, please, have a story worth telling. It seems to me Michelle's -- as edited -- comes close to this ideal.)

Tuesday, February 2, 2010


Morris Markey's literary journalism piece, "Drift," belongs to a genre referred to as "the procedural." To your mind, what characteristics of the piece make it an example of the genre? (Late addition: How does this help with or determine the structure/organization of the piece?)

Now, as early respondents have noted, the piece has a noir-ish atmosphere. What is the connection of that atmosphere to the point or theme of the piece?

Remember, we're practicing good writing here, not just literary analysis. Your comments should be crisp and clear. Avoid generalizations, tortured syntax, and muddy language.

Your response is due by noon, Sunday, Feb. 7.