Tag Archives: Writing

Overwhelmed? Try Taking it “Bird by Bird”

Posted by Emma Raupp, Poetry Reader for 8.1

Writing only seems simple. Each day we casually compose texts, tweets, posts, and reviews but as soon as we’re expected to break out our professional writer’s voice for an assignment, the pressure is on. Despite my experience writing papers for high school and college, I still find myself staring at a blank Word document, struck by the need to write something brilliant, but terribly unsure of where to begin. I can see a fuzzy mental image of all the brilliant points I want to make; however, I’m so overwhelmed by my ambitions that I’m having trouble materializing it. The confidence I’ve carefully curated over the years evaporates, leaving lackluster doubt where my words should be. Sound familiar? Well, read on.

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Finding Inspiration Through Sylvia Plath’s Poetry

Posted by Aliyha Gill, Poetry Reader for 8.1

As a poet, I’m always looking for inspiration from other writers. I search for words, images, and techniques that I can borrow and make my own. So when I recently found myself in a writing rut, I dove into the poetry section of Barnes & Noble. Once I discovered Sylvia Plath’s poetry, I quickly noticed how it was riddled with enticing lines. Pen in hand, I jotted down every word or phrase that caught my eye. By the time I was finished, I’d read her poetry collections “Ariel” and “The Colossus” in their entirety. As a whole, her poems have melancholy tones, including “Morning Star,” which was written for her daughter, Frieda. Her stanzas are relatively short and her poems rarely exceed three pages. Plath tended to personify nature in her writing. She writes, “whoever heard a sunset yowl like that,” “let the stars Plummet to their dark address” (“Magi”), “the moon is my mother. She is not sweet like Mary,” (“Purdah”), and  “by day, only the topsoil heaves” (“The Colossus”) are all great examples of this technique. 

I also noticed that she used the following words/phrases in more than one poem:

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Fearing the Unknown: Let Your Characters Guide the Way

Posted by RebeccaWilliamson, GD Fiction Editor for  8.1

 

Road at night

I could barely see a few feet in front of me. Maybe that’s an exaggeration, but the streetlights provided little light as my friend and I walked down Main Street. The chilly air wrapped around me like a blanket, and I shivered when the dark shadows moved to my left. I told my friend I was scared of the dark, but quickly retracted my statement. I wasn’t scared of the dark; I feared what could be lurking in it. I feared the unknown.

That’s how I felt that night walking down Main Street waiting for something to jump out at me. That’s how I feel when I’m lying in bed at night and I hear a loud bang and wonder if someone is in the house. Mostly, I’ve realized that’s how I feel about my writing.

How could a person fear their own writing? Continue reading

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Writing into Your Fear

Posted by Hannah McSorley, GD Fiction Reader for 7.1

At the beginning of this semester I decided I was going to do things that I was scared to do—and number one on that list: write a creative nonfiction essay about being born without some of the muscles in my left leg.

This is not a new topic for me. In fact, most of my early childhood writing attempts took on this topic. Despite my numerous attempts to use writing, specifically fiction, as a tool to understand and communicate my experience, I always ended up abandoning what I’d written. This time I decided that nonfiction was the way to approach this material. I determined that I would see my essay through to a final draft, even if I decided not to share it. Continue reading

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The Art of Rejection

Posted by Bri Forgione, GD Poetry Editor for 7.1

Rejection is everywhere. Rejection is inevitable. We experience it in relationships, job interviews, writing submissions, and much more. Some experience rejection more than others, and some people handle it in different ways from one another. When it comes to rejection in creative writing, I believe it helps make a stronger writer. In her poem “One Art,” Elizabeth Bishop writes “the art of losing isn’t hard to master.” “Lose something every day,” she advises, “Then practice losing farther, losing faster.” In terms of rejection, we want Elizabeth Bishop to be right. However, we often find ourselves feeling disheartened and hearing the same seven words, “Don’t worry. You’ll get used to it,” doesn’t help. Continue reading

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Revision: The Gift that Keeps on Giving (me sleepless nights)

Posted by Connor Keihl, GD Creative Non-Fiction Editor for 7.1

Last semester, Spring 2018, I took a fiction workshop with Professor Kristen Gentry. I was excited to try my hand at fiction. However, this was a particularly interesting workshop because we were told that we’d only be writing one story for the entire semester. Working with one story over the course of fifteen weeks meant dedicating plenty of time to revision.

Neil Gaiman, author of Coraline, defined what he sees as the process of revision: “finish the short story, print it out, then put it in a drawer and write other things. When you’re ready, pick it up and read it, as if you’ve never read it before. If there are things you aren’t satisfied with as a reader, go in and fix them as a writer: that’s revision.” This is a sentiment I’ve heard echoed by many different writers, but often, for students, this process isn’t an option. Continue reading

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GVCA’s New Deal Writing Competition

Posted by Connor Keihl, GD Creative Non-Fiction Editor for 7.1

The Genesee Valley Council on the Arts is hosting their fourth annual New Deal Writing Competition! This is a short story competition where the writer is asked to use a painting chosen by the staff of GVCA as inspiration for their short story. For this year’s competition, we have selected Jacques Zucker’s “Fountain, Central Park” from our New Deal art gallery as your inspiration. The painting chosen is featured below.

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Titles Are Hard—But We Can Make Them Easier

Posted by William Antonelli, GD Fiction Reader for 6.2

Over the past few years, I’ve participated and had my work critiqued in countless writing workshops, each one varying in both content and usefulness. There’s only so much that university students, most of them amateur or beginning writers, can comment on in half an hour. Yet, if there’s one thing that’s been constant in every workshop I’ve attended, it’s this: when the time comes to comment on the work shopped piece’s title, everyone goes silent. Or, if they do speak up, it’s just to give a non-specific “I liked the title” or “I didn’t like the title.” Continue reading

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Are Writers Selfish?

Posted by Grace Gilbert, GD Creative Non-Fiction Section Head for 6.2

“Poetry is always about my life. It’s a way to express how I feel,” sixteen-year-old Grace muses dramatically, holding her doodle-laden spiral notebook close to her chest after third period study hall. Sixteen-year-old Grace has been utterly heartbroken approximately 2.7 times. She is assured that she has never been, and will never be, “seen” (whatever that means). She is still too embarrassed to buy maxi pads at the supermarket, but thinks she really knows the world for what it is. She wants to share this with you. Sixteen-year-old Grace un-ironically likes the Dave Matthews Band. She eats triple cheese Lunchables on the bus ride home from school, and as she stares out the window, she pretends she’s in an indie film, preferably starring Joseph Gordon-Levitt as her boyishly awkward but spellbound love interest. Sixteen-year-old Grace makes sure to document all of these things with an unmatched melodramatic flair, always with a mechanical pencil that she probably borrowed from Lexi during Algebra II and never returned. Continue reading

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Following the Golden Thread to Cats in a Bag: An Interview with Poet, Adjunct Professor, & Geneseo Alum Albert Abonado

Posted by Joohee Park, GD Poetry Reader for issue 6.1

College is often described as the time to take risks and step outside our comfort zones and usual circles, but it is also a time of burgeoning anxiety about the looming, unpredictable future.

Confronted with the question of what to do with our lives, we may wonder how to trust our own instincts. Often, this uncertainty can manifest itself in one’s writing as self-editing, self-censoring even before one has confronted the page. In this interview, I pose some questions or anxieties we may have as budding writers and participants in the literary world in the context of poetry. Continue reading

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