Sunday, January 31, 2010
Sunday, January 17, 2010
My first assignment for my Readings in Contemporary Fiction class is to write my life story in 400 words or less on the back of a postcard. The idea comes from Michael Kimball Writes Your Life Story (on a postcard), which my professor Sherrie Flick has had done for her.
To choose our postcards, Sherrie laid them face down on her desk and the class, for the most part, choose blindly. I chose a ninja postcard.
Clearly, I chose the coolest postcard. Here is my first draft (188 words):
Jazz Sexton was born 12 days late because she loves being in water. She could not get enough of the Atlantic Ocean from the age of 6 months and people often told her parents "your daughter is a fish." Thus, Jazz spent the first 14 years of her life convinced she was a mermaid or some sort of changeling and stayed up at night, eagerly awaiting a tear in the space/time continuum to whisk her to a magical land. At the age of 5, on the first day of Kindergarten, she did not know her date of birth when Mrs. Morales asked to add it to the class's birthday chart. From that day on, she has always known it is important to know things about yourself. Jazz thinks she knows herself well, maybe too well, and has only met with one or two minor identity crises. She loves to write, "art it up" and make people laugh. Writing is very painful for her, but she labors on because it makes her happy. Jazz plans to live to the age of 109. She has survived an extended encounter with the Big Bad Wolf.
Things I now realize I neglected to mention:
-Where I grew up
-Why I am where I am now
-Pretty much everything between when I was 14 and now
What should I put in and/or take out? What would you write for your life story on a postcard?
Tuesday, January 5, 2010
I was reading a book for my Childhood's Books class when I came across this passage that made me laugh out loud:
As they were walking up the steps, Jamie spied a Hershey's almond bar still in its wrapper lying in the corner of the landing. He picked it up and tore open one corner.
"Was it bitten into?" asked Claudia.
"No," Jamie smiled. "Want half?"
"You better not touch it," Claudia warned. "It's probably poisoned or filled with marijuana, so you'll eat it and become either dead or a dope addict."
-From the Mixed-Up Files of Mrs. Basil E. Frankweiler by E.L. Konigsburg
This book was published in 1967 when marijuana was striking fear into the hearts on any non-hippie. I can see it making sense then, but could a comment like that be published now? If I had read this when I was 12, I probably would have thought Claudia was an idiot because this is such a dated comment.
So I started thinking, what words could "marijuana" be replaced with?
1980s: "It's probably poisoned or filled with the HIV virus."
1990s: "It's probably poisoned or filled with mad cow disease."
2000s: "It's probably poisoned or filled with anthrax/SARS/swine flu."
I doubt anyone would want to write a passage like this, let alone publish it. Did the comment make sense to kids in 1967 or was it just as odd as it is today? And what would parents think? I'm sure, despite the fact that Claudia is trying to stop her brother from eating the candy, someone would still be outrage because HOW DARE A BOOK FOR CHILDREN MENTION DRUGS. But From the Mixed-Up Files is about kids who are capable enough to run away from home and live in a museum for a week, so they're definitely not so innocent that they would not know about drugs.
Those are just my scattered thoughts at the moment. I've got another post on censorship brewing.