Monday, November 07, 2005

It Was a Dark and Stormy Night...

I advise and edit my high school's literary magazine. It comes with the territory of teaching our creative writing course, which I love. What I do not love is seeing students stride firmly over the same tired ground, year after year, committing the same egregious acts, using hideous and predictable snippets of writing.

Things like these in short fiction writing:
1. ice blue eyes
2. raven hair
3. piercing eyes
4. a romantic dinner always being in candlelight and always having roses and always having wine and always being something actually unromantic to eat, like spaghetti or steak or lobster
5. auburn or chestnut hair, shoulder-length or midway down her back
6. the lovers always calling each other "babe" or "love" or "my angel" or some sappy combo of the three
7. the found note that wraps it all up at the end
8. vampires

Or things like these in poetry:
1. warm sun caressing skin, or pretty much anything
2. 1st person voice who "wears a mask"
3. breeze drifting lazily and/or caressing again
4. the phrase "in my mind"
5. the theme of "no one understands the real me", usually repeated ad nauseum
6. "the blade against my skin"
7. the simile of tears and rain
8. vampires

I could go on and on. I have already told my new crop of writers that they are forbidden to use the word "amazing", which certainly must be the single most overused word in the English language this century. Also, that no one's heart is allowed to be "pierced" , nor is it allowed to "melt" in their stories or poems. And that if I read one more creative piece in which a hero has "steel grey eyes" or the heroine has "lush lips", I will likely blow my brains out. I threatened to Google them for the rest of their lives, always on the lookout for these nasties. Such good sports, they laughed and took an oath to protect my sanity and blood pressure forever. Thank goodness. Deadline is November 11. In my mind, no one understands what it is like to be the real me, with tears falling like rain, waiting for some steel-eyed, lush-lipped writers to submit their work on time, all the while knowing that I'm just another raven-haired English teacher who wears a mask of toughness on the outside; all it would take to melt my heart is a good story that would satisfy me like warm sun caressing my skin.

1 comment:

  1. The Grand Jerrod Rosenbaum8:10 PM

    vampires?! who the f@*# ever talks about vampires? i think you made that one up. hehehehe


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