Latterly

So lately (or latterly), my writing has taken a few new direction. I’ve come into a streak of poetry writing. I’m hoping to present some of my poems at a coffehouse kind of thing, and I’ve been trying to compose a good set of spoken word poems for that. But recently, I’ve also been experimenting with poems in the romantic style. It’s hard to stay away from cliche when writing these kinds of things, and it’s also hard not to get too sappy. Still, it’s a new subject for me and hopefully could resonate with a few readers. I’ve been trying out a few directions for this new theme, and maybe I’ll get something good out of it. I’m not really a particularly good poet, but there is time yet to improve.

I’ve also been really itching to write a few short stories but haven’t had the time with a busy week of midterms and assignments. I want to stretch my wings and try out a few new themes and styles, but I’m also afraid the inspiration might be lost by the time I have time to write out my ideas. I’ll briefly note them here as a reminder to myself.

Story 1 + 2 (science fiction)

I’ve already written about my idea for the reinvention of the Frankenstein story here. I do want to try to write the pivotal confrontational scene between the creator and his creation soon, because I want to experiment with the genre of science fiction. I have another story (Elixir) I want to fix up. It’s about a man who flees society and humanity to an underground bunker to search for the secret to immortality. He is triumphant, but as he return to the surface, he finds all humanity has been obliterated. He can live on forever, but alone. I want this story to be an exaggeration of those scientists (and others) who shun their personal lives to seek fame and glory, only to find there’s no one left to appreciate their achievements when they finally succeed.

Hopefully I get some good work out of this recent burst of creativity. If not…well:

The practice of failure is the only practice you get
There will be time enough for glory still
But now it is enough to smash your gear
To miss and fall, and fall apart
To take last place and smile.
Sincerely, ploddingly,
Now there is time only to play the fool.

Eye of the Beholder

Allow me to list your many perfections,
For you do think they are few.
But have you seen your smile?
Have you looked into your eyes?
A lover’s gaze is further reaching and more honest than your own.

So borrow my sight and see the beauty
marked in every line of your body.
Borrow my ears,
hear the strength of your words.
Borrow my lips,
kiss the tender nook on your neck,
borrow my arms and fall asleep in them.

Take my heart
And fall in love with all you are.

Analysis of Margaret Atwood’s “True Trash”

There are multiple key elements in this short story. A key theme in “True Trash” is the exploration of the Madonna/Whore complex. Each of the characters in the story suffer the same binary. The waitresses read trashy magazines that make a morality tale of the “bad woman” falling for the “bad man”. In the magazine, sex is described only with an ellipses: “dot dot dot”. The girls fantasize about letting go and yielding to their sexual desires, and suppress that, ridicule it by laughing.

The Madonna/Whore binary is deconstructed in the story. With Ronette, Atwood creates a prototypical Whore character and explores the complexities of the role. Ronette does not have a voice of her own, she is seen through the eyes of Donny and Joanne only. Neither can truly understand her or accept her and the role she plays. Ronette is set up as the whore, the “tartiest”, the “most forbidden”. She is described as cheap, easy. The boys objectify her, reduce her to body parts (as when they look at her through the binoculars, or when they attempt to peer down her shirt when she waits on their table). Darce trash talks her behind her back and by the end of the story, he doesn’t even remember her. Ronette is set up as the classic whore character, doomed to fall. But Ronette is hard to understand, she doesn’t quite fit into the classic binary. She is not given a nickname, a symbol of intimacy and familiarity. She decides to keep her illegitimate baby, eschewing the stigma. She is freely sexual. She asks why the other girls are laughing when they read the magazine, because she has no need to suppress her sexuality with ridicule.

Joanne is the contrast to Ronette, the prototypical Madonna. She refuses to kiss Perry on the island. She romanticizes her absent boyfriend, attempting to sleep with his letter under her pillow. Joanne is the good girl, the faithful girlfriend, but she also reads the trashy magazine and wishes to be able to be like Ronette. Joanne is unclear about her position in the Madonna/Whore binary, doing what others tell her is right, but also feels trapped by it, resents it. At the end of the story, Joanne represents the binary perfectly, saying “sex lurked dangerously[…].On the other hand there had been marriage, which meant wifely checkered aprons, play-pens, a sugary safety.” At the end of the story, Joanne claims things have changed, the story could not have happened now, implying a dissolution of the binary. The fact that the character still struggle to define Ronette seems to indicate it has not dissolved, only shifted slightly.

Donny is similarly trapped by this binary. He pretends to feel lust for Ronette and the other girls, though he does not. He feels pressured to objectify the girls, and that leads to conflict for him. When he overhears Darce objectifying Ronette, he retaliates by destroying the binoculars. By doing this, he is removing some aspect of the male gaze from Ronette. No longer will the boys be able to spy on the waitresses and objectify them that way. Yet, Donny himself reduces Ronette to a slut, to the character of the whore.

Neither Joanne nor Donny know how Ronette’s story ended. She remains complex and illusive. Through Ronette’s character, Atwood deconstructs the familiar Madonna/Whore binary, leaving the reader in contemplation of the role of sex and intimacy in society, both now and in the past.

Savannah

The land stretched long and flat in front of her. The wind pushed in all directions. There was nobody else around.

She spent a moment admiring the vast emptiness around her, the freedom it signified. There were no restrictions but those of her body and her soul seemed to be trying to free itself of that too, pulling at her with manic energy to go, to find, to see, to everything. The vast empty land stretched onto eternity.

But still she paused, wondering at the infinite loneliness and the cruelty of nature.

The wind pushed in all directions. She picked one and walked.

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Math Puns

What did the mathematician get when he solved a probability equation?

Satisfraction.

***

A mathematician was trying to cross a river. He had six kids with him before crossing, but only five after. What happened?

He forgot to carry the one.

***

Why did the mathematician quit being a detective?

He ran across an ambiguous case.

***

Why did the math empire fall?

Too much division.

***

How do you settle an argument between a lumberjack and a beaver?

Refer to the log laws.

***

What’s a math loving beaver’s favorite type of music?

Log-a-rhythm.

***

Our lives are like the forces within an accelerating frame of reference: they don’t add up.

***

Life is like the law of conservation of linear momentum: you get back what you put in.

On Resolutions in Fiction

If I had to write a realistic resolution to a story, I would have to write until the end of time. Life carries on; each action worth writing about reverberating on, carrying on in your memories, in the people around you. If there was a resolution, it would be death. The destruction of the tiny pieces of string you carry around in your pockets, the souvenirs of other people’s lives. But still, those people carry on, lives begetting lives, actions influencing action and you look back to see you (yes you, no matter how insignificant you feel), composed of stardust and long dead dinosaurs, reflecting the past and begetting the future. There is no true end, no resolution, simply a turning away from the known and facing the unknown. That is all there is.