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I Love Creative Non-Fiction

January 13, 2010 1 comment

I’m currently enrolled in an Advanced Expository Writing class where we are learning and writing Creative Non-Fiction. I absolutely adore this genre. If you don’t know what that is here is the definition:

Creative nonfiction (also known as literary or narrative nonfiction) is a genre of writing that uses literary styles and techniques to create factually accurate narratives.” — taken from Wiki

I find it fascinating, honestly I could say I love it so much I’d be willing to major in it if there was a major about it. Moreover my teacher is very interesting, very unique. I love the way she dresses, and before you think that she dresses cute, that’s not the case. It’s almost retro, vintage, mixed with a touch of bohemian. I know, crazy sounding, but it works. I’ll try to sneak pictures next week.

We have to do writing prompts every week to help us focus our creative minds and inspire ourselves, so you can imagine that I completely throw myself into the excercise with 110% effort… most of the time. We do this to prepare to write mini narratives which we had one due today. I actually liked this assignment. We could basically write about anything we want but it had to be creative non-fiction, and be between 450-500 words.

I’m putting this up for my sister who is a character in the story and my most avid reader. Not sure what to name it though…I named it Miss Impossible on DA but I’ll probably change the title soon. Any suggestions?

 

Miss Impossible

 

“Okay Kendrah, are you ready?” I grinned at my sister with my trademark wolfish grin that marked my tomboy days. It’s probably the reason I received more candy from girls than the guys did on Valentine’s Day.

                “I-I think so.” My sister nodded her chubby little head with determination. We were the unstoppable duo, and we were going to break through the sound barrier. Never mind that she still had her training wheels on, I figured they would combust due to the increased velocity when we hit the speed of light. We sat eyeing the launch pad.

                We were living in Carson City, Nevada, the burb of suburbs. Only black family for miles, not that me and my sister really cared, though I’m sure some of the upper class white citizens had a problem with the way me and my sister tore up the neighborhood from time to time. It was the perfect place to grow up, all the driveways were steep and the street was on a slope, which is why it was ground zero for our plan.

                I tightened my helmet and gave the battle cry and took off as fast as I could, the wind whooshing past my face and rattling my helmet. Slowly everything started to blur around me, I was going to do it, I was going to break the barrier and get into the next dimension. Not.

                “Sister!” I turned my head just in time to see my sister go down. I said a very unladylike word and prepared for retrieval, Adams’ may be crazy but we never leave a soldier behind. My back wheel fishtailed out, so using my amazing skills of deduction I decided if I couldn’t stop myself I’d have to use the environment around me. The RV looming in front of me wouldn’t be a good choice and so I made a hard turn, using my body to lean into it like they do in the movies. My adrenaline was pumping, my heart was pounding, and the smell of burning rubber filled the air, all enveloping me with background noise of my sister’s crying. Good times.

                When I came to, I was sprawled on a driveway with my bike pinning me down. Being the amazing general I was, I sat up and looked to see if my sister was around since the crying had ceased, and checked for damage. Apparently I had run into a 4×4 truck, it was completely fine except for the slight dent in the back that the throbbing on my head seemed to sympathize with. I sulked home.

              “Sup, kiddo.” My dad looked up from where he was mowing the lawn. “Is something wrong?” He was giving me that funny look like he knew what I did, or it could be because my hair was sticking up on end; but it was always like that.

                I looked down, my socks were red. That wasn’t good; I let another unladylike word slip out.

Reading Suggestions

If you’re interested in reading more ‘creative non-fiction’  I’m putting together a list of what I’ve read so far. And for my class we are using the books, Contemporary Creative NonFiction: I & Eye and On Writing Well (go figure haha) So basically I’ll list the stories I really liked out of the first book that you guys can look up and read if you can. But if you can’t find them anywhere then I guess you can run to Barnes and Noble (oops I’m bias) or the library to look up these authors.

  • Bernard Cooper, “Picking Plums”
  • David Sedaris, “The Drama Bug”

I would suggest more but I can’t remember any others that I really liked. If you find any that you think are great feel free to comment, or even if you don’t. Happy reading!

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Hitting the Books

December 21, 2009 1 comment

I find that every new year I always vow I’ll do better, that I won’t procrastinate, that I’ll make better choices….and I find, every year, I’m a liar.

I find strangely enough that I didn’t know how to study. I could do homework (sometimes), I can did assigned reading(when I feel like it) but I couldn’t ‘study’. But then I figured out that it was mostly the way I was trying to study that was really the issue.  I found that if I didn’t force it and waited for the mood to come and acted on it then I would actually learn all the material in one sitting, rather then repeatedly having to go back.

Ways that I could get into the moods of studying were strangely enough, playing Sims. When I saw my little Sims working so hard and putting in effort (through my skillful guidence of course) and being rewarded it made me want to work. So if I saved my game and stopped playing and went to study right at that moment miracles would occur. This won’t work for most people, I know, BUT you should find things that inspire you to study, and when that feeling hits you, USE it. Feeling like studying and actually studying are two different species, like…. a bird and a fish.

The things I do to study are far and between but for me they work in varying degrees of success and remember your mood is a huge indicator of how successful any form of studying will be. So make sure you have an environment that you are comfortable in. I like to change it up depending on what part of studying I’m on. So just try lots of different places and gauge where you feel is most comfortable for you. I personally hate people seeing or being able to watch me be productive so if you are like me, I study around 2am if I slept a lot during the day, or during class if we aren’t doing anything I would consider productive.

You can leave any of the following steps out, I just find that I’m prepared and have an easier time getting things all organized (I love organizing things) if I do things this way. The action will be in bold text. Ways of accomplishing it will be right after. I will list ways of doing it so you can choose what works best for you and the time that you have. The time it should take you is going to be in italics. Everyone reads at different speeds so don’t get toostressed.

  1. Pre-reading. Read the chapter the teacher will be going over the night or two before. This way the information won’t be new the first time you hear it in class. You can full out read the chapter and take your own notes, outline the chapter, or just skim the chapter. It’s up to you, this step can be skipped but it is a real time saver later on, especially during midterms, or finals. 15-60 minutes.
  2. Go to class and take notes. Please note you can skip this step as you please but this is not suggested for teachers that don’t give out study guides. And if you don’t know if your teacher does or not. Find out. Make sure to take detailed notes and write down as much as you can. I know, I’ve read that you don’t have to write down everything, but my memory isn’t perfect and writing down as much as I can helps keep me interested. Also, write down as much of the stuff they say but don’t write down. I’ve found that sometimes these things end up being bonus questions or just good for helping me remember the concept. However long your class is.
  3. Join the notes. So now that you’ve gone to class or done the pre-reading, or better yet both. Put that information together. Take what you learned in class and put it together with your notes. If you typed it just change the coloring and insert it into the right areas of the book notes, and/or outline. This way you will be able to see what parts of the chapters he/she is mainly focusing on. This way when finals and midterms roll around you have your own database if you will of class notes and book notes all together and can easily read this instead of having to go back through the book to recall. 20 – 60 minutes.
  4. Do Homework. Doing homework is a good thing to do because it helps you practice for long answer or short answer problems for your exams and the whole exam if it’s math. Unless you’re teacher is giving you less than 8% do the hw. If not just do it for the chapters you don’t get or just keep it as a extra study session kind of thing. 30 – 90 minutes.

If you do this for every class you will be in great shape! Some classes don’t need this kind of studying and maybe only some parts of this you need. I know this worked for me and having it broken into time slots really helped me manage my time and I ended up having more free time a day, in opposed to when I didn’t do this. Also lots less stress since you are basically getting everything you need to do over with early. A huge perk of this is that you can never fall behind even if you get sick and have to miss class.

So good luck, and I hope this helps you out for your next semester or quarter in school. Let me know how this works out for you, Happy holidays!