22
Jul 14

10 People You Meet in Creative Writing Class

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I’ve been thinking a lot about creative writing classes lately. Some of my favorite classes in college were the creative writing workshops. Whether it was in a fiction or poetry class, it was always interesting to write something and see how it plays in the minds of readers. Some of my classmates would give me great critiques–in some cases more helpful than the professor’s. And some of my classmates would write something so amazing that I couldn’t believe I was in the same class.

As I took more and more workshop-style classes, I started to notice a pattern. There were always certain personality types in the class, without fail. And so it is with great pleasure that I bring you the 10 people you meet in creative writing class.

1. Person in it for therapy

Art can be therapeutic, but that doesn’t mean the whole class wants to watch you go through the stages of grieving or emotional catharsis every class. And even though all the kids in class will get to know you through your writing, it’s always weird to read about super personal things that you just had to get out during workshop. Also, no one likes your emo poetry. No one.

That being said, it’s always nearly impossible for you to give this person a negative critique because you really want them to get over the tough time they’re going through.

2. The clueless blowhard

Critiques are for people who don’t know what they’re doing. Seriously. Why would this person even need to take your advice when you clearly didn’t understand what they were trying to convey at all? They will not change that poorly written scene with the crows descending upon the city, or take out all the references to Doors lyrics. There has never been a more self-assured writer, nor has there ever been someone who deserved less to be self-assured.

3. Pretentious asshole

“I’m not sure what you were trying to do there, but it doesn’t look like you achieved it. Let me focus on this one element that I noticed, and then harp on it for a good, long time. Then, I’ll have to lecture on something that I’m going to pretend is way more esoteric than it actually is. You’ll think me. I’m really nice to spend so much time educating you.” -every critique this asshole gives you during workshop

4. Teacher’s pet

Every critique this person gives during workshop will closely resemble those of the professor. Also, they read EVERYTHING the teacher references, and occasionally bring up the published works of the professor during class discussion. This person is incapable of writing anything without the approval of the professor, which is why they have a really hard time doing any writing after graduation.

5. Druggie

Even if you’ve never done drugs, you will sincerely enjoy this kid’s psilocybin-induced poetry. It’s like The Jabberwocky, only with way more Taco Bell references.

6. The artist

I guess having your soul tortured by the art that dwells within is hard. That’s why this kid is so weird and incapable of communicating any ideas they have with the class in a way that is recognizable as human. But don’t worry. This person just exists on another plane. That’s why they will never turn in anything on time, if at all. And any critique you get from this person will be indecipherable.

7. Commercial fiction entrepreneur

You know that overachiever in the class that does really well? Well, this person is an overachiever, but they never achieve teacher’s pet status. Your professor will quickly tire of hearing the anecdotes they have about writing those past 12 NaNoWriMo novels, as well as all about how they made $13 last month on Amazon with their YA septuplogy. Everything they submit for workshop is basically Twilight, but sub vampires for the paranormal creature du jour. You like this person, but you hate everything they write.

8. Your new best friend

Every once in a while, you get lucky and you find a person in your creative writing class that is not only a good writer, but has a style and tone that you really respect. Unlike the teacher’s pets or robot parrots, they never get hung up on little elements that don’t 100% follow the rules of grammar. Instead, they see your writing for what it is, and they enjoy it as well as your company. And if you get really lucky, you’ll enjoy the same type of alcoholic beverages.

Start a writing critique group with this person immediately.

9. The easy A

“I thought creative writing was supposed to be easy? I’m just here for the A, man. I can’t let my GPA drop anymore or I’m getting kicked out. What do you mean, my piece that is just a bunch of text messages I copied and pasted into a Word Doc doesn’t count as a story?”

This argument with the professor will happen about 75% of the way through the semester, and it will be supremely uncomfortable for the rest of the class. But, after having to read the crap this person turned in, you’ll be really glad this person doesn’t get the grade that you actually worked for.

10. The pervert

No one wants to read about someone having sex with a pig. No one. This goes double for your Lolita-wannabe short stories. Actually read Lolita and tell me it’s sexy and not creepy. If you can, you should probably go ahead and register as a sex offender.


What do you think? Did you encounter these people in creative writing class? Is there anyone I missed?

Marisa Mohi


09
Jul 14

Windows Down, Radio Up

WindowsDownRadioUp

I’ve mentioned my current car situation before, and that the worst part of all of it is the radio. Seriously, having a radio that no longer allows you to attach your iPod or play CDs is THE WORST. Couple that with all the Clear Channel noise we have in the OKC area, and it’s easy to see why I spend the majority of my car time listening to Morning Edition and All Things Considered.

However, sometimes you need to hear some music. And said music needs to be loud.

On Tuesday, as I was making my way to work, I exited I-44 on Airport Road like always and made my way the Meridian northbound exit. Then, I waited in line to merge onto Meridian. This usually takes some time. There’s something really Lord of the Flies about this road during rush hour. As I waited, Carrie Underwood’s “Before He Cheats” came on, which is a really good song to crank up and sing along to. My windows were already down and the sunroof was open because that’s how I blow dry my hair in the morning because adulthood is hard and also because I’m still that greasy kid in a hoodie in the back of the classroom…at least on the inside.

(Side note: am I the only one who really, REALLY wants to bash a car like Carrie does in that song? Also, remember in the Before Time when you went to a carnival and you could pay like a dollar to take some swings at a janky old car with a sledge hammer? And you didn’t even have to be a certain age to do it and glass would go flying everywhere? That used to be a thing, kids, before lawsuits and safety helmets and donating your car to the American Cancer Society or NPR instead of the local carnival for the elementary school.)

By the time I actually got to merge onto Meridian, I could see that there was some road construction just north of Newcastle Road. But Carrie had lifted my spirits, and much like Syrio taught Aria, I yelled at the God of Death “NOT TODAY!” and turned east onto Newcastle Road to get to my office by the back ways, and to see parts of the city that most middle class folk like to pretend don’t really exist.

Halfway between Meridian and Portland on Newcastle Road, Carrie’s song ended, and I switched from the country station to the Katt. I was in luck. They were playing “Possum Kingdom” by the Toadies.

I. LOVE. THAT. SONG.

So, of course I turned it up a little more and belted “DO YOU WANNA DIE” as I passed some very handsome cholos on motorcycles who looked at me like I was crazy.

I turned north onto Portland just as the song was ending. I knew I had to find something to keep the good mood going. I was already cutting it close with my detour, and I couldn’t slow down lest I be late. That’s when I found the mother of all getting-pumped-to-go-to-work songs.

Sitting at the stoplight on SW 15th Street, I found “Come Sail Away”, and like the lost member of Styx that I am, I turned the radio up even louder, and sang along.

By the time I pulled into my office parking lot, my windows were rattling with the sound of the drumbeat. I hoped at that moment that someone in a position of power, like a supervisor or the CEO would see me and know that I am a wild spirit that cannot be tamed (or be expected to adhere to a dress code). Of course, no one saw me, which is probably for the best  because is blaring Styx in your busted Honda Civic as you pull into the parking lot already one minute late for work cool?

I don’t care if it is or isn’t.

Marisa Mohi


07
Jul 14

Collected Works Blog Link Up-July 2014

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The thing about being a writer is that you’re never accountable to anyone but yourself. In theory, that’s great. In practice, well, I’ve watched A LOT of shows (from their first to their seventh season) on Netflix. While I generally like how solitary writing is, I need some people to keep me in line every once in a while.

I’m in a writing group with Katie and Justin, and we decided that, in addition to tearing each other’s work apart with a red pen every chance we get, we also needed to do a writing link up. The goal of Collected Works is to state our intentions for the month, and from there, to cheer each other on as well as stay accountable.

We’d love for other writers and bloggers to join in! I know it’s hard to state outright what your goals are for the month, but once you’ve figured them out, it’s super easy to tackle them. I’m thinking of this as my to do list for the month.

Write it down, blog it out, then tackle it.

And next month, when we check back in, we’ll all let you know how well (or terribly) we did, as well as give you the new list of goals for the next month!

So, what are my goals, exactly? I’ll tell you.

  1. Write three pieces of flash fiction.
  2. Submit the two finished flash pieces I have to magazines.
  3. Finish the outline for the novel I’ve been planning out here. (You know, this one that I wrote about during the writing blog hop!)
  4. Finish all the blank pages in my journal.
  5. Create a writing/editing schedule.

And now for the linking up!

1. Share your posts about your writing goals or challenges for the month. Copy the code below the image into your post.

2. Link up using the inlinkz button below so others have a quick link to your writing goals for the month!

Marisa Mohi
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Don’t forget to check back in next month to see where Justin, Katie and I are on our writing goals.

Marisa Mohi

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06
Jul 14

The Fourth of July and Jell-O Shots

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I’m not big on fireworks when it comes to the Fourth of July. I guess they’re pretty and all, but honestly, they just seem like a big ol’ hassle. Setting off explosives in the dark on a day when pretty much everyone has been drinking since noon seems like a bad idea to me. Couple that with how much I hate sitting outside during mosquito season, and you’ve got pretty much the worst thing I can think of. That’s why I celebrated with Fourth of July Jell-O shots instead.

Chris is kind of like the Thomas Edison of booze in that he’s all about innovating and creating new things from the alcohols we already know and love. And while this recipe we used wasn’t something we came up with on our own, it was definitely Chris who wanted to put the time, energy, and Jell-O into these Fourth of July Jell-O shots. I was content to just drink Miller High Life all day. But I guess the Fourth of July only comes once a year, so you may as well celebrate big.

We went to Jay and Liz’s house to swim in their pool and eat their barbecued meats to officially celebrate. There were even a few fireworks and sparklers, and I didn’t have to crowd into a stadium or city park to view them with a bunch of strangers. (And I got to literally eat Jell-O shots in a pool.) Overall, I’d call that a success.

Unfortunately, we still have A LOT of Jell-O shots left.

Like, two-thirds of the recipe left.

We didn’t really pay attention to the recipe when we were shopping for ingredients, because if we had, we would’ve known that it would create 72 shots (in the mini-muffin pan size, as pictured above). I noticed that when we started mixing up the Jell-O and 90-proof Parrot Bay coconut rum (seriously, use this instead of vodka), but I didn’t let that stop me, lest I appear unpatriotic. So, we filled up the one mini-muffin pan we have, as well as the regular-sized muffin tin, as well as a 13 x 9 cake pan. If only I still had my Jell-O Jigglers kit from childhood…

On the Fourth of July, we ate all the mini-muffin Jell-O shots. On July fifth, Chris and I each had one regular-sized muffin pan Jell-O shot, before stuffing all the leftovers in some Tupperware in the fridge. What can I say? We just can’t party like those 19-year old girls in Cancun can.

Have you ever made Jell-O shots? What did you do with the leftovers? Do you want to come over right now and eat the rest with me?

Marisa Mohi


03
Jul 14

Mix Tape Shuffle July 2014: The Party Playlist Edition

Marisa Mohi
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I’m a big fan of mix tapes. I always have been. And, while the majority of the mix tapes I’ve received in my life have come in the form of mix CDs, there’s just something about a good tape. Turns out my friend, Mari, (who was a Twitter friend, then a real life friend and now a blogging friend–I know, guys, we’re totally getting matching tattoos of social media icons later) likes mix tapes too! So much so, that we spent a lot of time talking about blogging about them.

AND NOW WE’RE DOING IT.

(This is the closest Mari and I will ever get to being like Thelma and Louise and driving off the Grand Canyon. While I’ve always wanted to go on a multi-state crime spree, I’m cool with doing this instead of dying. Pros: We live. Cons: No one sleeps with a young Brad Pitt.)

Each month, we’ll do a mix tape link up with a different theme. So, in addition to our fantastic mix tapes, that means you readers (all of you from blogging boot camp!) can link up your mix tapes as well and join in the fun. 

This month, the theme is party. So, our mix tapes will be the type of music you can expect if we were throwing a party. A few notes:

1. My definition of party is a gathering of people who happen to be drinking really cheap beer in a garage, field, tailgate scenario. Ain’t no wine and cheese at my gatherings. It’s a strictly shoes optional sort of occasion with me.

2. With the previous information in mind, this playlist is designed not only to get the party going, but to also ensure that your shitty neighbors who go to bed at 9 PM on a Friday don’t call the cops. So, there are some pretty loud and fast numbers intermingled by calmer and quieter songs. I do this because I know your neighbor is just stewing in their house, peeking through the blinds and waiting for you to do one more little thing so they can call the cops. If you let them get all worked up during a loud song and then switch to a calmer one, they are more likely to forgive you and go off to bed for the time being. Of course, as soon as another loud song comes on, they’ll be at the ready to turn you in again. Just know that it’s important to keep a good ebb and flow.

3. I HATE SKIPPING SONGS. This is probably because Chris skips through about 20 songs to every song he listens to in the car, but I can’t stand it when a song starts to play and you’re three bars in before someone skips on to the next one. For that reason, I put the most unskippabble songs on my mix tape. Science has confirmed the unskippability of these songs. I have the research. I just don’t want to bore you with it.

4. There’s a part of me that lives in the summer full-time. It believes in the power of snow cones and potato chips and roasting s’mores in your driveway while you tell secrets to your best friends and don’t go to bed until the sun comes up. This part of me had a hand in making this mix tape.

With all that in mind, here’s my party mix tape. And don’t forget to link up at the bottom with your post through the end of July. I wanna hear your tapes and read about them too!

Mix Tape Shuffle July "Party" by Marisa Mohi on Grooveshark
 

And now for the linking part!

  1. Share your posts about your mix tape shuffle on your blog. Use the button above by pasting the code into your post to link back to this site because that’s the way we do things. 
  2. Link your mix tape post back to this post using the button below.
  3. You can link up your posts now through the end of the month. Next month we’ll start all over again with a new theme and a new chance for you to link up your mix tape!

 

Marisa Mohi

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