Dred Scott Crankie Project

The following pictures document some of the research, design and performance process that GCAA students participated in as part of their Crankie project for The St. Louis Storytelling Festival with guest artist Adam Booth. 

Eli Mock Trial

Here Eli Bivins sits as Dred Scott in the re-enactment of the Dred Scott trial at The Old Courthouse in Saint Louis.

Students took a tour of the courthouse…

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which would later serve as inspiration for part of their Crankie…

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Students got a chance to experience the jury room in which the Dred Scott case was deliberated…

Posing in the Jury Room

(Here’s a view of the city of Saint Louis out a jury room window)

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Then we returned to GCAA and got painting… Here is image one of The Crankie, in which the Old Courthouse is personified, assuming its own personality:

Rotated View of Courthouse

Image two shows Dred Scott at work as a slave…

Dred Scott Rotated

Image three returns to an inside image of The Courthouse with handprints clamoring for freedom…

Old Courthouse Rotated

And image four presents an American flag with the face of freedom fighters and bloodied hands:

Flag Rotated

Painting was long, messy, and FUN!

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Jay Emma Clare Adam

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In the end, we pulled it off!

Kareemah Ana Jay

 

 

Dred Scott & Adoption ABCEDARIUS

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According to The Practice of Creative Writing by Heather Sellers, “when creative writers use the alphabet to provide the structure for a piece of writing, it’s called an abecedarius.”

“Forcing yourself into a box like this does interesting things to your creativity. You end up surprising yourself. Oftentimes, the letters for which ‘you can’t think of anything’ provide the most fresh, original sections. The renowned poet Ezra Pound wrote an entire book, The ABC of Reading, using this form. Other well-known examples include Czeslow Milosz’s Milosz’s ABC’s, a book of brief prose essays. A.J. Jacobs’s The Know-It-All is a memoir of reading the Encyclopedia Britannica in alphabetical order. 

The following abecedarius is a creative nonfiction essay that interweaves the writer’s personal experience with adoption with the struggle for freedom and self-actualization led by Dred Scott in the 1800s. The essay is essentially a rough draft that could use more imagery — the old cliché “more showing and less telling” — but it demonstrates how the abecedarius form can be used to interweave various topics, including the personal and the political.  

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Allowing Dred Scott to be freed as a black man is like me having been adopted. As usual, the terms used to be allowed in a world that is so disputed in races is usually a hard thing to do. It is not everyday that you can make a message mean something. It can only be processed by those who have experienced.

Being adopted is being taken away from your family, which is similar to be adoption is a process whereby a person assumes the parenting of another, usually a child, from that person’s biological or legal parent or parents, and, in so doing, permanently transfers all rights and responsibilities, along with filiation, from the biological parent or parents. Slave, in that you get moved around a lot. Just like usual, it’s a strategic challenge.

Certain environments can be quite poisoning to your upbringing. The way you are brought up is important to what you do later in your life. It is typical of normal folk to not understand what it is like to not be able to see your mother or father for a major part of my life.

Dred Scott was a man who believed he should be free and took advantage of the opportunity. He was an enslaved African American man in the United States who unsuccessfully sued for his freedom and that of his wife and their two daughters in the Dred Scott v. Sandford case of 1857, popularly known as the “Dred Scott Decision”. He made it his duty to make sure that he was taken care of and didn’t get thrown into a system of unorganized nonsense and not be forgotten.

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Even though being adopted is nowhere near as traumatic as being a slave, the two concepts share similarities. A lot of the times, you feel as though you do not belong. Though your fellow slave mates are told to be like family and to be one another’s trust, you can not seem to forget the fact that your life will never be the same. Most slaves are taken away from their families and separated. Especially if a slave has a baby, it can be with the birth parents for the first few years typically and then taken away from the family. This is to enforce an inferiority complex to make sure the slaves do not have much of a protection for their offspring.

For example, you are placed in multiple environments, never a healthy one. A lot of the time, it can be difficult to know when you are safe. As an adopted child, you do not know the people you live with, nor do they know who you are. It is not always the best solution for some children. As for slaves, you are in a constant fear of whether or not you are safe. It is quite demanding that you watch where you are and where you go every second of the day. “Never be disobedient and you will survive,” they say. And yet, slave masters will pleasure themselves to rape or simple whippings of the backs of slaves.

Going through an experience really separates the strong from the weak. You can either be separated the right way or the wrong way. It can never be both. If you picked up by a vile family, there is no way for you to be okay from the safety. It can never be argued that it can be safe to have a time of your life and be able to function as a normal everyday.

He who shows weakness is more susceptible to a negative outcome. When you are aware of the past inconveniences that you have suffered, there is not much more needed to function and to accept the terrible and dire situations that may occur.

I can not recall an experience where he did not cry when he needed to. It is more unappreciable when you are forced to suffer and show your softer side when you are put into these type of situations. Men try so hard to force themselves not to show emotion in such situations, when you look more of a fool trying to keep everything pieced together.

Just being around your support is what can boost everything. Whenever you see someone in need, simply help them. You then become their support system. That can help anyone in any situation. Life support refers to the treatments and techniques performed in an emergency in order to support life after the failure of one or more vital organs. But personal help can heal any mental wound. That is why they say laughter is the best medicine.

Keen instinct and intuition is vital to making it through alive and well. Knowing what is ahead can greatly influence the chance that you will be successful in life. In the overall lifespan that you are alive. It can only be judged that you know who your friends and foes are. It is suspected that many people can only survive with the liability that you are successful and not interrupting the flow of time.

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Like Dred Scott, he surfaced the courts and stood for what he needed.

Most likely if he had not been stern and intense with my input, he would not be where he was a time ago.

Nonetheless, it takes time and patience to achieve the yet achieved.

Open-mindedness goes a long way. When you can approach things in many different ways, it makes life a bit easier. Whenever you can avoid discretion, you will always have a way of a better to live.

Putting together the puzzle pieces of a challenge like being adopted or being a slave can make you stand out.

Qualified people make impactful decisions that can alter the present and make the future better. When you decide what you want in life, it is easy to forget that your life can always get better. Most of the time, it takes a strong and

respectable humans compromise with respectable companions that make the leading impacts. When you work with smart people, smart people make things smarter. Just like my cousins say, it is always better to be wrong to be right. You have to learn the mistakes you make so you do not make them again.

Seek the unknown that do not want to be touched with the power of the known. It takes a genius to know an idiot. When it comes to power, whoever the conclusion may come out to.

The rest of the population hold knowledge to continue the process of having made conclusions.

Unless people like Dred Scott and me stand up and fight for what is right, nothing can be resolved.

Very much of the process that goes into a court case is stressful enough, let alone the hate and fighting that comes with it.

Words are much stronger than actions and when used right can be more importantly used.

Xenial visits and participants can majorly make any decision more applied.

Yourself alone can change the world with any idea with the support of others. Your power and influence can be easily taken to make huge decisions. Always say something when you think you the one to make the difference. It is always better to be safe than sorry. Like the show “13 Reasons Why,” there is always a lesson to be learned when you ignore the signs.

Zero effort is needed when we know what we’re talking about. It doesn’t take rocket science to make an effort to afford a better future for yourself. It makes most thing unintended attendable.

Poetry & Flash Fiction with Kim Lozano

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Today creative writers at GCAA talked poetry, creative nonfiction, and flash fiction with writer and creative writing teacher Kim Lozano.

Here are a couple things we discussed…

  • Honing our ability to see originally
  • Writing specifically
  • Avoiding vague words like “beautiful” and zeroing in on imagery
  • The idea that specificity & imagery apply to fiction, creative nonfiction — all types of writing
  • Embodying emotions in the form of objects: What can I do to show the reader that I’m angry?
  • Show, don’t tell is a creative writing cliché but it’s true –> learn the rules first and then break them
  • The power of our work is in our details
  • Think about gestures – for example, what a character does with their hands
  • Under-utilized element for a lot of poets is the title

Then we read…

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Power
By Corrine Hales

No one we knew had every stopped a train.
Hardly daring to breathe, I waited
Belly-down with my brother
In a dry ditch
Watching through the green thickness
Of grass and willows.
Stuffed with crumpled newspapers,
The shirt and pants looked real enough
Stretched out across the rails. I felt my heart
Beating against the cool ground
And the terrible long screetch of the train’s
Braking began. We had done it.

Then it was in front of us —
A hundred iron wheels tearing like time
Into red flannel and denim, shredding the child
We had made — until it finally stopped.

My brother jabbed at me,
Pointed down the tracks. A man
Had climbed out of the engine, was running
In our direction, waving his arms,
Screaming that he would kill us —
Whoever we were,
Then, very close to the spot
Where we hid, he stomped and cursed
At the rags and papers scattered
Over the gravel from our joke.

I tried to remember which of us
That red shirt had belonged to,
But morning seemed too long ago, and the man
Was falling, sobbing, to his knees.
I couldn’t stop watching.
My brother lay next to me,
His hands covering his ears,
His face pressed tight to the ground.

In this poem, the title Power hints at the physical power of a train, the power of little kids to pull a prank, and the kids realizing their power at the end of the poem. As this poem does, it’s wise at the end of your work to leave it a little unwrapped.

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Feared Drowned
By Sharon Olds

Suddenly nobody knows where you are,
your suit black as seaweed, your bearded
head slick as a seal’s.

Somebody watches the kids. I walk down the
edge of the water, clutching the towel
like a widow’s shawl around me.

None of the swimmers is just right.
Too short, too heavy, clean-shaven,
they rise out of the surf, the water
rushing down their shoulders.

Rocks stick out near shore like heads.
Kelp snakes in like a shed black suit
and I cannot find you.

My stomach begins to contract as if to
vomit salt water,

when up the sand toward me comes
a man who looks very much like you,
his beard matted like beach grass, his suit
dark as a wet shell against his body.

Coming closer, he turns out
to be you — or nearly.
Once you lose someone it is never exactly
the same person who comes back.

As this poem demonstrates, you’re choosing metaphors and similes, think about the world you’re in and the kinds of images that fit with your theme. In other words, choose descriptors that fit your emotional angle. Descriptions convey mood, tone, and message. Description shows how your character feels.

Writing Exercise Number One

Given the emotional angle you take, you can generate really different descriptions of the same place. Given that, try one of the three following writing prompts…

  1. Describe this classroom from the perspective of a person who has time-traveled here from ancient times. Do not mention time-travel.
  2. Describe this classroom from the perspective of someone whose favorite pet has just died. Do not mention the pet or death.
  3. Describe this classroom from the perspective of a snake. Do not mention the snake.

Here one of our responses to prompt #3:

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Nobody in here has a clue. When all these ridiculously behaved kids file out each and everyday, I give a good stretch like the sun spreading across the horizon. Then I have my fun. A quick slide down the cold metal bookshelf, gleefully unfurling myself in the black wire bins of wrinkled papers. “An artist cannot fail; it’s a success to be one.” If only Mrs. O’Donnell could watch me strut across those black letters when she shuts the door behind her at night —

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Review of Creative Nonfiction 

  • Not talking about reports, newspaper journalism
  • Nonfiction is true to the best of my ability — there’s room to play with things that are incidental– things that are major have to be true
  • The creative part of creative nonfiction is sensory details, imagery, figurative language, using the techniques of fiction: dialogue, plot, metaphor, simile
  • Examples of creative nonfiction: memoir, travel writing, humor pieces, blog posts

Intro to Flash Fiction

  • With the internet, it’s become super popular to write short pieces
  • Flash just means short — definitely under 2000 words; there’s not a set word limit, but often 750 words; depends on the editor or magazine

Flash Nonfiction Toolbox

  • Need “heat” from the first sentence
    some sort of urgency, word one, sentence one
  • Focus on one thing
    Don’t trim a long piece down, flash fiction is like a poem, it’s a distilled form
  • Offer a fresh perspective
    Everybody has a fresh perspective, but beginning writers tend to rely on their first thoughts or rely on language clichés
  • Energy hinges on a rapid-fire of information
    Use specific details/avoid the abstract/turn your emotions into objects – set a mood
  • Waste nothing. In other words: every image must carry weight
  • Show the most, tell a little bit, and never explain
    a cliché of creative writing, know all the rules, then break them
  • Weave in your own reflections
    This isn’t the same as ending with a formulaic conclusion or a “moral of the story”
  • Don’t just label the work with a title. Make your title do double duty.
  • Revise, revise, revise – very little creative writing comes out in one shot
    Writing that is easy to read is hard to write. 

In general, think of writing like a good magic show. There’s not real magic happening — there are tricks. In writing, you’re the magician, and you know the tricks. We learn the tricks that make people feel a certain way, and we tug on that (similes, metaphors, alliteration, the list goes on…)

The following flash fiction piece is written by Naomi Shihab Nye. She has an American mother, a Palestinian father, and is known for her poetry. She wrote this piece after 911. This is a piece about family, relationships, plants, confusion… She uses a lot of the tools in the flash fiction toolbox in this piece:

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Someone I Love

Someone I love so much cut down my primrose patch. It looked like an oval of overgrown weeds to him, in the front yard, beyond the stones of the flowerbeds, near the black mailbox on the post. He did not know that for weeks I had been carefully tending and watering it, as a few primroses floated their pink heads above the green mass, unfurled their delicate bonnets. With dozens of buds waiting to shine, we were on the brink, everything popping open, despite the headlines, all sweet flower beings from under the ground remembering what they were supposed to do.

He mowed it down with the old push lawn mower. I was out of town – he didn’t ask his father, who knew how precious it was to me – his father was in the back while this was happening and didn’t see – there wasn’t a second thought – why would we have such a tall patch in the yard – what does my mother do when she comes out here with the old shovel and the bucket and the mysterious sacks of rose food and mulch, poking around in the earth, trimming, the clippers in her pocket, beinding to the wild tangle of jasmine on the fence, the Dutchman’s-pipe, the happy oregano, the funny cacti crowded together in complicated profusion like a family, the miniature chiles – what does she do, why is this here?

He just cut it down. It wasn’t easy.

He must have pushed really hard to get it to go.

When I stood outside in my nightie the next dreamy-sweet morning at dawn after returning home on the midnight plane, watering my bluebonnets snapdragons butterfly bush lantana, wanting to feel tied to the earth again, as I always do when I get home, rooted in soil and stone and old caliche and bamboo and trees, a hundred years of memory in their trunks and bushes we didn’t plant, and the healthy esperanza never losing her hope, and the banana palms poking out their fine and gracious greenery, when I suddenly saw what was gone, what wasn’t there, not there, impossible, I was so shocked I let the hose run all over my bare feet. The cold stun of fury filled me, sorrow rising and pouring into questions: who could do this, why, why, how could anyone? I thought of the time my daddy cmae home to find every head cut off his giant sunflowers fight after they had opened their faces to the sky, and only the empty stalks remaining, heads slashed to the ground, his disbelieving sorrow as he went to his room and lay down on the bed and closed his eyes, and I thought, I will not mention this, I am too sad to mention it, this is the pain of people everywhere, this is the pain this year deserves.

But at breakfast I went a little strange like the lady down the street who shows up at people’s doors with a snarling dog and a hammer in her pocket, I went wild and furious and he swore they just looked like weeds to him, why hadn’t I warned him, why did I only tell Dad?

I pointed them out to you weeks ago, I said.

He said, I don’t remember flower things like that.

And it was the season of blooming and understanding. It was the season of pulling weeds in other corners, hiding from headlines, wondering what it would do if the whole house had been erased or just the books and paintings or what about the whole reckless garden or (then it gets unthinkable but we make ourselves think it now and then to stay human) the child’s arms or legs, what would I do? If I did not love him, who would I become?

Another flash fiction piece worth reading is Confessions by Amy Tan from…

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Writing Exercise Number Two: Flash Fiction

Generating Ideas…

  • Recall a house in which you once lived
  • Recall an incident that filled you with dread
  • Recall something dangerous you did as a child
  • Recall something that happened at a holiday get-together
  • Recall an important or magical person from your childhood
  • Recall an incident that happened at school

Choose one of your ideas and write as many specific details as you can recall. 

  • Ask yourself what impact the incident had on your life. Why do you remember this? Was it a moment you grew or changed? Did you learn something important about yourself or the world? Was it something that wounded you deeply?

Walgreens Expressions Challenge

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What is the Expressions Challenge? 

  • The Walgreen Company is once again having the Expressions Challenge.
  • This challenge was created for students to have a voice, express their art, and express themselves in a creative way.
  • Last year more than 1,600 students participated in the challenge and every year it seems to get better. The goal of the challenge is to express positivity through behavior so that there are more positive outcomes.
  • They want students to express how today’s issues influence their health, academics, and wellness.

What Can You Win?

  • Contest winners, teachers, and schools get cash, prizes, and public recognition. Over $25,000 in cash and prizes are given away to individuals that participate in the Expressions Challenge organization.
  • The first place winner receives $3,000. ($2,000 for student, $500 for school, and $500 for teacher.)
  • The second place winner gets $1,750. ($1,250 for student and $500 for the teacher.)
  • You are eligible if you are a current high school student.

What Is the Topic & Genre?

  • Suggested topics are abstinence, self-esteem, sexual responsibility, abstinence, sexting, STD prevention, AIDS awareness, and teen pregnancy.
  • You can write an essay, poem, short story, use graphic design, paint, create a sculpture, photography, create a video, record a song, or rap.
  • You can submit one entry per category: creative writing, media arts, or multimedia.
  • You can work in a group up to 5 people (but then you would have to split the cash prize).
  • The qualifications include originality, writing style, quality of work, adherence to contest and category guidelines.
  • You may not enter a piece of work with explicit images, profane language, nudity, any form of discrimination, or the Walgreens brand/logo.

CONTEST TIMELINE: 

  • October 1, 2016: Expressions Challenge Begins Public Voting Opens
  • November 30, 2016: Expressions Challenge Ends Public Voting Closes
  • December 1, 2016: Judging Round 1
  • December 12, 2016: Judging Round 1 Ends
  • December 15, 2016: Judging Round 2 Begins
  • December 19, 2016: Judging Round 2 Ends
  • December 30, 2016: Winner Notification Begins
  • December 22, 2016: Winner Notification Ends
  • January 2016: Award Ceremony St.Louis

Resources

Glossary of Terms, (See Packet from Class)

  • Abstinence — The practice of refraining from some or all aspects of sexual activity for medical, psychological, legal, social, financial, philosophical, moral or religious reasons.
  • Adolescent Sexuality — Refers to sexual feelings, behavior and development in adolescents and is a stage of human sexuality. Sexuality is often a vital aspect of teenagers’ lives. The sexual behavior of adolescents is, in most cases, influenced by their culture’s norms and mores, their sexual orientation, and the issues of social control such as age of consent laws.
  • AIDS — Acquired Immunodeficiency Syndrome — Immune system failure and debilitation, resulting in severe and eventually fatal illness; caused by HIV infection.
  • At-Risk Sexual Behaviors — According to a report prepared for the U.S. Department of Health and Human Services the younger the age of first sexual intercourse, the greater the risk of unwanted pregnancy and sexually transmitted infections. This is because those who begin having sex at young ages are generally exposed to risk for a longer time, are less likely to use contraception, generally have more sexual partners, and tend to engage in higher risk sexual behaviors such as alcohol or drug use prior to sexual intercourse and having multiple concurrent sexual partners. It must be recognized as well that early intercourse is frequently not voluntary.
  • Birth Control — Control the number of children born; preventing or lessening the chance of pregnancy.
  • Contraception — Deliberate prevention of conception.
  • Cyber-bullying — The use of the internet and related technologies to harm other people, in a deliberate, repeated, and hostile manner.
  • Gender Identity — A person’s private sense of, and subjective experience of, their own gender. This is generally described as one’s private sense of being a man or a woman, consisting primarily of the acceptance of membership into a category of people.
  • HIV — Human Immunodeficiency virus; the body lacks the ability to mount a normal immune response to infection; the virus that causes AIDS
  • Safe Sex — Sexual activity engaged in by people who have taken precautions to protect themselves against sexually transmitted infections (STIs) such as HIV/AIDS. It is also referred to as safer sex or protected sex, while unsafe or unprotected sex is sexual activity engaged in without precautions.
  • Sexting — Sending sexually explicit messages and/or photographs, primarily between mobile phones. The term is a “mash-up” of the terms sex and texting.
  • Sexual Education — Two main forms of sex education are taught in American schools: comprehensive and abstinence-only. Comprehensive sex education covers abstinence as a positive choice, but also teaches about contraception and avoidance of STIs when sexually active.
  • Sexual Self-Concept — Developing a sexual self-concept is an important development step during adolescence. This is when adolescents try to make sense and organize their sexual experiences so that they understand the structures and underlying motivations for their sexual behavior.
  • Sexual Health — Health as a state of complete physical, mental and social well-being, and not merely the absence of disease or infirmity. Reproductive health, or sexual health/hygiene, addresses the reproductive processes, functions and system at all stages of life.
  • Sexual Orientation — is an enduring personal quality that inclines people to feel romantic or sexual attraction (or a combination of these) to persons of the opposite sex or gender, the same sex or gender, or to both sexes or more than one gender.
  • Sexual Responsibility — To be capable of making moral, practical, or rational decisions about sexual activity. To be answerable for one’s behavior regarding sexual activity.
  • Sexually Transmitted Infections (STI) — Sexually transmitted diseases (STD), also referred to as sexually transmitted infections (STI) and venereal diseases (VD), are illnesses that have a significant probability of transmission between humans by means of human sexual behavior, including vaginal intercourse, oral sex, and anal sex.
  • Teen Dating Violence — They physical, sexual, psychological, or emotional violence within a dating relationship. While dating, domestic and sexual violence affect women regardless of their age, teens and young women are especially vulnerable. Young people ages 12 to 19 experience the highest rates of rape and sexual assault, and people age 18 and 19 experience the highest rates of stalking.

How to Submit

  • Share a Google Doc
  • Visit the contest website here
  • Click “sign up with your e-mail address”
  • Enter your name, e-mail, and password –> then check your e-mail
  • Click the link in your e-mail
  • Enter your e-mail and password on the website, then enter the information it asks for
  • Check your personal e-mail for the PDF version of your parent consent form, sent by Mrs. O’Donnell
  • Upload your parent consent form on your application
  • Check your personal e-mail for the Word or PDF form of your entry, sent by Mrs. O’Donnell; then upload it to your application
  • To be entered in the Visual Arts category, entrants must upload original artwork along with a title and a caption
  • To be entered in the Media Arts category, entrants must upload a photo or video along with a title and caption
  • To be entered in the Creative Writing category, entrants must upload an original essay or poem with a title and a caption
  • Video submissions must not exceed 180 seconds (3 minutes) in length
  • Video submission files must be no larger than 1 GB in size and in one of the following formats: mp4, mov, wmv, avi
  • Art or Photo submissions must be no larger than 1 GB and in one of the following formats: jpg, png, or gif
  • Essay or Poem submissions must be at least 500 words but must not exceed 1,000 words
  • Only original music created by or music licensed by the entrant will be allowed in his/her video
  • If you enter as a group, you need to download the Group Entry Form on the website
  • Individual Entrant, not entering the contest as a Group, must be able to provide a release form for each person appearing in his/her video or photo submission of his/her entry. Sponsor must be able to contact each person appearing in the potential winner’s video or photo. Download the Appearance Release Form at the website  
  • You will be disqualified if your entry includes commercial products such as clothing, toys, food and/or their trademarks, brands, logo, or endorsements
  • You will be disqualified if your entry includes any third party materials (including but not limited to music) that may otherwise violate or infringe any of the following: Copyright, trademark, logo, or mark that identifies a brand or other proprietary right of any person living or deceased, clothing that is worn in the video or photo or artwork should not contain any visible logos, drawings, cartoons, phrases, trademarks or other third-party materials

 

The ABCEDARIUS + Passions

Students at GCAA were given this final assignment for their creative nonfiction unit:

Assignment
You will write a personal essay combining factual information and personal anecdotes. You may choose to do research for your factual information or it may just be information you already know based on your life experiences. The point of writing a personal essay in an ABECEDARIUS format including factual information is to write about yourself, but sideways, from a specific, creative, interesting angle.

Format
Your personal essay will take the form of an ABECEDARIUS and it needs to be a minimum of 10 pages. Keep in mind that you can make lists as part of your ABC entries. Or for letter Q you can write a little quiz for your reader, as demonstrated in the sample essay we read. Some of your letters could be poems or raps. If you choose to make each letter the same length, 10 pages = 2-3 letters a page, as 26/10 = 2.6. Or you can challenge yourself to write a page for each letter and make it 26 pages.

See one of the following ABCEDARIUS essays:

Passions

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ABORTION

Are there only two options?
Pro-life or pro-choice?
Is it one or the other? Or neither?
Take the life of a child?
Or the life of a woman?
How about pro-both?
The belief that you can’t stand for life
Of an unborn child
If you stand for the life
Of a working woman
Is entirely ridiculous.
There is not one situation of pregnancy
Without an urgency
In some way.
Shape.
Form.
Of a fetus, baby—I mean, clump of cells.
Life isn’t
Yes or no
This or that
The value of life isn’t restricted
To that of a woman’s
Nor that of a child.
But the importance of choices
Cannot be overrated.
Stop narrowing down opinions
Whittling down thoughts and specific cases
Until you are left with
Two frail pieces of idea
With no reason or logistics.
Statistics.
Shut down Planned Parenthood despite them.
Swallow the lies
To protect YOUR truth.
Because “religion” to protect the life
Of something you could care less about
Is like everything else.
Mine or nothing.
Ignorance isn’t bliss.
Ignorance is choosing:
“Pro-life or pro-choice?”

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Recipe for BAD PARENTING

Makes 10 servings of ill-natured children
Cook time: 18 years

1 cup of begging your child to do things
2 ½ cups of zero punishment
A teaspoon of unnecessary aggression
¼ cup of the “no-spanking policy”
5 tablespoons of bad role model
A pinch of fear

*Be sure to never make them clean up their own mess.

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CULTURE ABROAD IN COMPARISON

-We don’t have real holidays. Just excuses to get drunk and make mistakes. If we do celebrate a holiday with tradition, most don’t even know how it originated.

-We don’t understand the concept of interacting with people face-to-face. Everything is texting and calling. We’ve lost almost all sense of community. Countries like Africa, India, China, Myanmar all live in a way that SHOULD be desirable to us. Their neighbors and friends are family. When one is in need, an entire village is there to help.

-Our music doesn’t have much meaning anymore, aside from sex, money, and drugs. Go to almost any other country and listen to music that translates to stories of love, triumph, nature, etc. This isn’t to say that there isn’t any dirt in it. There is industry like that everywhere, but most countries have more creative and uplifting messages to send.

-Language. Almost every non-English speaking country has another, more respectful, form of speech used specifically for occasions when one converses with an elder or someone “higher up”. Sure, there is slang. But people seem more aware of the right situations for it in countries abroad, than here in the States. Somehow, people around here think it is perfectly acceptable to speak to their grandmother the way they speak to their “homies”.

-People here don’t understand how incredibly blessed they are to have the things they do. It is always about buying things you don’t need because you think it will make you happy or successful. Even some of the lowest class citizens have more to be thankful for than an entire South Indian village, but somehow, they know how to be thankful and happy without a flat-screen TV or the next iPhone.

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DEALING WITH DEPRESSION and ANXIETY (5 steps)

  1. Depression is a mental illness. It is not expected of you to be able to turn it on or off. Cut off anyone who makes you feel like you should be able to do that.
  2. It’s not your fault. Despite what anyone tells you, there is no such thing as a “mess up.” You are perfect the way you are.
  3. There is no such thing as “normal.” Normal is whatever you tell yourself it is. Try not to set standards for yourself. If we were all meant to look, act, and feel the same, the world would be a very boring place.
  4. There are going to be days where you feel like nothing. Where you feel like doing nothing, saying nothing, and feeling nothing. That comes with depression. Know that it is okay to ask for help and to talk about these feelings. In fact, it is very helpful.
  5. Surround yourself with the sort of influences that build you up instead of tear you down. If, at any point, someone or something seems to be making you feel like less important or less than the beautiful person that you are, make the decision to cut those people of. If you have a hard time doing that, again, ask for help.

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EVOLUTION vs. RELIGION

Everyone thinks that you can’t have religion if you believe in the theory of evolution. The idea that humans, and all of creation, evolved over time. This is huge misconception. I know many scientists that were very strong Christians. There is no boundary that lies between the two. Even the Big Bang Theory goes hand in hand with this. God created the earth, but started with light. Boom. Light. In the Bible, God created the earth in seven “days.” Now, the word that we see on the pages of the Holy Book says “day,” but in the original script the word used was just a measurement of time. It did not necessarily mean 24 hours. So one “day” could really be an entire era. In conclusion, there is no such thing as “evolution vs. religion.”

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Are you a FAKE FEMINIST? Take the Quiz!

  1. Do you constantly blame men for various world-wide societal problems? (“Men are always rapists;” “Men only want us to fail”)
  2. Do you hate it when the man on the date insists on paying the bill?
  3. Are you offended when someone holds the door open for you?

If you answered yes to any of the three questions above, you are a fake feminist. Feminism is about gender equality. Not sexism. Besides, men can be feminists just as women can.

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GOVERNMENT… AMERICAN GOVERNMENT.

A system in which white men work to gain more power and money for themselves, while complaining about the poverty in the places they have taken from. A structure built on great ideals, but ideals that are ignored or interpreted to the white man’s benefit.

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HOMELESSNESS

Problem created and unresolved thanks to an ignorant and lazy government. People believe that homelessness is due to bad decisions on the individual’s part (drugs, alcoholism, etc.), but a large percentage of the homeless population is where it is because of the city and state government. People will get laid off and become unable to pay rent and get evicted. Some people are running from unhealthy and abusive relationships. Another large percentage of the homeless population have mental illnesses and families who just don’t want to take care of them. People are ignorant to the real reason for problems like this. Ignorance isn’t a bad thing. It’s when ignorance turns into arrogance, prejudice, and hatred that it becomes a problem.

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INDIA

My absolute favorite place. Culture. Tradition. Family ideals. Gorgeous landscapes, monuments, temples. Diverse people, tongues, dialects. Happy sigh…

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JOHNNY DEPP

No words. Except…

  • The Invisible Man (2018)
  • Gnomeo and Juliet: Sherlock Gnomes (2018)
  • The Libertine (2017)
  • Fortunately, the Milk (2017)
  • Alice Through the Looking Glass (2016)
  • Pirates of the Caribbean: Dead Men Tell No Tales (2016)
  • Black Mass (2015)
  • Mortdecai (2015)
  • Yoga Hosers (2015)
  • Into the Woods (2014)
  • Transcendence (2014)
  • The Lone Ranger (2012)
  • Paul McCartney: My Valentine (2012)
  • Dark Shadows (2012)
  • Pirates of the Caribbean: On Stranger Tides (2011)

And like…a million more. 🙂

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24 KARAT

Can’t use anything else for my ears or they will swell up to the size of raisins (which doesn’t sound very impressive, but when they turn the same shade…)

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LGBT COMMUNITY

Can’t stand those freaky gays taking over your block with their rainbow flags?
Can’t stand the amount of attention those she-males are getting?
Can’t imagine having to share a restroom with one of these creeps?
Well I’ve got just the thing for you!!!

*drum roll*

A reality check. This is the world we live in. A world where ignorant idiots like you attempt to depict what is the correct way of living. You are only making yourself miserable. Don’t try to chalk it up to religion. You know that’s not why you act this way. God never once said “judge the people around you.” In fact, He said the opposite. We are supposed to leave that to Him. You only act this way because you are scared to accept that there are other ways to love than what you are comfortable with. It’s okay to be uncomfortable, but it is not okay to judge someone else for what and who they love.

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MUSIC THEORY…a love poem ❤

You are my tonic ❤
I always coda back to you ❤
You save me from deceptive cadences ❤
You transpose my life for the better…key ❤
You are my chorus ❤
You are my first, second, and third inversion ❤
But not fourth…that’s only for 7th chords ❤
My heart crescendos at your contrary motion ❤
You are my Ionian and my Locrian. ❤
I’ll even put up with your annoying relative minors ❤
Because…you are my tonic. ❤

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NUDIST HERMIT

What I will become if Donald Trump becomes president.

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OBJECTIFICATION OF WOMEN

I am not an object
Created for your visual enjoyment.
Prostitution
Is not my employment.
My body is a temple
Of self-doubt and insecurities
Thanks to you and your
“Fat body remedies.”
I am not reusable.
Consumable.
I am not an object.

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PSYCH

A show, full of crime-fighting idiots, punny jokes, and pineapples (for the road).

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Q: Finding Something That Starts with It

-To begin, search google for “words starting with Q”.
-Realize that this much too broad a search and narrow things down.
-Isobel suggests “quail” but I have no such passion for tiny birds.
-I tell her to mind her “P’s and Q’s”.
-Search “quadrolingual” because you want to prove your side of an argument.
-No one wins the argument but you still need a passion starting with “Q”.
-Give up and write a not-so-funny tutorial on how to find a passion that starts with “Q”.

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RACIAL STEREOTYPES

DO NOT use them around me. If we aren’t close, I won’t say anything, but you can be sure I am planning your death (not really). But seriously, whether or not the stereotype is one that regularly proves to be true, it’s irrelevant. You should never shove a person into tiny boxed categories. Everyone is different, despite cultural norms. If you are meeting someone of a different culture, avoid questions based off of racial stereotypes. Chances are, you will offend them, but more likely, you’ll just look ignorant.

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STANDARDIZED TESTING

Something created by people who:

  1. Never intended to take one
  2. Think everyone learns the same way
  3. Wish very much for you to fail

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TEA: Sweetened with Honey

If the house is empty of all honey…there is no tea. I will not drink tea that is sweetened with sugar. A spoon full of sugar may help the medicine go down…but certainly not the tea.

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UGLY DOGS

Pugs. Unless the pug is mixed with something else, I will NOT call it “cute.”

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VEGETARIANISM

  • Something to be respected.
  • It’s not easy to have a completely different diet than the majority of the world.
  • Something to take seriously.
  • Don’t call yourself vegetarian but make excuses for every time you want to eat meat.
  • There are different types. Learn em’.
  • Vegan, Lacto Veg, Ovo Veg, Lacto-Ovo Veg, Pollotarian, Pescatarian, Flexitarian, etc.

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WEARING LEGGINGS AS PANTS

Just don’t do it.

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X-TRA CARAMEL

The way I like my caramel macchiato.
With x-tra caramel.

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YELLOW

The worst color of all colors.
I would choose puce over yellow.
It makes people too happy.
Blue should be the happy color.
Yellow should be the color people use
To describe that feeling you get when you
Step in dirty water with socks on.

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ZOMBIE APOCALYPSE

I have come to the conclusion that I will be the first to die. No doubt. Don’t try to save me or have me on your team of zombie-killing gangstas; I’ll get everyone killed.

Carnivore’s Nightmare

Here’s another creative nonfiction piece imitating David and Amy Sedaris’s “Relationship Quiz” published in The New Yorker in 1997.

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Carnivore’s Dilemma

  1. You have made the decision to no longer eat meat. You have eaten meat for 15 years, but now you must consider the animals. Your best friend invites you to her birthday party: a BBQ. You…

a) You decide to go; you have self-control
b) Tell your friend they are killing animals
c) Go, but bring your own food
d) Arrange a group of animal rights protesters to show up at their birthday party

2. The party is done but you forgot to bring a gift. Thinking long and hard about what to get your friend, you…

a) Give her a brochure on how to go vegetarian
b) Write her an e-mail explaining how much she means to you, but you accidentally rant about how inconsiderate she is
c) Send her a veggie burger to make her understand
d) Ignore it; a carnivore has no business being your friend

3. Uh oh… Your friend didn’t respond well to your gift. She asks to meet you for lunch at a nearby restaurant. When you arrive, your friend has already ordered for you. A steak is sitting in front of you. You…

a) Dive in; the meat looks delicious
b) Put the steak in a doggy bag; you’ll give it to a homeless shelter
c) Throw the steak like a frisbee across the table at your friend
d) Light it on fire.

4. Things are heating up. You and your friend are in an argument. Everyone in the restaurant is looking at you. You take this time to…

a) Say sorry
b) Dramatically walk out
c) Force your waiter to be the moderator of the argument
d) Make a speech about animal rights for everyone in the restaurant

5. The restaurant staff are getting angry with how you handled the situation. They ask you to leave. You decide to…

a) Walk out; it’s not worth it
b) Try to reason with the staff
c) Get up on a table and sing “I’m Not Going” from Dreamgirls

6. The staff escorts you out the door. You aren’t happy with them man-handling you. You plot your revenge by…

a) Writing bad reviews of the restaurant on Yelp
b) Arrange an animal rights protest outside the restaurant
c) Poison the meat that comes into the restaurant
d) Sabotage the cooking equipment in the restaurant

7. You’ve been arrested for your revenge. You believe you are innocent. You plan to get out of police custody by…

a) Pleading innocent at your trial
b) Flirting with the guard they’ve given you
c) Picking the lock
d) Faking a stroke

You end up in the hospital. Being a vegetarian was supposed to be healthier. 

Are You a Prima or Nah?

What Is Creative Nonfiction?

”It’s always interesting – and somewhat annoying – when a vocabulary term is defining something it is not. Nonfiction is a broad category that includes history, guides on caring for your new pet kookaburra, sociology, books on wine making nd cycling and weather. All nonfiction. This kind of writing uses summarizing, instruction, reporting, and telling to get its points across. Creative nonfiction is always about the real, true, known world. However, it specifically refers to a kind of creative writing that uses the conventions of fiction in order to tell a true story. Instead of reporting, analyzing, explaining, or describing, which is what you do in straight nonfiction or essay writing, creative nonfiction relies heavily on the technique of scene making – letting the reader see the story, instead of being told about it. In creative nonfiction, the reader is transported visually and emotionally – the reader is in a scene. The story plays out as a movie in the reader’s mind’s eye, instead of appealing to the reader’s intellect alone.

There are two subcategories of within creative nonfiction: memoir and researched creative nonfiction. In both forms the writer uses images, scenes, metaphors, dialogue, and pattern. Creative nonfiction shows a writer expanding and questioning perceptions, learning more about the world and the self. In memoir, you tell a story from your own life in order to help the reader see his or her own life in a new, richer way. Researched work (sometimes called new journalism) combines facts and imagination in order to create scenes. As with fiction, creative nonfiction can be almost any length, from a paragraph-long micro-essay to a book.”

  • The Practice of Creative Writing, Heather Sellers

Check out this creative nonfiction piece modeled off Amy Sedaris and David Sedaris’ “Relationship Quiz.”

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Are You a Prima or Nah?

  1. Dance class you…

a) show up an hour early and stretch
b) you arrive on time
c) show up two minutes late
d) you never left because you live there.

  1. What do you wear?

a) expressive leotard
b) a leotard from Walmart
c) a large t-shirt
d) nothing

  1. How do you wear you hair?

a) a bun
b) French twist
c) a wig
d) your black and you have a fro

  1. So you injure your foot and can’t perform. Do you….

a) go to the doctor
b) perform an ancient healing ritual
c) put glass in someone else’s shoe so you’ll have someone to talk to
d) set fire to the rain

  1. The cast list was just posted and you find out you’re an understudy for the part you really wanted. Do you…

a) try you hardest to improve
b) make up a rumor that the person is sleeping with the director
c) commit suicide
d) threaten the director’s life by way of fire

  1. It’s time for curtain call and someone stole your costume. You…

a) steal someone else’s
b) don’t bow
c) go out there naked
d) cut up someone’s stuff so no one will have costumes

  1. After the show everyone goes out to eat but you’re not invited. You…

a) don’t go and rehearse some more
b) invite yourself
c) throw your own party and invite them
d) secretly poison them at the restaurant

  1. You gained 5 pounds and it’s the morning of your second fitting. Do you…

a) make your self throw up
b) sneak into the costume room and adjust your costume.
c) give everybody weight gain pills
d) go work out

  1. You are willing to kill anyone to get what you want

a) true
b) false

  1. You’re at an audition and you see your best friend and they’re killing it but you really want this part. You’re holding a water bottle in your hand. Do you….

a) squirt the water on the floor
b) throw it at their heads
c) cheer them on

11. Are you a good dancer?

a) true
b) false
c) blind the “b”

12. You have shattered your hip and can no longer dance. You

a) accept it and move on
b) you become a dance teacher
c) you put your brain in someone else’s body
d) blind the “b”

If the majority of your answers are D you are psychopath and have what it takes to be a prima ballerina.