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Ryan Roberts Professor Delhagen The Writer’s Mind 5/9/2014 Portfolio 1. Calibration Assignment, Parody Assignment, Shadow Poem Assignment and Memento Assignment. 2. Revised Shadow Poem Assignment 3. Self Reflections


Calibration Assignment

Writing Process I have made several reflections on this past writing. I unfortunately could not find a past creative writing paper I had worked on. This analysis paper however still provides a solid view into my writing process and the thought behind my initial writing: 1. A. When writing an analysis paper, I first read over whichever story I chose and try to find something interesting that stands out for me. 1. B. I read “The Wife of His Youth� over and over to find something I felt was interesting but somewhat concealed ( I do not like being ordinary. 2. Reading through, I eventually settle on that the story was trying to convey a hidden message that true love was at its simplest form, the most important element that makes a human a human. 3. I then wrote this idea down and put it away for a couple days. I wanted to think and expand my ideas so my thesis was not so one noted and boring.

4. I like to go to each separate paragraph and write the opening line. After writing each paragraph’s opening line, I then start from the beginning and expand each paragraph with my collected ideas. 5. Once I come to a point, I like to reread the first half and second half of the paper to make sure there is no type of disconnect. 6. When finished, I then like to go back and reread the whole thing.

Someone may say: He likes to have a structure early on. He likes to be creative within each paragraph separately but likes to keep it somewhat restraint.

Habits 1. I tend to get very philosophical, sometimes too philosophical. There is a time for faith and opinion, and then there is time for being concrete. 2. I tend to have some run-on sentences. I very rarely check for punctuation or sentence structure when first composing my paper. This tends to make some of my writing a little hard to read at first. It makes revising a very long process. 3. I have trouble connecting the main idea of my paper with my ideas sometimes. I believe the hardest thing for a writer is being able to be creative while still maintaining the main idea. You must keep some sort of restraint on your writing or else it can become disorganized. 4. One other thing I noticed is that my writing tends to be a little drawn out in spots. This is negative because it seems that some parts of my writing are actually stronger than other parts. This messes up the overall balance of my writing. Each

part of the writing should be strong. There shouldn’t be a big difference in strengths of points throughout writing.

Image Reflection When looking at my image, I chose to keep the color scheme that was originally selected for me. I think the color scheme alone can alone tell how I write. The colors were very colorful with a large array of colors. This I think shows my uniqueness and creativity in a sense. Also, the colors can be seen as a bit girly in a sense. I think this is a good representation of the emotions I tend to write in. Emotions are even the most prevalent word I used in the story according to my image. I really try to make a connection between people and ideas which lends with the idea of emotions. Then another big word is love. This use of love really lends back to the idea that I tend to go very philosophical in everything that I write. Simplest is also very big. Simplest can be seen from a few different spectrums. The view I believe I attempted to come from was that simple goes right with emotions. When you think about it, emotions in most areas are simple. People tend to overcomplicate them but having an emotion is a simple and beautiful thing.

“The Twenty-First Curse” “Take it bro! Take it!’ I looked up and all I saw was another shot practically being forced down my throat; what a night. I lost count of what number this one was. I figured it was somewhere in the twenties or so, truthfully I may never really know. I wanted to stop awhile ago but it is my twenty-first birthday and you can’t say no to a drink your friend paid for.

“Love you bro!” I felt like I heard that every other sentence that night. Occasionally they would mix in “broseph”, “my dude”, “brotha man” and when they were really feeling sentimental they would call me Bruce. Seemed appropriate since it was the name my mom had actually chosen twenty-one years ago. Pety’s was crazy that night. The bar was streamed with flashing lights that made the bar look more like the foundation of a night club than some run down old dive. My friends even went the extra mile to sing me happy birthday at least six times that night. Wherever you looked, your eyes were being attacked by neon lights. You could barely move anywhere. Beautiful girls filed in the whole joint, which caught my attention even more than the lights. You had to get right by each other’s ears to have a conversation. All sound was being dulled out by the droning of people around you on top of a Killers song playing in the background. It was so loud that it made it hard to think most of the time, especially in my drunken state. Round after round, me and my boys kept killing the shots. Soco and lime, fireball, Bacardi, cinnamon toast crunch shot, Rupplemans; everything was going down like water. We had no care in the world. Everything happened that night. I saw four bar fights. I got six girls phone numbers, none of which names I remembered I might add. And I spent no money on alcohol, and I was loving every minute of it. Through all the noise and commotion, I got some moments of self reflection. I looked around and it was like I was staring through a permanent pair of prescription glasses. The only problem was I had twenty-twenty vision. Through this wavy vision, I could make out a few things. I looked around at all my friends who were obviously enjoying their time. I mean your best bud only turns twenty-one once. Off to my right, I

saw the old crowd dancing like it was still 1979, doing their terrible interpretations of what could be mistaken as disco dancing. They had a surprising amount of energy for such an old crowd, I mean all of them had to be at least in their forties. I was tempted to go ask why they were missing bingo night or catching the senior citizen’s special at the nearest all you can eat buffet. I swore I could see their grey hair and wrinkles even through my less than perfect vision. Every wrinkle and crack on their body was sticking out like a hot girl at a party. Everybody kept looking at them with such derision quickly followed by some rude remark poked at them. But the oldies didn’t let that bother them; they just kept shaking their bell bottomed pants like they had no care in the world. It had never hit me before that that was me in about forty years. What right did I have to mock them? They were just hanging onto that youth that I have, that youth that I never really appreciated. It was a weird sight as I then scanned the room as a whole. I started with the old crowd and made my way to the left. It was like I was in a time machine. When I went left to right, I saw these old folks turning back into the people who they probably still saw themselves as. Then I scanned from left to right and saw the sad fact of life; nothing lasts forever. “Yo Bruce snap out of it you bitch and take this shot!” Steve exclaimed while handing a shot to me. I just stared at him a second. I was taking in the smile on my best friend since kindergarten’s face and decided to return the joyous smile and stop with the sad thoughts. “You got it bud! Best night ever!” This big birthday came quick. It seemed like just yesterday I was finalizing all the plans for my big night.

“Steve you think I should invite Franny?” “Yea Man why not? You want everybody at the bar that night, especially Franny, boy is a party animal.” Steve started smirking and then said, “And don’t forget to invite Amanda, it isn’t gonna be a good night without her and all her friends there.” “Yea I will bro, just was kind of hoping to meet a few girls we don’t know there, yaknow?” “Yea,” answered Steve. “But it never hurts to have a backup plan,” he said in mid wink. This night was my obsession for months. Everybody rants and raves about their twenty-first birthday. It had to be the nights of all nights. Truth is, it wasn’t all that great. I love looking back at that night but not for the reasons a person would think. I don’t think of all the girls I got with that night, or all the shots, all my friends or even just the significance of the night in general. I didn’t even look back at the absolute worst parts of that night, like the eventually addiction to alcohol, many instances of being broke and the drifting away from friends I once held so dearly, even Steve. I look back envious of that right corner, envious of the knowledge that had then that I hadn’t gotten until I reached their age. It has been a long time since the last time being carded, a long time since my biggest worry in life was what I was doing next Saturday night. Some may even say I fit right into that right corner these days. I have had many “big birthdays” since then, none of which I looked forward to nearly as much as my twenty-first. My thirtieth was good and satisfying but it was just one step closer to forty. Forty, well I think of that one more as the day I officially could be classified as bald. Then of course there’s the big fiftieth birthday, and well yea I don’t think I need to get into my mid life crisis stories.

Over all these years, I have only learned one certainty in this journey we call life. That certainty is that youth is wasted on the young.

Game of Forgotten Kings This is how a tragedy is written. The impressionable pigskin, Soaring perfectly through the sky. A moment caught and gone. Glimpses of the goal post in the distance. No care in the world. Encapsulated in a child’s game, By every touch and every sound. That game was of the best, And of the worst. We played a game of kings, But not every king lives forever. That game of the elite, Not for the weak of heart. Those days were years prior; Eight times a year For the technical mind. The king’s shoulder now refused To lift the same. The emotions, the serenity, Replaced with remorse. So close to one’s dream Oppurtunity came and had gone All had forgotten. Constant thud had finally done it in. The gridiron had taken its toll. A scar took the place of joy. The place of an agonizing reminder. The pigskin no longer spiraled. Feelings no longer joyed The King now lived a peasant’s life

Now lived everyday Lived with the pain in his heart That same pigskin was his death, And no one stayed to play. Family Portrait It was like I was in the middle of some painting that had been stuck on the wall for years. Everything around me was old and depressing. There were no vibrant colors. It was just emotionless space. I was the part of this picture that didn’t belong. I was a crying child surrounded by older relatives who had lost these emotions shortly after their mid life crisis. They all gawked at me. The room was deader than my Uncle Jim was. “Aw, what a poor kid! It’s okay Ry, it’ll all be alright!” my Aunt Lucy said running over to me. I looked up at her streaming silver hair and over done makeup. She had this clownish grin on her face. Surely she was trying to comfort me but all I kept thinking was how someone could be smiling when my second father just passed away. She grabbed my cheeks so hard, it was like her hands where nut crackers on Christmas Eve. I sat there continuing to cry and refused to speak to my Aunt Lucy or anyone. All the grownups sat there talking about all “the good times”. They were laughing like they were watching some cheesy sitcom. Was I the only one who really cared about my Uncle Jim? It sickened me to hear them carry on like it was a holiday. It wasn’t a holiday. It was a disaster. It was more than the average ten year old should have to bear. My Aunt Lucy tried to come up to me again. “Come on Ry Ry, this is something we all have to go through. God has a plan for us all.” Something hit me. It was like someone just punched me in the gut. I began feeling a rage that nobody should ever feel.

My blood began boiling over hotter than the pits of hell. I looked up and with these feelings in check could only muster one sentence. “There is no god.” Her expression instantly changed. Her face lost any positive emotion and just stared back at me. It was like she was staring into the face of a monster. She turned quickly away and made her way to the kitchen where my Great Aunt Thelma was being consoled by some of my older cousins. Finally alone, I was free to let my mind wander. I finally had a chance to think about my Great Uncle Jim. I started remembering all the things I was going to miss; all the football games with him and my dad going back and fourth about, all the Flyers games and him cursing up a storm, all the random mall trips, all the hot cocoa on winter nights, all the brisk walks around the neighborhood and most important all the big hugs when I left. It is true I lost an uncle that day. It is also true that I lost a father that day. But my biggest loss was that cancer took my best friend that day. I spent that night at my Great Aunt Thelma’s house. We both sat there watching TV for hours. I kept looking over at her. Each time I expected there to be tears streaming down her face, and each time I saw nothing. The only thing I saw was that same strong woman with crazy poofed up red hair with such a joy for life. She had her same thing glasses on and presented than smile that even an atomic bomb couldn’t destroy. She turned her head and returned the look at me. I was confused. She was so calm and had just lost the greatest man I had ever known. “What’s on your mind kid?” she said amid her same beautiful smile. “How can you be so calm? Uncle Jim is gone. He is never coming back.”

Her smile grew bigger. She said nothing and rose to her feet. She just kept smiling. She walked towards her potted plants, picked up the water pale and began to water away. She was very thorough with her watering; making sure every plant had gotten a sufficient drink. She dropped the pale and turned toward me. “Your uncle is gone but I’m going to see that jerk again. He always told me he would beat me anywhere, even to those pearly gates. That man always has to win.” She said. I sat there expressionless in return. She gave me one last smile and walked towards her bedroom. Everything was said without uttering a single word. She was a creature of action and those actions spoke to me. Who you are when you’re ten can hardly hold a light to the person you would become. Values and perspectives alter people dramatically. Experiences shape us into who we are, sometimes people we would never even expect. While I am far from the same naive kid I was then, it would be farfetched to say that I don’t still dream and imagine with the same amplitude. The great thing about being young is the ideas we can create. We can create dreams that can melt the heart and soul. They can create beauty that the eye could not grasp while witnessing. We can also think up nightmares that could shake our spirits to the core, nightmares that would cause the goose bumps to appear in an instance and send a chill down your spine. The human mind is the most incredible thing in the world. There is no limit to the sadness and joy we can imagine. It is both our biggest achievement and biggest curse. Not a day has gone by that I haven’t thought about my uncle. He lives in my mind, my heart and his initials now reside on my back. It is impossible to think about the good times you shared and not give a second thought to the great moments you had yet to

experience together. You think about all the football games you had played in that he promised he would be at. Truthfully, he never got to even see me play. It had been a long layoff since my high school days; it was my first game in almost four years. I woke up with my heart racing a hundred beats a second. “Wake up Ry!” my mom yelled outside my door. “You’re going to be late for your game!” I popped up and sat there for a second. I took a look at my uncle’s dog tags that hung from my dresser. I had placed them so that they would be the first thing I see every morning and last thing I would see before I went to bed. After I broke this trance, I gathered all my pads and flew out the door without even acknowledging my parents. I jumped in my car, turned it on and pulled out of the driveway like a bat out of hell. “Wait!” My dad came running out of the house faster than I had ever seen him move. He stopped on the passenger side window, was silent for a second and looked up at me. “Keep your head on a swivel son. I love you.” I looked back into my dad’s eyes, nodded and drove away. I thought the game was going to drag but it was flying by faster than I expected. I started and was having a good game. I was solid but unspectacular. I was consciously holding something back. Nobody knew but it was the twelfth anniversary of my uncle’s death. Football was far from my mind at that point. I had written my uncles initials on the tape I wrapped my wrists with. I looked down at it every play. Play after play, I was doing my job but not up to my ability. I was like a zombie out there with no motive. “Let’s go boy! Do it for the old man! He’s watching you!” someone screamed out. I turned my head toward the sideline and saw my mom and dad. They stood there holding a sign that read my name in big bold lettering. I just stood there for a second. My

parents made it. I shouldn’t really be surprised though, they had never missed a game. Maybe my uncle hadn’t missed a game either. My motivation had finally hit. I lined up for the next snap. Everything was in slow motion. “Set hut!” I moved with a burst toward the quarterback. The offensive tackle mirrored my move. I quickly spun and left the fat out of shape lineman in my dust. In two steps I head reached the quarterback. I threw him to the ground and got up in what felt like one motion. My teammates mobbed me and patted me on the helmet. When the dust cleared, I stood there by myself again. I stared down at the initials again. I then rose my hand and pointed straight to the sky and just looked up. One beam of light had come from out of the clouds. I guess my uncle was smile back at me. He never missed a game and I knew he never would again.

2. Game of Kings Past and Present This is how a tragedy is written. The impressionable pigskin, Soaring without fault through the sky. A moment captured and quickly forgotten. Glimpses of the goal post in the distance. Without any care in the world. Encapsulated in a child’s game, By every touch and every sound. We played a game of kings, But not every king lives forever. That game of the elite, Not for the weak of heart. That game was of the best, And of the worst Those days were years prior; Eight times a year

For the technical mind. The king’s shoulder now refused To lift the same. Constant thud had finally done it in. The gridiron had taken its toll. A scar took the place of joy. The place of an agonizing reminder. The emotions, the serenity, Replaced with remorse. So close to one’s dream Hopes came and had gone All had forgotten. The pigskin no longer spiraled with ease. Feelings no longer joyed The King now lived a peasant’s life Now lived everyday Lived with the pain in his heart That same pigskin was his death, And no one stayed to play. 3. Self Reflections A Writer’s Mind pushed the envelope for writers in many different. We are taught to prepare the best work we can in order to receive the grades that will signify our abilities or improvements. This class really made me think about how to make my work better rather than just to think solely on what grade I was getting in the end. Truthfully, revision and prewriting has never been a strength of mine. It turns out that I was thinking about it to vaguely and almost as if it was a boring and useless task. I found myself thinking more in depth of how to improve my work and actually enjoyed it. Techniques we learned in class made me really think about different ways to strengthen my abilities as a writer.

The Calibration assignment was not one of my favorite assignments. It just seemed kind of tedious. It however did start to make me thinking about how to evaluate things that I write. I considered it somewhat of a stepping stone for the class. I thought of it more as an assignment to make me think. I have not done a lot of creative writing in college so far so I had to do an assignment that was more of an academic piece. This made this assignment sort of boring for me. The parody assignment may have been my favorite assignment in the class all semester. I really like how we could really be a little light hearted in this assignment. I have never really considered using parody in my writing. The techniques we learned really made it funny to make a somewhat serious topic more funny and relatable. It helped make talking about issues much easier. In my story I was able to sort of insult the “passages” people have in life like turning twenty one and go into detail how people never really stop to appreciate every day because they just look forward to these “big moments”. The shadow poem may have been the hardest assignment for me. I do not have much background in writing poetry at all. This lack of experience was really challenged by also writing about a really tough moment of your life. It was easily the most revision I have also done in this course. The formatting of poetry was a tough thing for me to get the hang of. I didn’t know exactly how to break a poem up correctly and how to organize lines well. I really liked my idea of using my past experience of losing a football scholarship and comparing football to a king’s game. After revision, I think I finally got it flowing a lot better.

The Memento Narrative Assignment was the most interesting assignment we had to do. I have never used a flashback sequence in a story. I never even thought to attempt to link two events like that in one story. It can be a really useful technique in trying to keep a story concise. It can also be really easy to show a character became who they are through actions rather than just telling. It also makes it great to link two seemingly unrelated things to each other. The assignment made it possible for me to link the death of my uncle with my first game when I returned to the football field. These events do not sing very similar at all but I believe my story flowed very well. For my Final Project Revision Assignment I chose to once again redo my shadow poem. I chose to redo this particular assignment because this was the assignment that gave me the most trouble. I have read a lot of poetry but this was really one my first time actually writing my own poem. This assignment chose to challenge me even further due to the fact that I had to write a poem about one of the worst and most challenging moments of my life. In my original poem, I wrote it in one stanza. I also chose to not use much punctuation. I found that this lack of formatting and punctuation made the flow of my poem terrible. I found that I had a lot of unnecessary lines in the beginning. Some sentences that I liked I even cut out words to make it flow better. I actually did like my original title but nobody in the class really seemed to like it so I tried to run with an idea somebody had. I chose to change the title from “A Game of Forgotten Kings” to “A Game of Kings Past and Present”. I think getting rid of the word forgotten made the title just flow a little better. I do think that I could even work on the title even more however. I chose to really go hard with the king and peasants references to really make football players seem important in a sarcastic way. When I was in high

school, I was treated like a god because I was good at football. I really think the king references really make playing football sound overly important. I really need a lot of work on writing poetry even though I feel like I did improve by leaps and bounds. Listening to my poem out loud and class really made it more obvious of what mistakes I had. I chose to revisit this assignment for my revision because I felt like poetry was my weakest point in writing. I felt like I could definitely improve my poem the most. It was by far the piece that I was least proud of presenting to you. Looking back on it, this class really turned out to being maybe my favorite class of the semester. I did not really know what to expect on the first day of the class. I enjoyed the very relaxed environment that the class had to it. I believe it really made me a much stronger writer. I now have a huge appreciation for the revision process of writing. I never really considered how much thought really went behind understanding how to make your writing better.

Ryan Roberts Writers Mind Final Portfolio  

Spring 2014

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