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Writer’s Mind Portfolio By Troy Spinks


Table of Contents

Pages 3-6 Shadow Narrative

Pages 7-8 Translation 1

Pages 9-11 Translation 2

Pages 12-14 Reflection


“You haven't been talking to me enough” she says. “I know,” I reply, “I've been really busy with work here” This is how most of the conversations start, and this is supposed to make me want to talk to her? I remind myself that long distance relationships are work, but then again should relationships be work? If you like someone it should come easy, naturally. Then again nothing about this has been easy. We've been dating for six months now, for two months I was home and she was at school, for one month we were both home, and for the past three we've been at separate schools. The first two months were easy, I had a car and some free time to drive. Sure we'd fight more than usual, but everything in our relationship was new and fresh. She was vivid in the back of my mind even if I was faced with options of other girls in front of me. The third month was easier, she was there, we were together. The three months that followed got difficult we would fight about everything, not seeing each other, not talking enough, sometimes about nothing at all. The past two weeks were especially bad, nothing I said was right and everything she said gave me a headache and an excuse to sooth it. Thoughts meeting someone new were a constant tease. It was starting to tire me out, but I liked her and wanted to make it work, so I did the best I could. “What are your plans for tonight?” as I attempted to continue the conversation. “I'm going out with my roommates, my friend just met a guy in a fraternity and wants to introduce me to his brothers,” she coolly replied, “what about you?” Pinching in between my closed eyes I responded, “I have a couple friends from home that are coming up, we'll probably go out and drink for a bit.” “Well you have fun with that, “she commented, I've got to go get ready, talk to you tomorrow?” “Sure thing, I'll give you a call in the morning,” I ended our chat with. I put down the phone and picked up the bottle, “pregaming was for champions,” I always


said, plus I needed to have my mind elsewhere by the time my friends arrived. I was on the right track by the time they got to dorm. My friend explained to me how he knew two girls at my school and already had a party lined up for us. A few shots later and we were out the door and en route. Before the party we met up with the girls and her friends. Introductions, handshakes and hugs ensued. During the crossfire my eyes met another stare, the kind of greeting that gave the two of us ideas of how our night would end. She was wearing a purple dress and had straight black hair, not that I ever had a preference. While walking out the door with our new fellowship I pondered how my girlfriend's introductions went during her evening's excursion, and decided I didn’t want to know. During the walk to the party I fought my disability of forgetting names and attempted to learn as many as I could before the flood of names and faces to follow. We all talked and joked courtesy of our new buzz. I spent extra time with the girl I previously exchanged a moment with, exchanging information and small talk. By the time we reached the party the keg was tapped, the pong balls were flying and the DJ was cranking out jams for the dance floor. We filled our red cups and gave ourselves a reason to refill them just as quick. “You want to get on table?” my friend asked. I reintroduced my sights to the girl in the purple dress across from me and respectfully declined, knowing that based on our past winning streaks we would be playing much more than just one game. The party went on and people came and went, but my new friend and I remained close to one another as eventually my better known friends went off in different directions. At that moment I thought of my girlfriend, my uncertainty of her, yet the undying passion that still existed. My thoughts were quickly distracted by matters that were far more present, such as the “do you want to dance” question that was presented by my lady the dress.


Sparks turned into fire on the dance floor confirming my previous suspicions. I couldn't help but feel like someone was watching us, like my girlfriend's informers were secretly feeding her information unbeknownst to me. I tried to scan the room for any ninjas or cameras, but with the room as dark as it was, vision was poor at best. Then thoughts went to if I should feel bad, if I would feel bad.

I tried to look back at our roller coaster of a relationship, yet the

harder I looked, the more I realized that I could only look forward at the woman currently in front of me. There was really no justifing it, I knew I was in the wrong, but how wrong was it? If I stayed with my girlfriend and didn't replace her, could it really be so bad? I decided this would be a problem I would deal with the next morning, by simply not telling her and going about our relationship as usual. Eventually the party broke down, but or night wasn't over. We made it back to my room and ended up sharing my bed for the night. The next morning was one of the last times I saw her. “So how did your night go?” I started the promised conversation with. “It was kinda lame, we actually ended up staying in and hanging out with people in the dorm,” she honestly replied, “how was yours?” “It went well, it was good to see my friends again,” I honestly replied ommiting certain details. As the talk continued I became less worried. I started to realize that I had been just as worried about getting caught as I was about hurting her feelings. However, what you don't know can't hurt you and as long as I still liked her it felt okay. The next two months were painful. The fighting got worse, and I held onto the hope of summer when we would both be back in our hometown able to see each other. To stall for time I ended up sharing beds for a night with two other girls. When summer came I finally realized what I hadlost. I had thought that it would be worst if I got caught, if I had made her feel bad, but really what I hurt most was our relationship. When we were finally together again, there was


no more spark and I had distanced myself from her so many times that she was no longer special. We broke up two weeks into summer and I haven’t had a girlfriend since.


Life is a game Every game you can cheat Get away with it once And you’re bound to repeat

If life is a game Everything else is too But if you always cheat The person you hurt is you

You think its great Claiming a free reward But it comes with a price A double-edged sword

You’ll get away with it And you’ll try to forget But you’ll continue on Head filled with regret

So when you see the girl in purple You’re going to have to choose Is what you will obtain

8 Greater than what you’ll lose My poem translated to the reader the theme of my narrative. It covers the idea of cheating and the effect it has on people. It eventually does make direct mention to the specific piece in line seventeen, otherwise it could be viewed as a poem not necessarily connected to anything. The poem’s structure is a simple a b c b, rhyme structure. It uses four lines a verse having lines two and four of course rhyming with one another. This gives the poem a nice flow and makes it pleasant for the reader to read or say aloud. As I stated in my introduction, my poem focuses on the theme of my narrative. This is a common trend that most of my poems have. As a writer, I find it easier to make my poems about themes rather than about stories or events. This way more emotion is brought out through a poem over an idea rather than an event. This being said, the poem serves as an adaptation to my narrative. The poems connectivity to the narrative is gradual. The first verse arguably has nothing to do with my narrative except for introducing words that could act as signifiers to the themes and ideas of the narrative. It then goes to talk about the final idea of the narrative in second verse followed by how it happens in the third and fourth. In the fifth verse the connectivity to the narrative is strongest. In the fifth verse the connection of the two pieces is strongest. It starts by working off of the created visualization established in the original narrative, while talking about the unknown girl in purple. It then goes forth to put you in the character’s/narrator’s shoes by going over his options. This is a major part of the narrative and therefore I felt was an important inclusion in the poem. While the theme of the poem is cheating on someone, the climax moment is when the main character makes the final choice of whether or not he should do it. This in turn results in the conclusion of the piece which is the disconnect and separation of the main character from his girlfriend.



For my second translation for my final portfolio I chose to go with a T-Shirt design. I thought this would be a cool way to illustrate my shadow narrative by working off of the idea of the “Girl” skateboard / clothing company. The shirt design that I created illustrates A boy and a girl holding hands on the font of the shirt, with a girl standing alone on the back of the shirt. Underneath the front image it reads “Boyfriend” and underneath the back image it reads “and Girlfriend”. Despite the simplicity, he combination of words and images translates my shadow narrative in a few different ways. My shadow narrative was written about the main character going out and cheating on his girlfriend with another woman. Despite mention of the girlfriend, the other girl is in more of the piece than the actual girlfriend. What is said is that the main character and his girlfriend are apart in different schools. This leads to the idea of the words. On one side you have the word boyfriend and the other girlfriend. Naturally you can’t have a boyfriend without a girlfriend, however on the shirt the two words are separated as much as possible, creating the feel of detachment. The word “and’ keeps the words connected even with their separation. Next is the difference in the pictures. To start, the picture on the front is a contradiction when seen with the word below it. While the word boyfriend is a single person, there are clearly two people being shown above it. To continue the contradiction, boyfriend describes a boy, while one of the people above the world is shown as a girl. This relates to the idea that there is more to just the boyfriend as shown by the shadow narrative. While the front of the shirt is a contradiction, the back is not. The girl on the back is clearly labeled girlfriend and is shown to be connected to the boy on the front by the use of the word “and”.

11 What is important about the girl is her placement. The girl is placed on the back of the shirt away from the boyfriend. This says that the girl is behind the boyfriend, leading to believe that the boyfriend is doing things unaware to her. This gees along with the shadow narrative, as the girlfriend never figures out what the main character is doing, as the main character does it behind her back. Despite the shirt using simple images, font, and word choices, the shirt is able to accurately translate the shadow narrative in a few ways. It shows the disconnect between the couple, while showing the connection between the main character and the random girl. It also works off of an already popular shirt company logo for a clean and familiar feel.


With every class, a student should learn and take away from the material as much as possible. Depending upon the class depends on the subject of said material. Based on the subject are goals that the teacher helps the students to reach. Upon completing writer’s mind, I can now look back and reflect on reaching the assigned and personal goals. A goal that I found helpful and rewarding to learn about was goal number two: experiencing revision as an ongoing process rather than an end point. This goal was learned about while working on my shadow narrative. I personally learned about this goal by doing many revisions and trying to look at my piece from multiple angles and reflecting upon different ways to enhance the story, This was not an easy goal to learn at first. In the beginning stages of the narrative, I wrote about a completely different incident. This incident was somewhat boring to me and when I tried to do revisions the story wasn’t getting better. This helped me learn that it is much easier to write about a topic or story that is not only interesting to your reader, but also interesting to the writer. After giving it some thought, I went back and completely rewrote my narrative about a different incident in my life. The topic that I chose was not only more interesting, but it also made it easy for me to make multiple revisions about it. I feel like this was an important goal to focus on because it teaches one to keep writing after the work is “done”. This goal also allows the writer to take a step back once its done and look at the piece from different angles that the writer might not have thought about in the original draft. These minor inputs of extra dialogue, description of scenery, or the additional look into the characters mind may be the simple extra step needed to make a good piece of writing into a great piece of writing.

13 Another goal that I strived to achieve was goal number three: anticipating how audiences construct meaning from texts. This was an important goal for me in two different ways. This goal was looked upon from not only a writer’s standpoint, but also from a reader’s standpoint. As a writer you want to know the boundaries of what you can and can’t say in your work. This is because of how you readers may or may not interpret your writing. To do this a writer must master the id, ego and super ego. A way to learn about this is to read. As a reader, you interpret people’s work as you read it, reflecting upon the material in your own personal way. A paper that I remember reading that had multiple ways of viewing it was the paper “We Do Abortions Here: a Nurse’s Story”. The paper reviewed the feelings, emotions, and actions that came with working at an abortion clinic. To some this paper may be too graphic and that would turn them off from enjoying the piece. Others may have personal opinions about whether or not abortions were right or wrong (i.e. pro-life vs. pro-choice). Based on the topic of the writing and how it was written, readers could look at this piece a number of different ways. Combining experience as a reader with experience as a writer allows on to gauge how readers will respond to their work. This is important with all forms of audiences. This also helps audiences Something that I hoped to gain from this class is learning how to mix different writing styles effectively. This was a goal of mine because I felt that in my work I was only using one style at a time. To elaborate, my goal was to effectively mix description, dialogue and thoughts. As a reader, you want to be entertained by the piece of writing you are reading. To be entertained, one’s brain must be functioning. If one reads from one perspective, eventually the reader becomes bored. Therefore, multiple viewpoints are used to keep a reader entertained. Using a diverse

14 selection of writing techniques allows a reader to see a story for different angels quickly. This In turn makes the piece more enjoyable and easier to understand. A piece that I took information on regarding this topic was “An Evening in April”. This piece used multiple viewpoints effectively to reveal trait about all of the main characters. While the narrator was the mother in the story, the reader was easily able to analyze and understand the other main characters in the short story. This was done by not only narration, but by dialogue from the characters and description of their surroundings. Writer’s mind was a class that I can look back upon and say that I completed my goals. I can now go back and look upon my writings and revise them effectively. After mastering the id, ego and super ego, I know where I can go with me pieces and can safely guess what my audience will think of it. Finally my pieces will be complete and diverse thanks to the correct use of different writing styles.


writer's mind final portfolioI I sure hope I get an A!

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