Archive for the ‘Journal’ Category

exercise, p. 298

In Journal on April 27, 2011 at 9:20 pm

Developing a dramatic premise for “The Tortoise and the Hare”

Premise- Plodding wins the race.

Based on the ideas that- 1. Boasting does not win races, or anything else, and 2. If a person is boastful, he or she will be defeated by those who work slowly, with diligence and humility.

Scene 1- Tortoise’s morning at home.  Must rise very early in order to eat breakfast and get ready for school.  Has very long lists of tasks to complete and a large calendar he uses to track school work.  Very type A and a health nut.  Rides the bus to school.

Scene 2- Hare’s morning at home, opens with Hare jumping out of bed upon realizing that he is late for school.  Struggles to find what he needs for school, his caffeine pills, and his keys.  Angry, he decides to run all the way to school instead.

Scene 3- In the school’s courtyard, before the first bell.  Hare has run all the way, and is arriving just as Tortoise is getting off the bus.  Hare is tired and clumsy, and knocks Tortoise off the curb as he passes him.  Hare doesn’t stop to help, but crosses the yard to brag to his friends about the distance he had run that morning.  Tortoise has righted himself and makes his way toward Hare.  Tortoise approaches just in time to hear Hare’s call for a challenger.  Confident with anger, Tortoise accepts.

Scene 4- Group moves to the school’s track for the race.  Hare speeds ahead of Tortoise, who is reciting his multiplication tables as he moves.  Hare runs completely out of sight of Tortoise, and doubles over.  He’s having heart palpitations due to all the excitement and his long time addiction to caffeine pills.  He is confident that he will have time to lay down and take a nap before Tortoise rounds the entire track.

Scene 5- Hare wakes to Tortoise about to finish.  He tries to win, but it’s too late.  Hare is stunned and reacts wildly.  A teacher approaches just in time to see Hare bouncing around Tortoise, slapping his shell and shouting for him to “come out of there!”

Scene 6- Hare is given after school detention.  He can see Tortoise board the bus after school through a window.


exercise, p. 328

In Journal on April 27, 2011 at 1:31 pm

BETH:  The pitcher has my goldfish in it right now.  You’ll have to use a mixing bowl.

KEVIN:  Looks like one of them has gone to paradise.

BETH:  What are you talking about?  (Looks at pitcher) They’re both in the pitch…

KEVIN:  See the one floating at the top, belly up?

BETH:  Oh, no-Bubbles!

KEVIN:  That means he’s a floater.

BETH:  What a jerk you are!  Everything you see is a joke, and everything you say is sarcastic.  You won’t even hold off when my pet has just died.

KEVIN:  Yeah he’s dead, whether I was sarcastic about it or not!

exercise, p. 304

In Journal on April 27, 2011 at 1:20 pm

Scene continued after the bank’s message…

MAN:  Let’s take a personal loan from Sovran.

WOMAN:  No.  I don’t feel comfortable borrowing money to fund a vacation.

MAN:  Now that we’ve paid off the second mortgage, we’d be able to make the monthly payments.

WOMAN:  Yes, technically we would-

MAN:  But?

WOMAN:  But we’d be back at square one.

MAN:  We deserve this!

WOMAN:  Yes we do. (pause) We also deserve to take a vacation without falling back into debt.

MAN:  Look, I know how hard the past few years have been on you and that’s exactly why I think that this would be worth it!  A chance to start fresh!

WOMAN:  Or a chance to throw money problems on top of money problems and hope that they cancel each other out…

MAN:  You’ll never really be debt-free, you know.  Would you rather be indebted to the bank, or to your marriage?

exercise 2, p. 313

In Journal on April 26, 2011 at 2:31 pm

Scene in which: 1. Two characters (Martha and Maggie) are playing scrabble 2. Arguing about whether abortion is right or wrong 3. Waiting for their lawyer to call regarding their lawsuit and 4. Sitting in another woman’s (Bird’s) kitchen as she bakes a cake


Challenge!  Contractions don’t count.


You’re ridiculous.  And that’s a ridiculous rule.  We can all plainly see, everyday, that people everywhere do in fact recognize contractions as actual words.


Those are the rules.


All right then, I’ll pass. (Exchanges tiles)


I want Dennis to stop this nonsense.


He always calls back eventually.


Well, if ours is truly the only case he’s working on, which I doubt, there should be no reason to delay in returning phone calls from his only client!


Still your turn.


I don’t like his secretary, either.


(As Martha plays her turn) See?  This is exactly what I was saying earlier.  How can you so thoroughly criticize a situation that exists for your benefit?


Basket. 14 points.  (Pause)  Abortion laws don’t benefit me if I never abort a human life, do they?  And neither does my lawyer if he wins my case, but never tells me!


(Phone rings.  Martha and Maggie are preoccupied with their argument)  You cannot control other people’s actions, Martha!


Yes, because laws don’t exist to protect innocent people from the harm that others would…


(Interrupts while kneading dough) Shall I get the phone?

exercise 1, cont. (p. 313)

In Journal on April 26, 2011 at 9:14 am

More on “Procedure”

Beat three begins with a new scene.  A remains cool and questions B about her feelings on the procedure.  We learn that it was B’s first time to handle a cadaver.  The beat ends with B stating that the procedure will remain a memorable one for her.  Beat four begins with A revealing that the dead patient was actually her father.  This unravels the tension created by A’s clinical detachment.  The beat, and the play, end with B admitting that her emotions obscured the information she was supposed to have been retaining.  A’s response mirrors the premise of the piece; that the past is unrepeatable.  This neatly resolves the various functions of the work.  The premise is stated, or rather, made clear to the audience, the plot comes to an end and the physical action, or dialogue, is realistically wrapped up.

exercise 1, p. 313

In Journal on April 26, 2011 at 8:58 am

Analyzing the beats in Joyce Carol Oates’ Procedure:

In the first beat, we see two nurses about to prepare a corpse.  One is obviously in charge (A,) and the other is a tyro (B.)  The beat ends when  B says aloud that it’s her first time to prepare a body, and A gives her a look of reproof.  The first beat contains information about the nurses’ relationship with each other.  The second beat consists of all of the steps of the procedure.  I think that one could say that the second beat is made up of several “micro-beats,” with each being a particular step of the procedure.  In each “micro” beat, nurse A remains cool and professional as she instructs B at each step.  Following each instruction, B reveals her inexperience with the physical aspects of the procedure and her emotional discomfort with the gravity of the situation.  This pattern serves three purposes: 1, It keeps the plot moving, or keeps the nurses actively carrying out the action they’re on stage to perform 2, While performing the actions, the characters are revealing things about their nature, and 3, The build-up of all these micro beats within beat two creates a lot of dramatic tension.  Beat two ends with A instructing B to transfer the body “quietly and with dignity” to the morgue, when B has been anything but quiet and dignified.

More Words…

In Journal on April 11, 2011 at 9:23 am

A continuation of my effort to not procrastinate.

Atavistic– adjective form of atavism

Atavism- recurrence in an organism of a trait or character typical of an ancestral form and usually due to genetic recombination.  2.  an individual or character manifesting atavism

Proustian–  of or relating to Marcel Proust, his works, or his style.

So a Proustian moment describes a situation where an individual, without conscious effort, remembers the past upon seeing some random cue in everyday life.  Proust is often credited with identifying this concept.

Inimical- being adverse, often by reason of hostility or malevolence.  2.  Having the disposition of an enemy; hostile.

Finding More Ideas

In Journal on April 7, 2011 at 10:39 pm

Words interest me, specifically their associated meanings.  This interest exists outside the role of student.  From time to time, a book will hound me into starting a list of words whose meanings I intend to look up.  My interest must be wrapped in ego, because I initially resist admitting that a list is called for.  I do not stop reading to look up definitions.  Instead I do the best I can with context, and put the list aside forever when I’m done with the book.  The lists can be found in every room of my house.  Eventually, a word will begin to repeat itself on the lists.  I usually have the meaning down by the third or fourth repeat.

The following are words that I read in various sources today.  Their definitions are my first attempt at breaking the habit of waiting through multiple books to learn something.

Heuristic- Involving or serving as an aid to learning, discovery or problem solving by experimental and especially trial and error methods.  Also, of or relating to exploratory problem solving techniques that utilize self-educating techniques (as the evaluation of feedback) to improve performance.

Solipsistic- Overly concerned with one’s own desires, needs or interests.  Also, solipsism (in philosophy) is the theory that one’s own mind is the only thing that can be known and verified, and/or is the only reality.


Finding More Ideas

In Journal on April 6, 2011 at 11:09 pm

I am a little saddened that I have a plethora of things that irk me.  Listing things that please me is much more difficult.  I hope to discover, in the process of writing this particular journal entry, some things that perhaps I have been taking for granted.

First thoughts on what I do know pleases me:

Making high grades on exams, and to a lesser extent, school work in general.

The Gulf Coast.  I’ve found that these waters/beaches are much more friendly to people who don’t know what they’re doing.

Seeing my son from afar.  Close up, it’s easy to forget how small he still is.

A breeze or wind that blows in the exact moment that I’m having some supposedly profound or heavy thought.

My family, all of them, some by blood, some by love.  It pleases me very much to have such a diverse (can I say we’ve been around, Mom?) group from which I can draw inspiration, seek shelter, and learn about love and loyalty.

Being in graveyards, which I know might seem macabre, but for me is incredibly calming and good for my perspective.


Women politicians.  Even Palin (sorry Jen.)

Lastly, The Good Wife, which blows my mind every Tuesday night.


Finding Ideas 2

In Journal on April 5, 2011 at 2:38 pm

More material in case my initial idea falls flat-

What irks me?  Speech class.  Not because I have to get up and speak in front of others, but because that class is so “anything goes,” due to the actual content, I guess.  Theoretically, I don’t think my classmates’ relationship anecdotes will enlighten anyone as to how to communicate better, but there it is.  To the point, the text we are using in this particular class uses the words “masculine” and “feminine” in the place of “assertive” and “passive” at every available opportunity.  I understand that, in some cases, stereotypes may actually prove to be true for individual people or situations.  Beyond that, I still do not understand why reinforcing stereotypes is acceptable at our institutions of higher learning, as long as it’s printed in a textbook.

I asked my Professor, “At what point in time are we going to stop saying masculine/feminine”, and start using words that are significantly more accurate?

He answered, “That stuff is going to be around for a long time.”

I think he is right, especially if we all continue to keep our eyes closed to the power language has over our thoughts.  And that is a point which I will hear NO arguments against (at least in the class that uses the textbook in question) because we’ve been tested over concepts like the Sapir-Whorf Hypothesis, “linguistic determinism,” and “linguistic relativity” throughout the semester.  Sometime after I posed this question in class, I came across Orwell’s “Politics and the English Language.”  I’m afraid to read it thoroughly, because I might find that the essay doesn’t carry the damning evidence I think it does, but Orwell or not, I sense that there is a chasm between the theories we are taught and the methods or words that are used to explain those theories.

*Note*  I do not intend to disrespect my Professor, or the class he teaches.  I do mean to disrespect the lazy people who who severely underestimated their audience when they wrote the textbook in question.