by Ellie Cameron
People like to laugh.
We laugh at jokes on our phones, we laugh at characters in sitcoms, and we laugh with our friends telling stories to embarrass each other. I think it’s safe to say that the average person picks up some sense of comedic timing simply by consuming comedy.
So why do we feel that we can be funny, just not in writing? Is it lack of confidence? Is it lack of skill? Is it the lasting trauma of high school writing classes? Or is it a matter of context?
I was hesitant, but I knew my students deserved the opportunity to write about themselves, to be creative, to take risks and not feel restricted by strict project expectations. I prepared them as best as I could: we spent weeks close reading, responding to sources, discussing our topics, and partaking in creative free-write exercises as a class. We talked about writing as a process, instead of a five paragraph formula. When that fateful Friday night arrived in which students were expected to hand in their essays, I sat by the computer anxiously waiting for a disaster to take place.
by Courtney R. Hall
Celebrity memoirs and autobiographies are nothing new. They act as a fruitful branch of a celebrity’s branding arsenal and are a cash cow for publishers. Spanning decades, it’s been a commonly held belief that many, if not all, of these memoirs were written by an unnamed third party, a ghostwriter. These publications would be seen as a piece of PR material created for super fans, full of fluff like a celebrity's go-to salad that they would consume daily on the set of the television program that made them famous. However, there is a shift occurring in the world of celebrity memoirs and those with fame taking control of their own narrative. Some celebrities have raised the bar for what constitutes a great celebrity memoir in an era where social media blurs the distinction between privacy and publicity and shortens the gap between stardom and the unfamous. In a post #FreeBritney culture, the public is aware of how destructive and misleading both the paparazzi and media are towards celebrities, especially those that are women. Fans are tired of being spoon fed fluff. What they now crave is authenticity.
by Skyla Everwine
The most punk-rock thing I did this semester was stand in line at a UPS and try not to cry. It wasn’t the basement shows or broken guitar strings, but being at UPS at 4 p.m. on a Tuesday. I had but one task: to print nine pages, double-sided and in color. And then do that until 50 more times.
It was the fourth or fifth printer I had gone to in order to print the zine I was making. I had learned that commercial printers were hellish portals to untamable frustrations, and that making the project for my Self-Publishing course with Dr. Jason Luther was far more difficult than it needed to be. I had turned what could have been a single page mini-zine into 36 pages of digital and hand-collaged interviews.
by Caitlin Hertzberg
As early as I can remember, I’ve always been a writer. I’d always been gifted diaries throughout my childhood, swirling gel pen tips to doodle hearts in the margins near the names of boys I crushed on, spilling the ink of my secrets onto lavender-scented paper. I would steal phrases from overheard conversations and work them into melodies that tortured me from inside my head (I still do this). One of my earliest memories of being a writer is from 4th grade, ripping out sheets from a 99-cent spiral notebook and begging my grandmother to “staple it good” down the middle so that I can write stories like Judy Blume and Jerry Spinelli.
Notice I make no mention of writing in school: The kind of writing with strict sentence and paragraph minimums, about topics I couldn’t care about no matter how hard I tried. The kind of writing that you work on for weeks on end in the overheated computer lab, revising, revising, revising, memorizing the teacher-provided rubric until every word of your assignment sounds like an owner’s manual for a VCR.