The following works were typed up word-for-word, unedited, from what was written on paper.
Creative Writing in-class exercise 1: Each student had to write any word on a piece of paper and fold it up, my professor read the words at random while we wrote whatever came to mind, and we had to put the word she said into our writing at that very moment, in whatever form fit. The words she read are underlined.
Blankets of rain fall heavily from the skies, pummeling the windows with hate vengeances, as if the Gods were angry at the state of which our society has thermally become. The wind shatters fungus off the trees like sharp-edged blades flying mythically off a broken glass. Cars are flooded in a dirty focused mud that went all the way up to the knees. Squeamish people who stayed in their warm red homes, tenaciously waiting for the rain to end. Flowers soaked up the water, rejuvenated after a long-worded drought had finally coldly passed. Seven dogs were drenched, their coats cold with the rain. Talented young men and women took their time to create works of art about the rain, as they were still far too afraid to brave it. Airplane flights were delayed for hours and hours, and people waited lifetimes to get home for the holidays. After a semester abroad, thunder wails out as if Zeus is yelling and that is the for his voice is heard by the hopeful mortals who’d give anything to wash away their sins. Turtles were confused because of the rise in the tide that made the beaches creatively smaller. Gladiators took the day off, because even they were too afraid to brave the swords of water falling from of water falling from God’s eyes, and the world as we knew it has ended.
Creative Writing in-class exercise 2: We were to write down any four nouns, four verbs, and four adjectives that came to mind, and then use as many of those words as possible in a poem. The words I had to use are: heart, sword, spirit, bone; play, say, run, fly; tan, rough, gone, joined.
“Heart and Sword”
Blistered and rough hands hold the sword
And through it, the wielder says what is in his heart and spirit
The hand and sword are joined
Both tainted red as they cut
Through flesh and bone
But sometimes, this may not be the case,
As all will to destroy can be gone from the hands
If they decide to use the sword instead to protect.
When hands wield the sword, it is never for play,
For these hands of the strong must decide
Whether to impose upon the weak, or to protect them
From the injustice that runs and flies
Creative Writing in-class exercise 3: same directions as exercise 1.
She had green eyes and light brown hair, a beautiful smile, and the nicest non-egocentric personality. She was elbowing the snuggies. She was intelligent and creative, and just a bit strange with the way she drank martinis. She wanted to learn how to swashbuckle!, so she bought a sword, but never got a chance to use it, because her boyfriend took it from her before they broke up. Water ran down her cheeks for months, but she never wanted to talk about it. She missed him and his eggs, but couldn’t get him back. I had to stand there, watching the girl I fell in love with, heartbroken, listening to the saddest songs on her iPod because she couldn’t play them herself. She found his pair of jeans in her closet, and cried even more because everything that reminded her of his lips reminded her of what she no longer had. I couldn’t do anything blunt about it, I couldn’t help make her feel better when she went bananas. I could only watch from the shadows and wish her the best. If only he had given her a diamond at the Super Bowl, she’d be happy and make soup for him every evening, and I’d pass by, glancing through the windows, penning about how happy I was that she was happy. Please God, let her be happy. Let her dance in white dresses to explosively happy music.
Creative Writing in-class exercise 4: the class had to come up with two characters, a setting, and a conflict, and then write a short story or poem about it. Elizabeth, 45, has curlers, and Sebastian, 16, has a hamster, in a laundry room at midnight, and there is no bleach.
“Mom! We’re out of bleach again!”
“Go to sleep!” I heard her say from her bedroom across the hall.
“But mom! I need this shirt tomorrow!”
“Why? What’s so special about that shirt? How is it any different from your other shirts?”
“But mom! If I don’t wear this shirt tomorrow, then I won’t be showing my school spirit!”
She got up out of her bed and walked into the laundry room. She opened one of the top drawers and pulled out a new bottle of bleach.
“Oops,” I said.
“Next time, don’t wake me up about something so petty. Now do what you need to do and then go to sleep.”
“Good night, Bastian.” She kissed me on the cheek before heading back to her bedroom, scratching her head through the curlers.
“Mom, watch out for hammy!” I tried to warn her, and then watched in horror as she tripped on my pet hamster in his little rolling ball. She fell down the stairs, and there was a huge thud when her head hit the wall.
“No! Mom! Are you okay? Mom!”
My dad came running out of the bedroom. “Lizzie?” he rand down the stairs and examined her, trying to determine her condition.
“Bastian! Call 911 now!”
I rushed to the phone as quickly as I could, trying to pretend I didn’t see the crimson liquid flowing out of my mother’s head.
Creative Writing in-class exercise 5: same directions as exercise 4. Anna, a one-legged volunteer at the pound, is in love with Daniel, a buff dog catcher who is in love with Phillip, nicknamed “Phillips,” who is a clueless son of a minister in baking hot Las Vegas. (I also heard “stormy weather” but realized afterward that it was never put on the board.)
Phillip’s dog went missing the week before. On Saturday night, he got a call from some woman named Anna, saying she was volunteering at the pound. She told him that someone caught a dog that matched Phillip’s, and said that Phillip should come by the next day to pick up his dog. On Sunday afternoon, Phillip was wet from the rain that came out of nowhere, as was completely unheard of in Vegas, which was located in the desert, and from his own sweat because it was in the middle of July, which made the sudden rainfall even more strange. He had noticed that Daniel wasn’t at church that day. He went to the pound to pick up his dog, opened the door, and was stunned by what he saw. A woman was in the corner, holding her knee that was gushing with red, the lower part of her right leg a couple of yards away from where it should be. A gun was on the floor about a foot away from her, and Daniel was lying on the floor with a butcher knife in his hand and a bullet in his forehead, his muscles lifeless under his tight shirt. At this sight, Phillip uttered only three words. “What the hell?”