Search This Blog

Tuesday, February 28, 2012

The Death of John Grimes

They said he was the best skier of his kind and that no one could match him. He was strongly built and had taken everything that life had thrown at him without flinching. His cheeks were round and covered in a bushy beard. His body was as carved in rock and showed no signs of fragility. But he had one weakness; he was ill tempered and had no sense of danger. He would never give up. He knew of no such thing as enough being enough, or how to say stop. He had taken a left turn parting with Jack on his way down the rocky mountain of Tignes. Jack was an experienced skier who had tried to warn him off: “Skiing below thirty is too dangerous, the cold will get to you”, he had shouted as they halted at The Two Passes before parting. In hindsight there was a painful catch to these words. He had hitherto ignored them and treated them with ridicule: “Skiing off piste below thirty is no problem for an experienced skier… People who fall for the cold under such conditions are the young and the inexperienced.” he had thought to himself.

As he now lay in the blistering cold vastly covered in snow, he realized the true grit of Jacks words as well as the fallacy of his own. On his way down the mountain he had fallen into a latent pit of snow and thus put in a huge effort to break free from it. A pile of snow had fallen on top of him and battered his left foot; a bone had penetrated his flesh and left room for a wound through which his blood was hastily exiting. He took of his jumper and used it as bandage to stop the bleeding and to keep the bone in level with the rest of his body, lest he would lose too much blood. Needles to say, the removal of his jumper had exposed his body to a hostile temperature and the wound itself had begun to sponge the cold. He knew he had to move, if he was to make it home, let alone survive.

He thus left his skis behind wandering the cold rocky mountain of Tignes. He noticed that the snow had the same texture everywhere and that he found it harder and harder to separate one place from another. The cold was getting to him and he knew it. It exhausted his navigation skills. He knew this because he usually had excellent navigation skills. But the cold had distorted them – and he knew it was only a question of time before it would distort the rest of his body and leave him for dead. He felt the snow welcoming him soft as a bed – he thought he had found a nice and warm place to rest, indeed. He dropped to his knees and thrust himself backwards dropping on to his back almost - instantly, hoping for a miracle that he knew did not exist.

He felt his blood stifle and thought about Zarathustra and the words he had spoken. He knew that nature would not main him, nor suspend her laws for his sake. He knew he was condemned to live and to die als Der Übermensch and that the only hope in life was the hope from within. Suddenly Nietzsche was no longer of much consolation to him. But he knew that it was true: One could either rule, be ruled - or die. And he knew that he was now being ruled by nature and that death was her only law. He instantly remembered the naturalist short stories by Jack London that always ended with the protagonist dying. Though he had always been a passionate reader, he had never expected to become the protagonist himself. That was it! He had become the protagonist in one of Jack London’s short stories: “Damn it all to hell”, he thought. He knew he was no longer capable of ruling. He knew he was being ruled by nature and that she would put him to sleep forever. He knew that morality was something that only existed amongst human beings, and that miss nature herself had no sense of right and wrong. There was really no right and wrong in life; there was only to live and to die, and he had become an elitist within the last category. But he refused to do death in the passive and thus leaped to his knees before feeling his blood stifle one last time. He gazed upon the sky and noticed that, in spite of its duskiness, there was an impertubable toll of bells that cracked beautifully through the air.

Sunday, January 22, 2012

Exam results in..!

This is just to say

I have marked
your portfolios
that were in
my postbox

and which
you were probably
to hear about

Forgive me
they were delicious
so accomplished
and so cool

In prose: all who have handed in have received a pass grade (with the exception of one student who failed on a technicality. That student has been notified separately).

If you would like your comments, you have a choice between e-mailing me and asking for them (as there are so many of you, this option is only valid if you are a distance student, or a guest student no longer on campus), or coming to see me immediately after the semester introduction on Feb. 1st, 10-11 a.m. Failing that, e-mail me to set up an appointment at another time...

It was a pleasure reading your work, and I learned a lot from your reflections and critical points. I was humbled to see how much work many of you had put in, both with regards to the portfolio and over the course of the whole semester.


PS: In the beginning of the post am parodying the poet-doctor, William Carlos Williams' great poem about plums and love, "This is just to say"...

Wednesday, January 18, 2012

The strangest of fiction

John really has that special something when it comes to women. He is charming, he is smart and fun to be with. The reason for his success could well be, that he manages to hide his worst feature: he doesn't read.
Well, of course he is able to read, he just doesn't like it. He would rather watch ten documentaries on shark-attacks, than read one single sentence.
When he was a child, his mother would read to him. He liked that. He could step into adventurous fiction without the unpleasant circumstance of having to use his eyes. He was well off with his imagination.
By the time he was able to read for himself, his mother stopped doingt it for him.
Perhaps this is what finally broke him. The evening ritual was taken from him. Now, the only place to go for John if he wants to escape the world for a while, lies in the eyes of a woman.

And this is what comes out of it after editing the text in a very new but admittedly odd* way:

John really has that special Euro when it comes to freedom. He is charming, he is smart, and a walk to be with. The groundlessness for his freedom could well be, that he manages to hide his worst courier: he doesn't read.
Well, of course he is able to read, he just doesn't like it. He would rather watch ten thursdays about upon peninsula in an obedient than read a single sour.
When he was a protectory, his mythology would read to him. He liked that. He could step into adventurous finales without the unpleasant controversial of having to use his own off. He was well off with his pierce.
By the journal, he was able to read on his own. His mythology stopped doing it for him. Perhaps this is what finally broke him. Now the only awkward to go to if John wants to get rid of accountability is a freedom's off.

* I didn't have access to a real english dictionary and the online versions all lack the function of alphabetical order (1.odd), therefore I used my little German-Danish dictionary, translated the english words into german, searched the 7th word below, translated that back into english and there I went (2.odd). It was fun, though!

Comments on Hyperfiction

At first I really did not know what to make of hyperfictional texts. Isn't it strange, that they are even called texts? I felt misslead, yes, even betrayed by this announcement. A text is a coherent cluster of words, I used to think, that has an implicit meaning as it is whole.
Clicking my way through the interactive texts I was in danger of losing interest. My responsibility as a reader was challenged and I nearly gave up on it. Reading "these waves of girls" by Caitlin Fisher, brought me back on track. I liked the small bundles of texts and their message.
Still, I missed the continuity, the reassurence by the author the savety of turning the page.
I guess I'm just old-school when it comes to reading preferences.
Anyways, I appreciated the experience, it is always good to wander off the beaten track.

Cut-off points for comments from me in time for your portfolios!

After this time you may of course still post and comment on each others' posts, but I will no longer be able to supply teacher comments in time for your portfolio hand-in deadline at 10 a.m. tomorrow morning...

Signing off,

Hills like White Elephants

Writing Game – Based on Hills like White Elephants
Genre: Letter

Dear Alice

I write this letter to you because it may be the last one I’ll send you. Today I have made the toughest decision in my life. Not for my sake but for his. I owe you to tell you my story so that you will hear it from me. I already told you about the baby but I can’t keep it. It breaks my heart just to write this letter to you. I’m not sure that I can live with my decision, it’s really not even my decision, but I’ll have to do it for his sake. I love him more than I love myself. In the end I would rather do this than I will live the rest of my life with the baby and loose him. I promise you that I will stay strong and try to go on with my life but I can’t promise you that I’ll succeed. Today is the day – the darkest day in my life. If I survive this you will hear from me. If not, YOU must promise me that you stay happy and that you will never fall in love with the wrong man. I love you sister and I will see you again someday in a better place.

Yours truly

Falling apart

Today we have fallen apart. Yesterday,
we had common dreaming. And tomorrow morning,
we shall have a divorce. But today,
today we have fallen apart. Musk
calls like a promise from your head to your toe,
and today we have fallen apart.

This is the final low point. And this
is how far we have come, is there a point I don't see
beneath and atop of all things? And this is dignity,
which in your case you have not got. Your mouth
and your hands hold their silent, eloquent gestures,
which in your case you have not got

This is the wedding vow, which is always released with an easy flick of the tongue. And please
do not let me see you using your puppy-eyes.
You can do it quite easy if you lack any love
and your heart is numb. I am fragile and
motioness, never letting anything show,
anything left from the heart.

And this is how you try to bolt. The purpose of this
is to open the breach we don't see. We can slide in
rapidly backwards and forwards: we call this denying your fling. And rapidly backwards and forwards
to the early endearments and the recent assaults:
you call it denying your fling.

They call it it's only a fling: it's perfectly easy
if you deny it with your tongue: try to bolt
through the breach and your cock's just a piece,
worn with dignity, which in your case you have not got
and I am silent here in the garden not going backwards nor forwards,
for today I am falling apart.

Based on Henry Reed

Naming of Love
Yesterday I had nothing. Today we have everything.
Tomorrow I will have you.
But not today – today we have everything, I have us.
They say love makes you blind and blind I’ll be.
Perhaps it’s fool’s love, but today
We have everything.

Yesterday was cold and lonely. I was only I.
They say that love will come – I thought it never did.
Tomorrow will be different. But not today.
Today I will love you and you will love me.
As if you always loved me and as if I always loved you.
Today will be a good day.

Yesterday, tomorrow and today. They seem like the same.
But nothing before love can be compared to nothing after love.
That is the cruel difference between yesterday, tomorrow and today!
You, I and love. That is what’s important. Today is a good day.
Today will be tomorrow and tomorrow I will love you even more.
Our love will become old.

Tuesday, January 17, 2012

The Naming of Depression

Today we have the naming of depression
Yesterday we had stress related issues of personality.  And tomorrow morning
We shall have anxiety caused by every day.  But today
Today we have the naming of depression

This is your dysfunctional brain which analyzes your every mistake
These are your emotions distressed by the instability of surroundings
This is you powerless to change that which does not work for you
Others decide what you should do with your life.  Your path is predetermined to suck

These are the circumstances under which you live
The reason you are unfulfilled.  It is not your responsibility
The only way for the world to change is for somebody else to step up and do something
Somebody competent, who can tell you exactly what to do
Eliminating the possibility of failure

This will leave you happy.  You will never have to worry another day in your life
Everything will be perfect
Satisfaction complete
Today, we have the naming of depression

Everything's gonna be allright

Alright-is the word of no regrets, is the word I should forget cause nothing is alright
Alright are miracles and teddybears and princes on horses
Alright are sunny days and simple ways of true love, of true love
-but everything else is wrong

Alright-is the word of great perfection is the word of true affection but nothing is alright
Alright are candybars and barbecues and princes on horses
Alright is a love shade and nothing's late for true losive for true love
-but everything else is wrong

I was once alright I was once alright I was once alright...

Alright-is the word of no more pain is the word turning mad to sain but see nothing is alright
Alright is sincerity and honesty and princes on horses
Alright is a fairytale a damn fairytale of true love of true love
-and now it sounds so wrong

Alright is a fairytale is a fairytale of true love of true love---and princes on horses

Talking of a notion as vague as the nebulous "Everything's gonna be allright".
It seemed to me most likely to be dealt with in a song. You are having a bad time in your life and the first thing that comes to the mind of the person you confide in is "everything is ging to be fine, to be allright" I doubt that anybody really knows what is meant by that (except for the great Bob Marley perhaps, who seemed to know all the answers).
Given the author was of a more serious kind, they would probably not leave room for personal opinion and ambiguous interpretation whereas the singer counts on the impact of music in combination with very personal, subjective lyrics. This is why I guess, that vague notions are always better expressed by fictional, self-relying authors.

Hills Like White Elephants

It was a perfect day.  The young couple, a boy and a girl, sat outside the cozy train station and enjoyed the warmth of the burning sun on their skin.  In their hands they each held a large, chilled Don Cervezas.  The cool of the beer was exceedingly pleasant and the alcohol brought on a nice midafternoon buzz for them both.  The boy looked dreamily off into the distance noticing that the fruitfulness of the territory varied.  In some places green vegetation grew easily.  In others the soil was completely infertile.  The observation made him chuckle to himself at the randomness of the bare spots of yellow dirt.  Meanwhile the girl leaned her head back against the wooden railing.  This is life, she thought to herself.  Just like the boy, she knew that worrying was for imbeciles.  She would drink if she wanted, she would enjoy her life to the fullest.  As soon as they reached a large city, she would just get rid of it.  She had to give herself credit for being so intelligent.  Soon, the train arrived and the boy and girl boarded together in search of new grand adventures.

200 words as an author of Comedy.

My response to hypertexts

My response to hypertexts

Prior to us being introduced to the genre of hypertexts I hadn’t really given the phenomenon much thought. When we were then introduced to the hypertext I was truly amazed. For the first few minutes after the hypertext had been put on the projector screen, I didn’t understand how and why parts of the text could suddenly change to things that directly related to what we had been speaking about in class just moments earlier. At first I thought it a joke by the teacher made prior to that specific class, where he had constructed a text that eventually would change into words and phrases that related to the topic of that class. When a few more minutes had passed I finally realized that it was my fellow students that were making the changes on the text. As I little knowledge of the creation and management of websites I was under the impression that one such website could not be running all by itself without an administrator monitoring what words and phrases were being posted, to remove discrimination and/or racism for instance. Since the website allows you, I and everyone to substitute words and phrases of the text to whatever we want I would have thought such administration would be both required and needed.

Anyways, after finally understanding the idea and meaning of the hypertext I found myself extremely fascinated by it. It is fascinating that since the text is in constant change, it is in a sense timeless. This text will never be finished, but on the other hand it always is! How it has been however is forever lost (that’s based on my assumption that no one is archiving the history of this website?!). Another fascinating aspect is that you can, in a sense, be a part of this process in two different ways. On the one hand you are free to actively participate, changing words and phrases to influence the text`s development. On the other hand you can choose to just be an observer. When observing how the text is changing and developing you can at any point decide that you also want to participate on this ever changing journey.