Posts

Ideas and Such

Image
I have a friend in Russia that writes stories in English, Oleg. A few years ago a meteorite exploded above a Russian city and coated the city in alien dust. What if there is alien bacteria, or an alien virus, from the meteorite? That's what inspired Oleg to start writing. I've helped him a little bit with editing some other works he translated for friends. Next year he plans to publish an anthology of flash fiction horror stories featuring writers from something like a dozen different countries. It's a cool project. I'm going to contribute and co-edit it with him. So, today I'm going to come up with a flash fiction horror story idea, but I'm going to go over seven completely different ideas I've had first, because horror isn't my main focus.

Number One
This is a two brothers story. That archetype has a great tradition with Cain and Able and Romulus and Remus. In this idea I take two brothers. Something sets them on exploratory quests, I'm not sure wh…

What is Fiction? And, for that matter, what is art?

Image
I've been thinking quite a bit about why we read fiction. Here is how I'm defining it, I'll explain it afterward. Fiction, and art in general, is a make-believe conceptually modeled simulation of reality, often exaggerated and distorted into hyperreality, that is useful for emulation learning as well as being an entertaining and enjoyable end in itself.


Basically, I've come to the conclusion that we read fiction, and appreciate art in general, for two different reasons. One, to prepare for life, to practice life. To try to understand and wrap our minds around people and situations. In this sense fiction is a distillation of life. A novel is a sort of potion, essence of life. The second reason is almost the opposite. Sometimes we read fiction, or delve into art, to escape life. Decisions and problems are too much. We are worried, we are frustrated, and we need to go somewhere else, do something else, be someone else.

I will probably delve more into this in the future. T…

Eleven Comments From ESL Students

Image
It's interesting to get comments from students. Through one of the companies that I teach for I have an almost random selection of students. A student pops up, a workbook pops up, and we start. That's where these comments come from. They are mostly translated from Chinese into English, so it might sound a little odd.


Here they are, in reverse chronological order.

1 - Thank you for your patience

2 - Thanks tor teaching me English toningt.In fact,you should teach my little brother,but he is very shy and it is a first day to learn English.I hope you don't angry with him. Thank you!!

3 - Very patient teacher who will guide children in communication, good teacher

4 - Thank you! Ttacher.

5 - I am sorry, teacher, I will not send my heart, only one, do not mind. I really like your class and I'm glad to meet you

6 - You are a good teacher. You teach well. Thank you.

7 - Teacher you are very good ! I like you soo much ! Your class is very fun ! I will study English forever,and I…

"Kinderello" By Jenny (aka Carrie), with some help from Jeff

Image
"Kinderello" has been finished. I helped, but perhaps less than one might think. At the least, the story itself is entirely not mine. The full story, as it stands, is below. As an aside, Jenny noticed that the name Jenny is very common and another girl in her class was using the name as well, so she now uses Carrie at times, I still call her Jenny. Let me know what you think of the story.



------------------------------------------------------------------------------
Once upon a time there was a boy named Kinderello. He lived happily with his mom and dad. Every weekend he played water polo with his father and his father taught him a lot.
Once, Kinderello went to school. His father and mother went to work. Suddenly there was a car driving very quickly and nearly hurt his mom. So his dad pulled her with his whole weight and his mom was okay, but his dad was crushed by the car. His mom took him to the hospital, but it was no use. His father can never play water polo with Kinderell…

Stories With Students: Jenny Writes a Cinderella Parody, and Parker Continues Writing About Pokemon

Image
Jenny and I were studying 'The Raven' by Edgar Allan Poe, but we made a pivot.


Her school teacher had been the one to originally urge her in the direction of studying English poetry. I urge my students to bring anything to me that they want to learn. That's how we end up on such interesting subjects.

Robert Frost's 'The Road Not Taken' went well, and 'The Raven' was going well also. But Jenny's teacher made a new suggestion, that she work on writing a story. This came up in our conversation, so now we're doing it.

Jenny read Cinderella originally when she was 4, I assume in Chinese. She's been thinking about writing her own version of Cinderella for about a month. I asked her to tell me the basic version of Cinderella just to get a feel for what she felt was important in the story, but she's been thinking about this for too long already and here's what came out instead.

----------------------------------------------------------------…

Creator and Destroyer Archetypes, Creation and Destruction Myths

Image
This is going to sound like I'm trying to sort these ideas out for myself. That's because I am.


Which story isn't about the creation or destruction of something? Not many.

Books like 'Harry Potter' and 'The Lord of the Rings' are obviously about destroying things. Horcruxes and rings mostly. But it's more than that. The whole point of Harry destroying the Horcruxes is that it will destroy Voldemort. The whole point of Frodo destroying the One Ring is that it will destroy Sauron. But it's more than that too. By destroying Voldemort Harry destroys the thing that threatens to destroy (or remake) the world. By destroying Sauron Frodo destroys the thing that threatens to destroy (or remake) the world. Most people view it as Harry and Frodo destroying evil itself. That can only be so if Voldemort and Sauron represent the ideal forms of evil, the archetypes of evil.

Now, these are the two most loved epic stories in all of history, but they do have a ton o…

The Never-Ending Procession of Ideas

Image
It's more like ideas are happening to me rather than that I'm having ideas. I couldn't stop if I wanted to. My only choice is to ignore them or to not ignore them. It's a lot like dreaming while awake. If I ignore the dream then I will soon forget it. So, here are some of the ideas that have floated through my head concerning stories recently.


I have a student named Alex. We've read a number of small story books. Recently I asked him if he wanted to change it up, look into something else. "What do you want to learn?" As it turns out he wants to learn about flowers. I like tulips. We are now getting dangerously close to the limits of my knowledge pertaining to flowers. That is sarcasm, but it's slight.

We started looking at various kinds of flowers and I found out that his favorite flower is the lotus flower, which is a cool flower. Looking through all of these flowers my mind began to turn. A magic system based on flowers could be interesting.

If flow…

Exploring the Case Study of an Eight-Year-Old Second Language Speaker's Writing Process Using Transcription and Dialectic

Image
This is one of the most interesting things I've ever done, and my list includes making a mistake skydiving, being trapped on a ledge and stepping into a crevasse mountain climbing, being hit while running with bulls, scuba diving through jellyfish, whitewater rafting, mountain biking over the cascade mountains, being poisoned while on the beach of the Indian Ocean in Kenya, getting a black eye and a bloody nose in a giant tomato fight, and many other things. My point is, it's awesome!



My article from a couple of days ago was about the Pokemon story that I wrote for Parker in one class, and how he came up with the ideas for his own story. When we started this lesson he said, "If I can write a Pokemon story I will die!" I associate that kind of phrase with teenage American girls, but it basically means it's so good that it's overwhelming.
Here are the notes that we had to work with from our last lesson.


-------------------------------------------------------------…