Tuesday, February 15, 2011


Check out Hannah Millikin's wonderful new blog Center for Creativity.

This is a place where students can share what they create or design. Hannah is seeking poems, art work, photos of Lego creations, robots, or crafts executed by young people. She hopes that her new blog will be a place where others can show off their God-given talents.

Here are Hannah's poems at Students Publish Here:

Song of the Birds
A Star in the Lion Sky

Sunday, February 13, 2011

John Nichols - The Silent Cold

The silent cold seeps through the seams

Of my taught, pale jacket,
The covering which holds my flame;
Yet the chill refuses to absolve its hold.
Its life-drinking kiss steals the breath;
Its wretched tendrils embrace the beating heart:
It draws us toward anger, hate, death, dying.
It tells us to cry, curse, rage, fear, cower, cringe.
And nothing can be done.

Who would stand against this cold? This chill?
This cold seeps through the senses.
It is black, unseen, yet all pervading.
Who could stand against this absolute?
This vast, vacant emptiness where nothing lives?
Can any fight it? Can any know when it strikes?
It tells us to shriek, to shirk, to sink, to sleep;
It wants us to shiver, to chatter, to huddle, to scream,
To sleep. To sleep. To sleep.

But we dare not dream.

Should we flee? Could we flee? Would we flee?
Will we consummate this unholy matrimony?
Will we consent to slip away into dreamless unrest
And submit to the frigid, killing bite of renunciation?
The hoarfrost wraps its withered hands about the heart,
Stifles its thumping rush, its vibrant vitality,
Slowly kills it, sucking, draining, choking, drowning,
Until a shriveled, barren husk hangs silent.
Not I, but we. Never I only we.

My shivering heart, now wrinkled, yet pale,
Is bruised, yet not broken, but lifeless.
The pallor of sable death has infected my
Jacket, my worn, warm covering. That chill
Has seeped into its fibers, diluting the warmth,
The heat, the fire, the life, the burning passion,
The all-consuming wrath, the rage, the revolution.
My insides rot and burn away, stirring new life
Within, yet without, the same.

But I am, at least, free.

Black, sable cold seeps through my jacket seams,
Burns away its passion, leaving it numb, senseless.
It calls us to cry, scream, despair, fragment.
It drives us to oneness, to tolerance, to crusade
Lady Hoarfrost bares her teeth in wanton pleasure,
Her wolf’s snarl malicious, seductive, chilling.
She beckons us to love, to fear, to protect, to kill,
To embrace the withered fingers of the cold,
To sleep. To sleep. TO SLEEP.
O, the horror of dreamless sleep!


-- John Nichols

Wednesday, February 9, 2011

A Poem About Winning

The following poem was written by my MMI creative writing student, Curtis Surovy (grade 11). In this poem Curtis expresses different emotional dimensions to winning and how the most precious victories often are not won in public.


Anger red pulses in his neck
as he channels into a single
glorious moment of recovery
all his losses.
Hoisting triumph,
he indulges success before
his enemy's gaping mind.
From anger to victory,
from glory to locker room
where coach rubs liniment
into his aching calves.
He hangs his head
not wanting the others to see
the tear.

Related reading: Curtis Surovy's letter to Wendell Berry; Finest Companions (poem about dog sledding)

Wednesday, February 2, 2011

Key Considerations in Fiction Writing

Point of view:  From whose perspective is the story being told? The main charcter?  The unseen all-knowing narrator (the author)? Will there be more than one point of view and if so, how willyou handle these?

Characterization:  Min characters are always better drawn when they have a foil – Don Quixote and Sancho Panza, Sherlock Holmes and Dr. Watson, etc.

Plotting: Know where you are going and how the story will end. What is the conflict and how will the character handle it? How will things get worse for him? How will you "thicken" the plot?

Dialog:  Use the correct format. Each conversational thread should be set in a new paragraph. Is the conversation natural?  Don't put sophisticated language in the mouths of simple country folk.

Symbol and Metaphor: Used to imply a deeper meaning to the story. Use lightly but effectively. A pair of gold earrings could symbolism the feminine principle, for example.

Word Economy: The best fiction writers edit their work after they have finished the story. This is when you shorten sentences and cut useless words. Think of how Ernest Hemingway used few words to maximum effect.

The Title: Let your title be the “working title” only. A better title will suggest itself by the time you get to the end of the story.