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That time I analyzed my creative writing class

I’m back from my summer vacation—and boy, are my arms tired!

But seriously, folks: it’s been a long year. Let’s celebrate the fact that we’ve nearly reached the end of our annual trip around the sun by reviewing that one time I analyzed my creative writing class:

March 25, 2003: I analyze my creative writing class Read More…

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The most dramatic game of Werewolf ever played, part 2: a story of ages

If you’re asking yourself “what’s Werewolf?” then you need to read part 1 of this story, in which I describe Werewolf and my feelings about the game. If not, then I hope your body is ready.

Photo credit: Dave via Flickr

Photo credit: Dave via Flickr

To recap: this is an epic tale of deception, of security guards, of teenagers, of drunkenness, of meltdowns, of suspicion, of betrayal, of murder, of mystery. And I must set the stage with the cast. Read More…

Viet-Mom

Welcome to CodyGough.com! This may be your first visit, because it’s my birthday, and I’m using the powers of Facebook to trick people into visiting promote my web site. Welcome, and enjoy. I host episodes of Unqualified: A Video Game Podcast here, as well as post stories and poems that are ten years old. I will eventually do more stuff, but I wanted to start simple in 2013.

With that out of the way: exactly 10 years ago, I had an idea. Inspiration like you would never expect. In addition to incredibly artistic drawings of characters from Super Smash Brothers: Melee, I came up with the premise to a story of epic proportions. Observe!

A CHILLING TALE INDEED.

A CHILLING TALE INDEED.

Transcript:

VIET-MOM
The chilling tale of one Asian woman who bore an entire nation, only to one day be betrayed by her own uterus. Witness the gripping re-enactment of one pedophiliac cannibal’s quest for her “golden children” through the exotic jungles of such countries that start with the letter “T” as Tahiti, Tijuana, and Taiwan. You’ll laugh, you’ll cry, and you’ll cry some more, as the journey takes you through four hundred years of tragedy, comedy, romance, and satire.

A few things:

  • Yes, I know I didn’t originally write “Asian,” but the word I DID use wasn’t politically incorrect yet when I wrote it. So sue my 10-years-ago-self. I actually am sorry if that offended you, though… just keep in mind, this was written by a high schooler in a different time. That’s all.
  • I’m pretty sure that tragedy, comedy, romance and satire were like, the 4 types of stories we studied in English class. We had also watched Apocalypse Now in class, which I’m sure inspired this entire poem.
  • I have no idea where Tahiti is. And I hate myself for ending the previous sentence in a preposition. But at least now I’ve shown that I did learn something in school, so I’ll call that a win.

Look, I never said that none of my stuff would be offensive (DAMN YOU, DOUBLE NEGATIVES), so please keep in mind that a high schooler wrote this stuff and that the “big picture” of my entire 10-year project is to entertain. Sometimes that includes shaking your head in my general direction. Other times, that means seeing my INCREDIBLY ARTISTIC ARTISTRY, especially applied to video games.

Anyway, I went on a kind of sabbatical from my web site in March, but you can look forward to seeing a lot more of my high school genius in April. Thanks for visiting! I hope you enjoy my little project and decide to check out other parts of my site, and more importantly, I hope I can entertain you again soon, because I honestly think making people smile is why I was put on God’s Green Earth®… even if only because I have no other real skills.

Speaking of earth, I like how on my Apple keyboard, I can simply type Option+R to make the ® symbol, but on my Windows 8 laptop, I have to type Alt+0174. HOW DOES THAT EVEN MAKE SENSE

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This post is part of Cody’s “10-Year Idea Reunion” series, in which Cody revisits his creative writing class assignments exactly 10 years after writing them. Learn more about Cody’s Idea Reunion and follow him on WordPress to follow along!

A poem I can’t really explain

Fair warning: I have no idea what motivated this poem. It includes a lot of vocabulary words and is kind of emo, at least for me. So good luck getting through it:

Holy vocabulary, Batman

Holy vocabulary, Batman

Transcript:

I cry, enraged;
Interneccine, intractable, intolerable
Living a lie because the truth hurts
The truth, just as myself:
Intangible, impractible, intolerable
Just as hard to reach as
An echo in a cave
But deep within they lie
Investigate, intrude after all
Invincible You, Invidious You,
Inviolate Me, Invisible Me;
Interjected by hope.
By love – But for Whom?
Insanity for me
As if I could even tell
It interrupts the thoughts I can’t understand
They intrude, they intrude,
But into nothing at all.
People want me,
People need me,
But they don’t see me
So do they use me?
Symbiotic
People use people
And in the end, enraged,
I cry.

A few things:

  • The second line roughly translates to “murderous, obstinate, intolerable.” Later on, “impractible” isn’t a real word, “invidious” means “hateful,” and “inviolate” means “unharmed.”
  • I think the tone of the poem is too dark for me to have been simply messing around with alliteration, as I’ve done in previous poems, unless I was simply too angry while writing this angry poem to heed the English language.
  • “An echo in a cave” refers directly to Plato’s Allegory of the Cave, although I don’t necessarily understand the context.

I must have had a bad day or something when I wrote this. Do you see any universal truths in this poem? Any statements about human nature? It’s hard for me to look at any of my old poetry objectively and try to read it out of context, which is both problematic for presenting my old works to the general public, and frustrating because maybe that’s now really the point.

This poem really sticks out to me because it isn’t sarcastic or irreverent, but it’s also really abstract compared to a lot of my other stuff. Like, generally, I see something and think to myself “okay, I get where that came from,” but this one is just like… totally out of left field. I hope you find some enjoyment out of it, because I can’t find much value in terms of poetry or reminiscence.

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This post is part of Cody’s “10-Year Idea Reunion” series, in which Cody revisits his creative writing class assignments exactly 10 years after writing them. Learn more about Cody’s Idea Reunion and follow him on WordPress to follow along!

A poem starring forced alliteration, excessive prepositions, and Super Smash Brothers: Melee

I don’t know what exactly our teacher could have possibly said to inspire me to write this poem. Seriously, here is what must have happened that day:

Teacher: Okay class, you all have to write a poem today, the subject of which must be something you are passionate about.
Me: Does that include video games?
Teacher: Why yes, Cody, it certainly does! And be sure to include at least one writing technique, such as alliteration, in the poem.
Me: How about I include alliteration, but instead of giving it any context whatsoever, I just write a bunch of words in a row that start with the same letter but lack any coherent or logical flow?
Teacher: That sounds splendid! Please also do that with a part of speech as well, such as prepositions or linking verbs.
Me: I will do so happily, and then gallivant into the sunset!
Teacher: You didn’t even use that word correctly, but who cares? Go write your terrible poem!

That basically is what must have happened, because Science®. Anyway, here’s the result of this conversation:

A poem featuring forced alliteration, excessive prepositions, and Super Smash Brothers: Melee

A poem featuring forced alliteration, excessive prepositions, and Super Smash Brothers: Melee

Transcript:

Characters all around
25 all around,
Colorful characters quite abound
Every few and every pair
Have some sort of reason to be fighting there
Cartoonish they seem, yet I don’t quite care
It keeps things clean—for the Kids.
Contacts cascading, namecalling renaming
The therapeutic Theremin of Thespian thinking
A thing-in-itself
Which no-one seems to be seeing
Smelling the sweat, the substance of strife
Illiterate critics, illegitimate gimmicks,
Sucking the life out of
Into out of around near far abound
Train of thought
Derailed to hell
Away from the housetop,
Away from the roof
Now dash away, dash away…
Dash away all.

Ten years after writing this poem, I can explain almost every thought that went through my head. I have no specific recollection of writing it, but here’s how each part of this happened:

  1. I started writing about Smash Brothers. “25 characters” are in Smash Brothers: Melee, and the violence in the game is irrefutably “cartoonish” to maintain a K-A rating (Kids to Adult), which is the video game equivalent of being rated PG.
  2. I must have heard the word “theremin” somewhere and couldn’t think of anything else to write in Line 9, so I just grabbed a Thesaurus (or used any “th” words I could recall) and stuck them together incoherently, very likely thinking “I can get away with anything, it’s poetry” at the time.
  3. Line 13, “Illiterate critics, illegitimate gimmicks” undoubtedly refers to video game critics who invent facts to further their own political agendas (i.e. Jack Thompson, who at the time was sadly receiving media coverage) as I start to “zoom out” from Smash Brothers itself and start to examine the overall perception of it, and gaming.
  4. After writing Line 14, “Sucking the life out of,” I couldn’t think of what to write, so I just wrote a chain of prepositions, which were HUGE in the Latin class I was also taking at the time. I directly admit this in Line 16 when I say “Train of thought,” and concede that I couldn’t think of a coherent follow-up in Line 17: “Derailed to hell.”
  5. Lines 18 through the end are self-explanatory.

Is it frightening that I can deconstruct my own ten-year-old poem as specifically as I did? Honestly, you tell me. I like to think that some things never change, and that I don’t think that’s a bad thing. My writing was also pretty transparent, at least at the time, and at least to me.

Anyway, I hope you enjoyed this completely ridiculous poem! Looking ahead, it appears that I won’t have a great deal of notes/poems/stories for the next 10 days, but please stay tuned and there will be plenty more for you to analyze, criticize, or ignore soon!

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This post is part of Cody’s “10-Year Idea Reunion” series, in which Cody revisits his creative writing class assignments exactly 10 years after writing them. Learn more about Cody’s Idea Reunion and follow him on WordPress to follow along!

A Poem: “Bad Poetry Gone Worse”

AN ASSIGNMENT! Looks like we had homework in my creative writing class. And this also looks like a semi-serious attempt at a semi-serious poem. I’m going to post the transcript first, and THEN an image of the poem, so that you can read it (if you’d like) without my teacher’s commentary first.

Just as before, I’m reluctant to post one of my actual serious attempts at poetry, because who wants to feel vulnerable ever? And yet I must, not only to grow as an artist, but because I wrote this ten years ago and really have no business feeling self-conscious about it in the first place. So here you go:

Bad Poetry Gone Worse

Warmth and safety –
Temporary, not contemporary –
Brought about by softly stroking,
Holding close who means the most,
To feel warmth and safety.

A delicate caress, and a moment trapped in time
Forever – an eternity – can never last that long
The feeling held, the moment constant,
Infinity within a single embrace
Yet no time, no numbers, no measurements
Can quantify my Happiness.

Supporting Me, supporting You
Like two, like one; like one, like two;
Together at last, together forever
Together forever… but only for a moment.

One last look one last sigh
One last hug at the end of the night
One last peck – unless we’re just Friends –
One last grin as if keeping things quiet
One last touch to ensure that She’s there
One last heartbeat—
The everlasting hug… Gone.

Don't let the title fool you: it's not actually that bad. Maybe.

Don’t let the title fool you; it’s not actually that bad. Maybe.

A few things:

  • We studied Emily Dickinson quite extensively in English class; this led to a substantial use of “random” capitalization in my poetry, often somewhat mockingly. In this case, however, it looks like my teacher (and I, ten years later) was pleased with how I used it.
  • I can’t decide whether I agree with my inclusion the line “Temporary, not contemporary” that my teacher circled. It kind of doesn’t fit, but I feel like there’s a case for it. Thoughts?
  • This poem doesn’t suck, so that’s kinda cool, right?

I wasn’t what you would call “good” at things like “turning in assignments on time,” so I’m sure the check with “-20%” at the top of the page means that I turned in my assignment late. Oh well, I still graduated!

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This post is part of Cody’s “10-Year Idea Reunion” series, in which Cody revisits his creative writing class assignments exactly 10 years after writing them. Learn more about Cody’s Idea Reunion and follow him on WordPress to follow along!

Poetry about hell… and Roy from Smash Brothers

I’m not sure how or why this happened, but apparently I penned a few poems about hell. The first poem is my “main” hell poem, followed by a poem that is about both hell and Roy from Super Smash Brothers: Melee, equally. Let’s see how dark my high school mind could get:

A poem about hell, followed by two poems about hell and Roy from Super Smash Brothers: Brawl

A poem about hell, followed by a poem about hell and Roy from Super Smash Brothers: Melee

Transcript:
The descent.
Through the cloud;
Off a cliff;
Into the needles
—Of a blackberry bush.
The voice of death
Whirring in your head
The descent into hell—
You know that you’re dead.
The same from all places
The distance of the journey is
For central the location be
Of Auburn’s room 296.

Wow… talk about anticlimax. I’m guessing that my creative writing class met in room 296. Anyway, that poem is followed by a rough draft of the next poem. Moving along, here is that second poem:

Gripping, masculine, muscular hands
In hell, no-one can hear you—
Play Smash Brothers—
I guess Roy really IS flaming!

A few things:

  • Roy is a character from Super Smash Brothers: Melee (originally from the Fire Emblem video game series), and I never liked him. His sword often bursts into the flame in the game, so I liked to call him things like “flaming idiot” and “flaming loser.” At the time, “to flame” someone meant “to insult” someone; I often had “flame wars” with my friend Captain, who of course LOVED Roy.
  • The imagery of tightly gripped hands could apply to Roy’s very heavy in-game sword, but it ends up implying the grip used to hold a controller. This gives the Smash Brothers poem actual poetic validity, which both annoys and pleases me.
  • I wonder why I specified “blackberry bush” in my first poem?

I like that my seemingly serious attempt at a poem about death/hell devolved into a stupid comment about my high school creative writing classroom, but my stupid anecdotal poem about a character I hated in Smash Brothers resulted in the creation of some actual legitimate poetry.

I’ve always been told that the best material comes from your passions. I was VERY passionate about Smash Brothers in high school (and college… and now), so I guess it makes sense that some semblance of creativity would have come out of me when writing about Roy.

…still feels totally ridiculous, though.

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This post is part of Cody’s “10-Year Idea Reunion” series, in which Cody revisits his creative writing class assignments exactly 10 years after writing them. Learn more about Cody’s Idea Reunion and follow him on WordPress to follow along!

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