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A letter to my creative writing teacher

On the first day of my last semester of high school, our creative writing class was tasked with writing a letter to our teacher – who also happened to be my sophomore English teacher – outlining our expectations of the class. Here is that letter, complete with the teacher’s notes, followed by a transcript with her comments in bold:

A letter to my creative writing teacher (formerly my sophomore English teacher) on my first day of my final semester of high school.

A letter to my creative writing teacher (formerly my sophomore English teacher) on my first day of my final semester of high school.

Dear Teacher:

Well since the English curriculum in school generally hasn’t involved any creative, fictional, non-objective, or otherwise fun writing whatsoever, and I RUN a role-playing game on message boards online which involves constant original fantasy writing, I hoped to gain some semblance of an idea of how to write and/or whether or not I’m even any good at writing fiction at all. Also, are you really going to read this? [Yes, Cody I’m reading this.] I bet you are. I’m going to give you a really hard time if you don’t, though. Actually, that would just make me a difficult student [Who you?], and I don’t want to be particularly difficult this semester. This class is gonna rock – and I can buy coffee and creme [sic] and hot chocolate mix for you too [Well, I thought I’d institute the “Elvis Slush fund”], since I did in Speech class last semester anyway. Food RULES. So does this class. No, seriously. [Well, I hope you have a good semester. I’m glad you’re in the class. Where’s Gohan been?]

Sincerely,
Cody Gough

A few things:

  • I didn’t really start drinking coffee until partway through college, so I have no idea where the “coffee and creme” reference originated, nor do I have any recollection of an “Elvis Slush fund.” I guess you forget some random small details after 10 years!
  • In contrast to the Elvis reference, I actually do understand the Gohan reference, but I will explain that long story in a future post.
  • This is actually the second time I’d asked my teacher in my class notes whether she was actually reading them; my first time doing this was as a student in her English class my sophomore year of high school. To put that in context, though, I really wasn’t being a jerk, because I actually quite liked her classes, and pretty much everything I did (and still do) is at least somewhat tongue-in-cheek. Believe me, I’ve inspired a lot of eye-rolling from my teachers over the years.
  • Instead of ending the last sentence with a period, I nearly ended it with a smiley face emoticon. As a direct result, I am now wallowing in self-loathing.

This letter pretty much sets the tone for my 10-year Idea Reunion. At the time I wrote this, I had written a lot, but had no idea whether the writing was any “good,” I got along with my teacher well enough to be allowed a certain level of irreverence, and I was excited about the idea of finding new creative ways to express myself.

I hate shameless self-plugs, but if you’re interested in following my journey through this class, then please follow me via WordPress! It’s going to be a long – and hopefully very entertaining – journey.

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My 10-Year Idea Reunion

The time is nigh.

It's like my own personal Bible... of IDEAS

It’s like my own personal Bible… of IDEAS

I took a creative writing class during my last semester of high school in 2003, and I still have the “idea notebook” I created while enrolled in that class. Our first day of class was January 21, 2003. Guess what day is coming up soon?

That’s right: January 21, 2013.

Over the next several months, I will be reproducing the contents of my “idea notebook” in their ENTIRETY on this site. All of my poems, stories, notes, and more will be here…exactly 10 years after I wrote them.

I want to be clear up-front that the humor contained in these posts will not come from the sheer awfulness of any of it. Quite the contrary: I consider myself to be a pretty funny teenager, and from what I’ve seen flipping through the pages of my tome of brilliance, I was a pretty funny teenager 10 years ago, too. I didn’t – and still don’t – take myself too seriously, so everything you read will have more than a slight dose of irreverence.

And I won’t just be regurgitating old content; after all, where’s the challenge in that? Instead, in addition to writing commentary on my old treasures, I will also re-do some of my old assignments and compare them to what I wrote 10 years ago. We’ll all find out together how much I’ve changed in the last decade.

Stay tuned. This is going to be fun.

English ASSignment

20001112 English ASSignment

There are a few gems scattered among my notes from November 2, 2000:

“Occasionally I read something that isn’t good… like, your papers.”
-My sophomore English teacher

As well as some fun notes I took, including emphasizing “ASSignment” (see image) and writing the following note to myself:

Write a dialog (Cody: Bite me! Jon: Die!)
(like a script) on “Justice”

I wonder how ancient Greek philosophers would feel about the notes I wrote alongside their timeless ideas?

“Bad Ernest Hemingway Movie” Notes

 

 

 

 

 

Apparently, I wasn’t a big fan of an Ernest Hemingway movie we watched in my sophomore English class in high school.

20001021 Bad Hemmingway Movie Notes

First of all, yes, I know I misspelled his name, but thank you for pointing out that mistake I made 12 years ago. But moving along, my teenage brain had some pretty hilarious comments about the film interspersed with my notes:

“A stupid bull was charging some ugly guy in a dream”
Love the specificity there.

“That guy ate bull testacles – what a stupid @$#?!!!”
And here I thought I was an adventurous eater!

“They burn all the mother*$?!@!ing s*@?!! after the festival”
I don’t even think I was complaining about anything… I’m pretty sure I just felt like using excessive profanity.

“Hemmingway [sic] was born & raised in Chicago
Called it a place of wide somethings
and narrow minds”
I’d never lived in Chicago, but at least now I know my notes are accurate: this city is, indeed, a place of narrow minds and – more than anything else – wide somethings.

“Ernie liked boxing, hunting, fishing & shooting”
This isn’t really that funny, but I’m mildly amused that I called him “Ernie” in my notes ^_^

“The crazy Brit bought Red Fox urine”
I’m sure there was an actual context here, as fox urine is probably a thing that has to do with hunting… but I’m not sure if I’m calling Hemingway or someone else “the crazy Brit.” Either way, I rule.

I’ve mentioned in previous posts that our class notes were graded – including this class. So I have no earthly idea how this slipped through the cracks. Maybe I was really testing my teacher to see if she would actually read them? Maybe she didn’t care?

Wow! Now I know how historians feel about the great mysteries of history…

 

Apocalypse Now: Now Starring Kilgore

We watched “Apocalypse Now” during my junior year of high school. I scanned through several pages of notes, but only one sentence stood out. See if you can find it. I wonder what I had against Kilgore?

20020515 Apocalypse Now Kilgore

Teenage Mutant Ninja Turtles in my English notes

Rocksteady from Teenage Mutant Ninja Turtles

Rocksteady from Teenage Mutant Ninja Turtles

At the top of a page of notes I took on October 27, 2000, in my high school sophomore English class, I decided to draw a terrible (awesome)  picture of Rocksteady from Teenage Mutant Ninja Turtles. Next to it, I wrote:

“He who fights & runs away lives to fight another day!”
-The Shredder, in the Teenage Mutant Ninja Turtles cartoon series; also used by Bebop & Rocksteady, a Warthog & a Rhino, respectively… MUTANT Rhino & Warthog, naturally.

When grading my notes later in the semester (yes, our notes were graded), my teacher wrote “? Not relevant” next the drawing. I… have absolutely no explanation for why I drew that. So let’s move on to the quote immediately following my artistic endeavor:

“You all waited too damn long.”
-My teacher, on something

I like how I was too lazy to even attribute the humorous quote to anything specific. Oh, high school.

Analyze THIS!!!

1999 or 2000 Analyze This Pikachu Drawing

 

Apparently, at some point during my freshman year of high school, I felt it necessary to include this drawing in my class notes. The text below reads:

Why all the war? All the kings would gain control of is new armies and people and get more burdens than pleasures. I think probably most of the kings / pharaohs / emperors were bored or something.

On the back side of this page are miscellaneous notes about Egyptian mythology, so this must have been from my world history class.

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