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English 44A - Creative writing

Remember the book "Men are from Mars, Women are from Venus"?  Well, here's
a prime example offered by an English professor at Southern Methodist
University, English 44A, SMU, Creative Writing, Prof. Miller.

"Today we will experiment with a new form called the tandem story. The
process is simple. Each person will pair off with the person sitting to
his or her immediate right. One of you will then write the first paragraph
of a short story. The partner will read the first paragraph and then add
another paragraph to the story. The first person will then add a third
paragraph,and so on back and forth. Remember to re-read what has been
written each time in order to keep the story coherent. The story is over
when both agree a conclusion has been reached."

"The following was actually turned in by two of my English students:
Rebecca * last name deleted, and Gary * last name deleted."


STORY: (first paragraph by Rebecca)

At first, Laurie couldn't decide which kind of tea she wanted.  The
chamomile, which used to be her favorite for lazy evenings at home, now
reminded her too much of Carl, who once said, in happier times, that he
liked chamomile.  But she felt she must now, at all costs, keep her mind
off Carl.  His possessiveness was suffocating, and if she thought about
him too much her asthma started acting up again.  So chamomile was out of
the question.


(second paragraph by Gary)

Meanwhile, Advance Sergeant Carl Harris, leader of the attack squadron now
in orbit over Skylon 4, had more important things to think about than the
neuroses of an air-headed asthmatic bimbo named Laurie with whom he had
spent one sweaty night over a year ago. "A.S.  Harris to Geostation 17,"
he said into his transgalactic communicator.  "Polar orbit established.
No sign of resistance so far..." But before he could sign off a bluish
particle beam flashed out of nowhere and blasted a hole through his ship's
cargo bay.  The jolt from the direct hit sent him flying out of his seat
and across the cockpit.


He bumped his head and died almost immediately, but not before he felt one
last pang of regret for psychically brutalizing the one woman who had ever
had feelings for him.  Soon afterwards, Earth stopped its pointless
hostilities towards the peaceful farmers of Skylon 4. "Congress Passes Law
Permanently Abolishing War and Space Travel," Laurie read in her newspaper
one morning.  The news simultaneously excited her and bored her. She
stared out the window, dreaming of her youth  -- when the days had passed
unhurriedly and carefree, with no newspapers to read, no television to
distract her from her sense of innocent wonder at all the beautiful things
around her.  "Why must one lose one's innocence to become a woman?"  she
pondered wistfully.


Little did she know, but she had less than 10 seconds to live.  Thousands
of miles above the city, the Anu'udrian mothership launched the first of
its lithium fusion missiles.  The dim-witted wimpy peaceniks who pushed
the Unilateral Aerospace Disarmament Treaty through Congress had left
Earth a defenseless target for the hostile alien empires who were
determined to destroy the human race.  Within two hours after the passage
of the treaty the Anu'udrian ships were on course for Earth, carrying
enough firepower to pulverize the entire planet.  With no one to stop
them, they swiftly initiated their diabolical plan. The lithium fusion
missile entered the atmosphere unimpeded. The President, in his top-secret
mobile submarine headquarters on the ocean floor off the coast of Guam,
felt the inconceivably massive explosion which vaporized Laurie and 85
million other Americans.  The President slammed his fist on the conference
table.  "We can't allow this!  I'm going to veto that treaty!  Let's blow
'em out of the sky!"


This is absurd. I refuse to continue this mockery of literature. My
writing partner is a violent, chauvinistic, semi-literate adolescent.


Yeah?  Well, you're a self-centered tedious neurotic whose attempts at
writing are the literary equivalent of Valium.





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