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Monthly Archive for September, 2017

Often I wondered what would have happened if I had turned to look at her, the day the curtains parted.  And I saw it clearly: the sun-filled air, the dust swirling in shafts of light, the bright empty room.  No, far better to have turned away, to have understood that, for me, Isabel existed only […]

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No, the real division was between the visible world and that other world, where Isabel waited for me like a dark dream. (p.63) The story “The Room in the Attic” by Millhauser becomes extremely fantastical when Isabel is introduced. From the beginning of their friendship, David doesn’t even know if she is real, or if […]

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Proving Up

“And like a quagmire the terror won’t release me, because the man is speaking in the voice of my own father, and every sodbuster in the Hox River Settlement – a voice that can live for eons on dust and thimblefuls of water, that can be plowed under, hailed out, and go on whispering madly […]

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Nothing was there. In the thick darkness I felt myself dissolving, turning into black mist, speaking into the farthest reaches of the room. The feeling that Isabel may not be real is an interesting choice that Millhauser makes in this story. Even by the end of the story we can’t be quite sure that David […]

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“He said that the purpose of books was to permit us to exercise that faculty. Art, he said, was a controlled madness, which was why the people who selected books for high school English classes were careful to choose only false books that were discussable, boring, and sane, or else, if they chose a real […]

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Titles, unless they’re Fall Out Boy songs from 2006-2009, are rarely so long or descriptive, so this one caught my eye.  Right from the outset, Russell gives us setting.  We are in 1979, in Strong Beach, and a seagull army has descended.  While we don’t yet know the significance of any of these pieces of […]

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Russell in “The Seagull Army Descends on Strong Beach, 1979” hides the pieces of fantastic within it, while having the fantastical pieces and the world of Nal and his family very fleshed out, knowing very specific details about each character. I like how from the beginning, the mass amount seagulls surrounding Nal is noticed slightly, […]

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But to Nal’s dismay, the ladies of Athertown flocked to Samson in greater multitudes than before. Girls trailed him down the boardwalk, clucking stupidly about the new waxy sheen on his head. Samson was seventeen and had what Nal could only describe with a big laugh and the deep serenity of a grazing creature. Russell […]

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Emily Rapp Black Reading Event

Emily Rapp Black is a very with a positive spirit, which was very unexpected. Though she has been through very rough challenges, she still has a great sense of humor and is confident in who she is. When she read part of her essay “Casa Azul Cripple,” I was really able to see the true authentic […]

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The gulls landed in Athertown on July 11, 1979. Clouds of them, in numbers unseen since the ornithologists began keeping records of such things. Scientists all over the country hypothesized about erratic weather patterns and redirected migratory routes. At first sullen Nal barely noticed them. (53) The shift in point of view from dramatic third […]

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Warping people’s futures into some new and terrible shapes, just by stealing these smallest linchpins from the present. The mystery behind the appearance of the seagulls in this story is very apparent, yet it is not the focal point. Russell continues to change the point of the story as it moves along. At first she […]

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Jo Ann Callis

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Penelope Slinger

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Jo Ann Callis

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Image by Shannon Bool

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Assignment #2-Jo Ann Callis

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Exercise 2

By using Google images or by clicking on the links I’ve provided, search for works by the contemporary visual artists listed below, all of whom make use of the surreal in their work. Identify a single image from which you will create a story no longer than three double-spaced pages. Penelope Slinger Shannon Bool Jo Ann […]

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Regret is a pilgrimage back to the place where I was free to choose. In “Reeling for the Empire,” it follows Kitsune who is one of many girls captured and forced to have their bodies change in order to produce silk from their bodies. This short story is extremely fantastical, creating these creatures that are […]

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  It was as if none of us had ever looked at her, or had looked at her while thinking of something more interesting. I felt that we were guilty of some obscure crime. For it seemed to me that we who had seen her now and then out of the corner of our eyes, […]

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First the silk worms stop eating. Then they spin their cocoons. Once inside, they molt several times. They grow wings and teeth. If the caterpillars are allowed to evolve, they change into moths. Then these moths bite through the silk and fly off, ruining it for the market. This quote is the turning point in […]

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