How strange to be so distant,

Yet feel so close

In a one-sided love

That spans both years and moments.

Time is a fickle mistress;

For you once knew me

Like I know you,

But now we pass as strangers

On a lonely street

In the middle of the night



Pondering how and why.

But we never speak.

Our eyes meet

And we run away.


Mark Twain’s Rules for Good Writing

Mark Twain’s Rules for Good Writing

Interesting Literature

Mark Twain’s 18 rules for writing – part of his response to the fiction of James Fenimore Cooper

Mark Twain (1835-1910) is the writer who once observed, ‘The difference between the almost right word and the right word is the difference between the lightning-bug and the lightning.’ (We include that pithy gem in our selection of Mark Twain’s best one-liners.) In his essay, ‘Fenimore Cooper’s Literary Offenses‘ (1895), Twain took the author of The Deerslayer and The Last of the Mohicans to task for his flawed writing style. Scathingly, but hilariously, he writes:

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Essays: Ind Aff


IND AFF: The Irony of Pulling the Trigger
Julia Koslowsky
26 February 2015

Many different tones and perspectives exist in literature, but some stories find their narrators to be older, wiser, even bitter versions of their protagonists. “IND AFF: or Out of Love in Sarajevo” by Fay Weldon is one such story, woven together by the narrator’s ironic reflection on a past love. As the story progresses, this ironic and mature tone of the narrator aimed at her youthful indiscretion disappears as the protagonist “c[omes] to [her] senses” and realizes her true feelings for her lover Peter Piper (177).

At the beginning of the story, the narrator’s attitude insinuates disapproval towards the actions of her younger self, especially in regards to Peter. “This is a sad story,” she opens. “It has to be. It rained in Sarajevo and we had expected fine weather” (173). We discover her irony in these first few sentences, painting a picture of how the narrator felt and presently feels about the memory of this story: it should be sad, but it is not, as we discover at the end. Continue reading “Essays: Ind Aff”

An Angel and a Demon Walk into a Bar…

5D3_8864I started college this week, and for some reason I’ve been thinking a lot about this blog the past few days.  Throughout my high school career, it’s been a place where I can post my works: my poems, my short stories, my essays.  I did a lot of theater this summer, so I didn’t really write much, but I jumped back into writing this week with a five-page short story. (There’s nothing like looming homework deadlines to cause a sudden increase in procrastination.)

A little over two years ago, I wrote and posted my letter/short story “A Letter From Scratchthorn,” a letter inspired by C.S. Lewis’s Screwtape Letters.  The letter was technically a school assignment, as my class was reading Screwtape, but I had never written anything like it before.  I jumped into a whole new world of satire and irony combined with Biblical truths and facts.  Trying to correctly convey the harsh reality of the human condition while keeping a fairly light and humorous tone challenged me as a writer.  Because I typically write fantasy, and I hate reading most non-fiction, I had never realized what a perfect median this genre was.  I was suddenly able to take the fantastic and supernatural and humanize them in a way that absolutely made sense.  Since writing “Scratchthorn,” I’ve kicked around ideas for stories involving angels and demons.  I was able to include some of these ideas a short time after when I wrote my synthesis for that same year of literature: a short story about Satan leading a therapy group session for various literary villains (“Antagonists Anonymous”).

Some time in between writing these and the present, I came up with a scene I wanted to write someday.  The mental image I had was an alley in the middle of a city, most likely in a fairly modern setting, where a demon and angel were conversing.  The demon was smoking a cigarette, trying to convince the angel of something, and soon after, they parted ways.  I’ve returned to that image several times, wondering what its story is, what exactly the angel and demon are doing in the middle of a city as if they were humans.  On Monday, I finally began their stories.  The demon is Silas and the angel Solomon, though whether those are their real names is yet to be seen.  The short story I wrote over the course of Monday and Tuesday takes place in a bar rather than an alley, but the alley will make an appearance at some point, as I plan to write a series of these stories.

Even though I unintentionally took almost three months off from writing, the realness of this story felt like a breath of fresh air.  Exploring the emotions and decisions of humanity and how the immortal angels and devils might view us in light of those has me excited about writing again.  This is something new, different, and relevant to everyday life.  I’m currently reading Lewis’s Space Trilogy, and I read The Great Divorce this summer, so his theological influence will remain prevalent in my writing.  He has been an inspiration to me every since I read The Chronicles of Narnia when I was seven or eight.  Hopefully one day my stories will be even half as good and thought-provoking as Lewis’s.