Posted by Andrew Brown
Grace-”Roots and Wings”
I’m three years old. One, two, three fingers old. I’m a big kid. I unbuckle my seat-strap. I jump out of my stroller. I love jumping. I love running. Sprinting full blast, I come to a complete halt. Something has caught my eye: flower-like puffs sprouting from the ground. I had never seen them before.
I love this passage from Grace’s piece “Roots and Wings”. I think she manages to actually put us in her shoes as a little kid. She doesn’t just describe the moment, she evokes it. Her description “One, two, three fingers old” makes me feel like a kid again, and I can just see Grace doing that. I’ve had that sentence stuck in my head pretty much the whole semester.
I also think this passage really serves as an anchor in “Roots and Wings”. Much of the essay is about the dandelion as a metaphor, which is a bit abstract, but this particular passage is very concrete. As the reader you’re not thinking about the abstract ideas of growing up, parenting, or becoming your own person. Instead, you are alive in this moment with Grace, watching and feeling as she discovers dandelions for the first time.
Margrette-”My Life in the Words I Remember and the Ones I Don’t”
And you have to work with what you have; you can’t force meaning into the words of your life, you can’t craft memories that aren’t there, you can’t fill in the gaps of your memory with what probably happened, what should have happened, what makes sense. Sometimes the things you don’t say, the things you forget, are forgotten to make the things you remember that much more important.
This passage really struck me when I first read it because, like all good writers, Margrette managed to express something that I felt, but couldn’t quite articulate. I have always loved to read, but I have never had a very good memory for the books I’ve read. But a few of them are absolutely burned into my mind. I may have only read them once, but I can basically recite them to you. I never quite realized why those particular books stuck with me, or why certain moments and conversations are so vivid in my memory until I read this conclusion to Margrette’s essay. I also think this passage works very well as a conclusion to the essay. Each of the anecdotes Margrette offers is interesting, but it’s not entirely clear how they are all linked until this conclusion. This passage ties them all together and presents them as a cohesive package.
posted by Dayo Oshilaja
“So they have to come back. Come, touch my car, hell, I’ll give you the keys and you can take it for a ride around campus. But come bacl, bring your little girls. See, I almost got lost in the shuffle and dull prestige of university, the dirty gray of the oft-walked, cracked sidewalks, I mean, the smell of new calculator batteries was almost becoming exciting to me.
I want to live life in color. So come back, please.”
- The Pink House on the Sidewalk or How I Learned to Dream Again, Margarette Kuhrt-
I liked Margarette’s piece from the moment she first read it in class. It has such a strong emotional impact despite its rather quite, conversational tone. Margarette focuses her essay on a seemingly trivial event, two little girls creating a chalk masterpiece, which has a surprisingly large impact on her life. The whole piece is very well-written and Margarette uses the conversational style so well, you almost feel like she is talking right to you. I especially love her subject matter, it’s something we can all relate to and I have felt like this many times before. I chose this quote, which is the ending to her piece, because I think it is such a wonderful example of everything this essay does so well. Thank you for sharing this piece with us Margarette.
- Alexandra McKnight “Tags for the Moment”
I think my favorite piece of this whole semester is Alexandra’s Project One, Tags for the Moment. It’s absolutely beautiful and rife with so many different emotions, heart-break, pain, grief, anger and her ultimate redemption as she learns to move past a difficult relationship. There are so many sections of her essay that I enjoyed including the following:
“Maybe it was for more selfish reasons, like to avoid a feeling I didn’t want to admit was
controlling me: stereotypical female weakness. I had never been the type of girl to lose
herself because of an overgrown ape with a penis (also known as a man) until Monday. I had
become that girl: the one who cries relentlessly while mascara runs down her face and bows
her head before she says, “No really, I’m fine,” then falls into the arms of whoever is
What I like so much about Alexandra’s work is that it is so honest. She doesn’t try to hold anything back including her pain, anger and disillusionment. She lets the reader see and experience it all right along with her. The passage above is a perfect example of that as Alexandra questions her own actions and emotions. But my favorite quote from her piece is the following:
“True love was simple. It was not filled with hidden secrets, insomnia filled nights, or broken
promises. Love was a simple equation: what you put in, you get back in return. My situation
was also simple: I deserved better than Brandon.”
This is such a triumphant moment in her piece because after this realization Alexandra starts to heal. She pulls herself out of the morass of emotions that she dealt with after her break-up and really tries to put this relationship behind her. This is such a powerful and well-written piece and I really enjoyed reading it. Thanks Xan!
Posted by Andrew Brown
I plan to submit my Project 2, titled “The Journeyman”, to Passport Magazine. Passport is a student-run publication and bills itself as Duke’s “International Magazine”. Passport “brings educational and entertaining stories to the Duke community” and ”will cover almost anything, and the more unique the story, the better.” The magazine is published twice a year and attempts to cover at least six continents in every issue. Submissions to Passport must be 500-1500 words, which works great since “The Journeyman” is ~1400 words. Submissions are accepted via email and then edited collaboratively in a group setting. I think “The Journeyman” is perfect for Passport because it is a unique, engaging profile with an international angle. In fact, “The Journeyman” touches on almost every theme covered by Passport: travel, cultural assimilation, foreign culture, and even foreign policy.
Posted by Zeewan Lee
If I produced anything that is meaningful and polished enough to be submitted for publication, it would be my project 2, the one about Alexander McQueen’s grotesque. The piece came out of my X4, and went through two processes of revision before it turned itself into the final version. I spent a considerable amount of time planning, researching, writing, and revising the piece, and I think it deserves a chance for publication more than any other writings I have done so far in this semester.
My project 2 is about Alexander McQueen, a famous yet super-odd designer, his take on the concept of grotesque, and the evolution of the concept. I have been looking for an appropriate art magazine to submit my work and what I have found is this amazing magazine: Cabinet. Before I tell you what the magazine is about, let us hear what other people have been saying about the publication:
“Cabinet is my kind of magazine; ferociously intelligent, ridiculously funny, absurdly innovative, rapaciously curious. Compared to it, every other magazine is a walking zombie.” — Slavoj Zizek, a Slovenian philosopher
“Opening an issue of Cabinet is like finding out that Karl Marx is related to the Marx Brothers.” — Jonathan Ames, novelist
“Curios and curiouser! The finest thing to come out of Brooklyn since our grandmother, every issue of Cabinet is a deft collection of ephemera and anecdote, a Muetter Museum of themes. Every time, we’re left in the dust, wondering where they find their peculiar contributors.” — “Best Art Magazine 2003,” New York Press, October 2003
As soon as I read these comments, I knew I wanted to submit my work to Cabinet. I did further research and found out that Cabinet, a magazine of art and culture, publishes wide-ranging, multi-disciplinary contents. The magazine accepts submissions of varied formats — including columns, essays, reviews, interviews, special artist projects, etc. — that range anywhere from 1000 to 3500 words.
Cabinet defines itself as a hybrid of a popular arts/design magazine and a scholarly journal: playful and serious, exuberant and committed. Since my project 2 is not only a summary of some of the most praised and noted collections of McQueen but also an in-depth exploration about the idea of the grotesque, I believe my piece can also be called an intersection of popular (fashion) culture and a scholarly exploration of an idea that is a good fit for Cabinet. The magazine expects writers submitting their work to use as little artistic jargon as possible, and since I have been working at reducing jargons and explaining abstract/ complex concepts addressed in my writing through the past few revisions, I do not think I need more work with reducing jargons. My piece has about 2200 words, so it has an appropriate length for submission. For now, I am thinking about including more examples of Alexander McQueen’s grotesque by introducing more of his previous fashion shows, but I am not sure if such revision is necessary. I think the beginning and ending paragraphs of my piece can be worded better, so I will definitely work on improving those parts.
Lawson – Blackout
As signees of the Duke Community Standard, we have all pledged to “conduct [ourselves] responsibly and honorably in all [our] activities”. We have an obligation to consider how our individual choices might affect the lives of others. If we truly care about our community—and ourselves—we can no longer turn a blind eye to our blackout culture. Blackouts aren’t cool; they’re dangerous, repulsive, and unacceptable
I’m glad that someone has written about this. Not that I am overly against drinking or that I don’t like to party (I do), I just feel like Duke and blackout culture are acceptable behaviors—which they should not be. This essay perfectly exemplifies the logical, intelligent, rational decision-making I’d expect from all Duke students. Yes, there are going to be blips here and there, and someone screws up. But for it to be a social practice? Something is seriously wrong.
Anyways, besides my agreement with Lawson, this essay did everything right. It stepped into its argument with cool rationale, examined and reflected upon experience, and maintained a heartfelt consistency to stand up against. It provided the right amount of information to persuade, and slightly shock its audience, into reconsidering.
And not to go on an aside, but this essay demonstrates what I think many of us have done individually throughout the semester: write something we care about deeply. Lawson did just that. So I’d like to not only congratulate him on a nice essay, but also extend that applause to all of us. It isn’t easy writing about serious matters, or ones that come close to home. When you do, however, the experience (at least for me) has remained extremely enriching.
Carol – Tin Foil Men
I found one meditating in the grass with its legs crossed. A pair of them stood atop a short wall, hugging each other in a solid embrace. Some held hands and stood righteously on table tops. Others scaled walls or hung from a precipice (like doors). Lonely misers who didn’t have another tin foil man to keep them company stood in hidden corners. Some of Lev’s creations had large heads, small feet, or no thumb at all. Skinny thighs, long necks, you name it. My friend had placed these tin foil men all over campus —in the libraries, bathrooms, classrooms. Along the Plaza, in the quad, on the engineering campus….one here, two there, another there. Even Dr. Seuss couldn’t count them all.
Carol’s voice (her actually vocal voice) is engrained in her written words and I want to hear everything that is said. This story was awesome. It was mysterious, charming, funny—all things that I enjoy in an essay. What I found most intriguing was Carol’s description of the little creatures hanging about Duke’s campus. Just as Lev created them, Carol recreated them with her words, making them just as alive. (Perhaps the pictures added to that effect). But the descriptions here reenact how I imagine the tin foil men to act: they were just hanging around.
Posted by Lawson Kurtz
I am planning to submit “BLACKOUT” for publication in Encompass magazine. Encompass is a publication of the Kenan Institute for Ethics at Duke. Like the name might suggest, Encompass includes a wide variety of work spanning numerous different academic disciplines. The goal of Encompass is not simply to say what is or is not ethical, but raise issues and start discussions about important ethical issues at Duke and in the world in general. The length of the pieces in Encompass varies, but pieces are generally confined to a two page spread (~1500 to 2000 words). Encompass readily accepts submissions via email (email@example.com), and will consider articles for further editing/publication upon receipt. I think my piece about alcohol would be a good fit for this publication because it perfectly fulfills the mission of the magazine. It takes an extremely important and relevant issue, explores it from some less-conventional angles, and generally discusses its broad ethical ramifications.
Posted by Erica Lin
Initially, I had decided to submit Project 2: Denied Entrance as an editorial to a newspaper with publications that targeted the medical community, but I was unable to find one that my piece would qualify for. Then, I decided to submit it to an online blog that collected stories thought about the application process; however, the majority of the blogs I browsed through were individual blogs. Although I really wanted to publicize this piece (I feel that handling an academic rejection is applicable to many people), I finally relented, attempting to submit one of my other pieces. In this search of a website for publication, I stumbled upon Creative Nonfiction, which was currently seeking blog posts that focused on foods, “including restaurant reviews; tales of meals gone awry; secrets, tips, and kitchen short cuts; confessions from cooks, chefs and/or servers; an examination of the kitchen life, and so on. Narrative, narrative, narrative” to re-print in their March 2011 Food Issue. I thought this was perfect for one of my posts from Project 1: E-Diary of the (Un) Accomplished. But wait! The deadline was 11:59 PM EST, Monday, November 29, 2010, and submissions required a blog. Then, I remembered that I had actually established a blog, temporarily , to familiarize myself with the blog designs, prior to turning in my finalized Project 1. I quickly re-activated the blog and submitted my post.
Posted by Lauren Kahn
Initially, I thought about posting “Climbing Kili,” my essay about my trek up Mount Kilimanjaro, to Duke’s Passport Magazine, but then discovered that my piece was nearly double the maximum word count that the publication accepts. In trying to come up for ideas of where else to submit my writing, I browsed the book The Best Travel Writing 2010 to compile a list of publications that feature travel writing. From there, I found Brevity and Travelers’ Tales. The former specializes in writing pieces that are less than 750 words. I decided that my Project 1 piece, “Concrete Jungle Gym” would be a good fit since it is such a short piece (made even shorter to accommodate the word limit!). I also submitted that piece to Travelers’ Tales, which publishes funny travel stories or misadventures for web posting and future humor books. My concern with this piece is that, though the narrative does not take place in my hometown, New York City is not particularly exotic when compared to the remote and international locations featured in the samples I read online. Hopefully, the company will see past the location and enjoy the story of my misadventure. …I’ll see what happens…what do I have to lose?
Posted by: Alexandra McKnight
I plan to submit my second project to Unzipped, the Duke Journal of Gender and Sexuality. Attempting not to quote exactly from the email/handout I received, Unzipped is an interdisciplinary publication that highlights essays and studies on the topics of gender and sexuality. The pieces may be between 1,000 to 5,000 words. Since the publication accepts work across disciplines the pieces may be original work, such as what we do in this class, or critical analysis of other published work.
In order to submit to Unzipped, you must include an abstract of no more than 200 words, you must submit the paper via Microsoft attachment, and submissions must include the author’s name (on all pages of the work), email, year and university, as well as the title, word count, and “discipline” of the submission. All the general technical stuff applies (as in you can’t submit work that has already been published, you can’t submit work that you’re trying to get published elsewhere, and you need a works cited page).
I’m going to send my Project 2 because it’s about both gender and sexuality (bada-bing, bada-boom). So that’s pretty simple. Unzipped is also a brand new Duke publication so it would pretty exciting to be accepted in their first edition.
posted by Margrette Kuhrt
I wrote about personal events in my life so I was a little concerned about finding a publication outlet for either of my Projects. My first piece, although it was quite personal, could also be applicable to Duke/Durham relations as it explores the importance and real benefit there is to sharing the city (and parts of our campus) with locals. I plan to contact the Office of Durham and Regional Affairs to see if perhaps they would be interested in including a link to a condensed version of my Project One on their website as a sort of testimonial that could point to the positive connections and all there is to gain from stepping outside of our bubble and not only accepting, but treasuring the local Durham residents. I will no doubt need to shorten my piece somewhat but I hope they are open to the idea!
I am also considering Eruditio which is a Duke publication that features full-length academic papers. Because my Project One was about 8 pages, the length won’t be an issue, but again, I am hoping that they find my writing to be relevant to people beyond those directly involved. I think the Duke/Durham partnership idea is a strong one, though, and hopefully that will resonate!
I am also still prowling to find additional publications to submit either of my Projects!