Here is my cover letter!
To The Creative Nonfiction Foundation:
My name is Brea Davenport and I am a Junior studying English at Duke University. This semester I had the pleasure of taking a course in writing creative nonfiction. In this class I wrote a piece called Blinded By The Light From The Land Of The Rising Sun. It is a humorous story about my personal relationship with Japanese culture that I think would be a good piece for your journal.
I noticed that your publication takes pieces that are written by authors who have a story to tell. These stores range from general observations to personal stories from the past. All of them are informative, interesting, insightful, and told with a very distinct voice. I feel that my piece would fit well with the type of story that you are looking for. It is a thoughtful reflection on how this culture that was not mine by birth became such a large part of my life and how it has evolved over time.
I would really appreciate you reading my piece. I am completely open to talking with you about my piece for further revisions or anything you deem necessary. I have attached this piece to this email through pdf file. I am available via the following:
Mail: 2262 Highway 82
Statham, Ga 30666
Thank you for your consideration.
Posted By: Brea Davenport
Carol’s Tin Foil Men was such a great piece to read. I definitely felt some sort of connection to it because I was obsessed with those little tin foil men. I also feel a connection to the piece because I was in her writing group and heard it go through the process of editing and work-shopping. Hearing her story was some sort of reaffirming proof that they weren’t spontaneously generated foil men and created by an actual person, yet at the same time made “Len” the creator and the Tin Foil Men all the more amazing and legendary.
To this day, not that many people know the maker of these aluminum foil men. Lev still refuses to reveal his name to the public; he wants it to be a mystery. A gift of happiness, he says. He started out by making them for God, and then they became something
more…they became a way to reach out to strangers. Because he kept his identity secret, the little creatures didn’t represent any kind of cause or skin color or person. They were a conversation starter between two people who just happened to see one together and they invited the possibility of openness. Even if Lev wasn’t a part of that communication, it was a way for people to communicate with themselves, to question. Because life is open to interpretation, isn’t it?
It’s real life, but it’s magical. Awesome.
Another one of my favorites was Lauren’s Concrete Jungle Gym. The pacing and energy of this piece are so on point. Reading is an experience, not just an action when I read Concrete Jungle Gym. There were many great moments where she describes what she is going through as she tries to navigate New York City (A city that I have never been to, but could totally visualize by reading this piece).
My favorite part was
Putting the DVD back in its bag, I take out my iPod to listen to my music. I plug my earphones in and zone out.
madison avenue. Madison Avenue. MADISON AVENUE.
I thought it was a neat approach to documenting that “HELLO???” moment when your brain is trying to tell you something and you eventually realize it. I think you did a great job Lauren.
It was a little difficult finding where I could possibly publish my two Projects. My first project about my Gramma and her Alzheimer’s would fit with an Alzheimer’s website. There are a few like alz.org or memorystudy.org. They accept all stories about Alzheimer’s from those who have loved ones who are going through it or even from those who have Alzheimer’s themselves. It was incredible to read all of the stories. The best part was I could handle reading them without going to pieces. Project 1 was difficult to write, but very therapeutic.However, I do not think I want my story published with the others. I think I will just keep it to myself…and yall.
Project 2 is a little bit more difficult for me to find a place for it to belong. It is a piece about experiencing a foreign culture, however I’m not in the country of the foreign culture. Most publications on foreign culture expect you to actually be in that country. I was at The Japan Festival and immersed in Japanese culture- but it was in Duluth, GA.
Then lo and behold – I get a genius idea. I type in “Creative NonFiction” and there actually is a publication called Creative Nonfiction. It takes un-themed submissions year round of writing that can be about anything. So I guess I will give this publication a shot. I think I will turn in my Project 2 to this place and see what happens!
Posted By: Brea Davenport
This Project was a lot of fun for me to do. If you want to get to know me and a bit of what I like/my hobbies, then this piece is the place to start. It was originally one of our first pieces that we did, I think it was the one about an event we attended – X3 I do believe. It was a little difficult to develop it into something that told a story from the actual event and at the same time give background on how I ended up at that event, but I think I was able to do it. I hope you agree.
Posted by: Brea Davenport
I just finished writing this nonsense. But wait – this is the beginning.
Who am I? Not important. What is important is that You are reading this. Stop reading this. Why? This is not a memoir! And you’re on a computer. And your computer is probably like mine. It hates me. Why does my computer hate me? Why does technology hate me? I dropped my phone and it broke and now I’m trying to click on the stupid box in WordPress and it won’t let me type! I blame my computer. There is no blinky or solid line that signifies “You can type.” Oh wait…it works if I type. Great. I can do it! And now you can read. You have the ability to read the brilliance that is about to pour from my noggin – until you get the blue screen of death or Facebook rips you away with a new friend request.
Still here? You are so dumb. You are really dumb, for real. I bet you got through the first half of the first paragraph and ended up on Youtube and then came back out of obligation to read another classmate’s work. Well fine. Fact: The next few sentences are the steps I typically make before I actually make something go from my brain to paper…or computer. Before I get to typing I make an effort to relax my mind to properly think of a good topic. But then I can’t. Before I get to relaxing my mind properly to think of a good topic I’m make the effort to relax my body. Normally I think too hard about relaxing my body which does not allow me to relax my mind. Then I decide to make the not-so-smart decision of getting on my bed to lie down…for five minutes. This typically has me waking up 5 hours later and cursing myself for falling asleep.
Fact: I bet that’s what you just did. You fell asleep during my essay. I told you to stop reading. This is nowhere near as much fun to look at as random Wikipedia articles or online shoe shopping sites. Why are you still here? Don’t you know, the more you read this, the faster you are to reaching your eminent doom of being blind as a bat?!
Fact: Bats don’t use their eyes, but they can “see” better than humans by using sound. Neat, huh?
Wow. Over 400 words now. Looks like you’ve made it to
I don’t like talking about my gramma. Not that I don’t like to talk about her, it is just that when I do, I get upset and cry almost every time and that gets really old after awhile. Writing this paper was difficult (in a kind of funny way) because I would think about it, cry, and then have to wait for the tears to go away to keep writing. It would be those big, fat tears that just sit on your lower eye lid until they build up and fall down your face. It is extremely difficult to see through tears! That is why I would have to wait. It got really annoying because a part of me was ready to write and the other part of me wanted to curl up in a ball on my bed and sob like an emo kid. It was bizarre.
I never intended on having this as my first project. It was the first piece I brought in to the writing group and they liked it. I figured I would be done with the piece for good after that day. However, when I asked my writing group should I use X1 or X5 that they read for Project 1, all of them said they wanted me to do X2, which was the piece on my gramma. I never really said how sad it made me or how difficult it was for me to write, but I figured if they liked it so much then maybe others would too, even though I dreaded the writing process for it. It started off with just me telling the story from when I was 9 to a conclusion on what happened now that I am 20. Eventually I added in more from the perspective as a 20 year old, but added in more experiences, like when I was 10 and when I was 15, and over all I added more detail to everything.
I’m glad that I did it. I feel a little bit better now.
Posted by: Brea Davenport
I have always loved learning random tidbits of history. Growing up I loved reading my mom’s book called The Odd Index which had lists of really peculiar things. My favorite lists always had to do with history. One that sticks out in my mind was a list of the bizarre similarities between the murders of President Lincoln and President Kennedy. Assassination Vacation is like The Odd Index in that it shows bits of history in a really interesting way. I was already intrigued at learning about our presidents who died at the hands of another human so I knew that the reading wold not be too difficult, however Vowell’s writing style made reading so pleasant the interesting facts were even easier for me to read. She weaves in valid points of history with the story of her journey making the probably average walk through history more of a joyous romp through time.
Along with interesting history facts, she logically provides explanation of what she is doing, but with a good dose of humor to keep the story actually readable. I really enjoyed hearing about her journey as much as I enjoyed learning about our unfortunate assassinated presidents. For example, take her excerpt of when she finds the perfect word to describe her journey of learning about assassinated presidents.
“…It occurred to me that there is a name for travel embarked upon with the agenda of venerating relics: pilgrimage. The medieval pilgrimage routes, in which Christians walked from church to church commune with innards of saints, are the beginnings of the modern tourism industry.”
The passage is a mixture of historical fact, explanation of what she is doing, and it’s funny. Assassination Vacation is full of moments like this, moments that have lots of information, but are easy to relate to. I really admire Vowell’s ability to maintain consistency on her subject, but switch from facts to opinion with ease and humor. It is a skill that I hope to acquire so that my writing is fun to read, yet very interesting too.
Posted By: Brea Davenport
Taking a Reading was probably the shortest of the essays to read, however it stood out the most to me. I am not a fan of math and cringe at measurements that are not the American kind (I don’t know the metric system! Oops). Yet I thought it was endearing of Sue Allison so use words for measuring things so easily in her essay. She starts off her essay with “A yard, a pace, a foot, a fathom. How beautiful the language of measurement is…” and her essay actually has me believing that now.
She describes how the different measurements are composed of other smaller measurements or how they help compose bigger measurements. It is like she is telling us that everything counts (literally). She even questions what the measurements actually mean. Why is a cranberry bushel bigger than a bushel? What is a bushel when the cranberries are on the bush? I would like to think that these ponderings on measurements are her approach to reflect on life. She even gives us a glimpse into hers as she tells us that her favorite measurement is the height of her husband and she has a chain (which also has a specific length measurement – who knew?) which “cannot hold a ship to shore but holds so much more”. I loved how she expressed her sentiment and feelings by using something as mundane and precise as measurements. It was a very effective and unique approach.
Posted By: Brea Davenport
I always have a KFKD experience when writing. Lamott says that when a writer sits down to write she will hear KFKD, a radio station, playing in her head. This radio station will play different voices and sounds that will either make the writers feel like self pitying geniuses or incompetent hacks. I am more on the incompetent hack side. The radio in my mind will not shut up and I have to force myself to concentrate and try not to get any of the empty, meaningless radio crackle mixed in with good material. I find it interesting that instead of trying to ignore the noise she wants us to become aware of it.
She says that the loudest voice played on KFKD is jealousy. I found Lamott’s excerpt in about jealousy to be really funny. I have never experienced jealousy when having to write and compare my work to others, but I have seen it. Envy Green is not a good color on most people. These classmates of mine who got jealous of other classmates of mine were not getting jealous over book deals and awesome amounts of money. It was just being jealous over grades. However, when you are with a bunch of overachievers, grades are your life. I realize now that these friends of mine were not aware of how jealous they were of other students. Maybe if they would have realized that they were jealous they could have gotten over it and written better papers. Lamott used her envy to write an endearing book and ended up getting what she was jealous that her writer friends had.