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Eavesdropping and BananaFish….

. J.D. Salinger, God rest his soul, wrote more than just the incredible coming to age novel, The Catcher in the Rye. He wrote many short stories, and many related to a central group of characters. I’m taking a UCLA Extension class called Putting Dialogue to Work. The first assignment requires that we read the Salinger story, “A Perfect Day for Bananafish.” Although the story is in the American Realism genre, I LOVED it. I think it is because my grandfather was a WWII veteran, and from him, I came closer to understanding what a veteran might feel while trying to reinstitute himself into society. Here was my assessment of the story: * Muriel comes across as shallow and indifferent. She hadn’t been able to get her call through for 2.5 hours, but when the phone finally rings, she doesn’t bother to rush for it. Her call seems habitual rather than motivated by any sort of conscious desire or need to communicate. She paints her nails while she talks. I inferred that she probably spent more attention on that than the actual conversation. She takes her rings off, probably including her wedding ring, to hang around the hotel room. Despite her mother’s concern, Muriel behaves like any teenage girl. I can envision her rolling her eyes to look at her brain as her mother voices her concerns. Muriel is so far removed from reality that she feel invincible. She has, “It can’t happen to me syndrome.” I was taken by the following dialogue between Muriel and her mother: “When I think of how you waited for that boy all through the war-I mean when you think of all those crazy little wives who–” “Mother,” said the girl, “we’d better hang up. Seymour may come in any minute.” The fact that Muriel cuts her mother off in mid thought here...

Online Writing Courses (that are worth it!)

Hey folks! I’m a home school teacher and after school tutor by profession… so good courses mean a lot to me. I’ve been scrounging around the internet for three years trying to find good online courses and forums. So far, I would say only two programs were worth it. Here’s my 2¢: UCLA Extension Writers’ Program There’s not enough good I can say about these courses. UCLA offers live courses on their campus that generally meet once a week. I’ve never been to one of these. But what I love most about UCLA is their extensive online catalog of courses. They cover all genres of writing, including TV and movie scripts. They have accomplished authors on their team of instructors. The online format consists of Blackboard, a user friendly course and bulletin board system. They also have a very friendly team of counselors that will promptly reply to any questions or concerns you may have. Trust me, I’ve emailed them… A LOT. They offer a Certificate Program in Writing, which I have signed up for, and have almost completed. It will help me in my application for a Masters degree in Fine Arts when I apply in 2011. Sign up early! Enrollment is limited to about 14 or 15 students. I will leave it up to you to check out the catalog for a list of courses they offer (not only in writing, BTW!). For now, I’ll give a little summary of the courses I’m currently taking and have taken in the past. Past Courses Creative Writing: Short Story (Online) (Fall 2007) This course can be taken for UCLA college credit (a nice plus!). This class introduced me to one of my favorite books on writing fiction: Janet Burroway’s Writing Fiction: A Guide to Narrative Craft. Each week, we read a chapter of the book, a story that illustrated...