Archive for the ‘Novel class’ Category

2) If religion were to disappear, what would you want to replace it?
Literature. What is religion but a constant? I grew up in a secular household. My mother presented the idea of God and Christianity to me, but we never went to church. It makes sense, then, that I became so obsessed with reading. Stories teach you things, perspectives. Poems satisfy the part of me that like puzzle boxes and falling in love. And falling out of love. And trying to comprehend how beautiful water is. And how light is my favorite thing that I cannot hold. And how sometimes I think everything is ending. And how sometimes I think my Grandfather is the sky. Adrian, my pen pal from Canada, wrote raw poems and posted them on Diaryland (ha, the internet) for everyone to see. Somehow, I found him. They were magic. I carried them with me. He doesn’t believe in them anymore; he told me he stopped writing because he grew out of it; he didn’t need it anymore. But none of that matters. His poems still exist and will always exist and I can believe in them and they just won’t fucking leave me or break my heart and I can’t miss them like I miss everyone else and how I have always missed people.

And it means something.


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To: Randy Robertson
From: Elizabeth Morris
Subject: Tweets

Dear Randy,
As I’ve been finding no time to tweet (reading and writing the paper) I did some quick math to try to dissuade you from making us tweet the entire novel.

1) Let’s say we tweet 120 chapters of the 135 chapter (plus extracts and epiloque book.) That’s 240 tweets (serious and funny).

2) Each tweet is 140 characters, or less. However, considering, I’m going to use the max number of characters.
3) That’s 33,600 characters.
4) Let’s say again that each word is about 5 letters. This is generous. That’s 6,720 words.
5) My almost done midterm paper is about 1,720 words. So, to be generous, let’s round up to 2,000 when it’s done.
6) My midterm paper is worth 30% of my grade. You are asking us to tweet a word count equal to more than three midterm paper’s worth. Even if I were to be scant in this final calculation, it would be two midterm paper’s worth.

7) My tweeting is worth a small portion of the 20% of my participation grade.

As you can see, the work you are asking us to do for this is overbearing, considering it’s being assigned during the same two weeks as our midterm paper which is worth a considerably higher percentage. Of course I’m going to give precedence to the reading and the paper over this assignment. I would also like to point out that twitterature is by their definition (which can be redefined at any point, especially considering how new it is) twenty tweets OR LESS per book. Which means that our tweetage could cover 12 books.

I hope this dissuades so I don’t feel guilty if I can never get the assignment done.

All my affections,

From: Randy Roberston
To: Elizabeth Morris
Subject: re:Tweets

Wow, Ms. Morris, you should be a lawyer. Okay, let’s do this: stick to the original Twitterature formula–20 Tweets, but now over the course of the whole book. That’s still a total of 40 Tweets (20 for the serious version, 20 for the parody), but that should make Liz Morris’s life a lot easier. I’ll announce the changed assignment in class tomorrow; if I forget to do so, please remind me.

All my best,

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I’ll keep updating this until I get the entire way through. One of each is me seriously trying to summarize it, one is me doing it so that I might vent my frustrations about how terribly angry this all makes me. Not necessarily the fact that dear Randy assigned it so much as that it exists at all. Can you guess which is which?

Though, to be fair, Nadia and I were discussing how this would be a very interesting constraint, if it were done very meticulously. However, I still say that the people who could do this well, the ones who would use it as a wonderful poetic medium, are not the ones who will be making these bastardizations of the books.

Amazon’s reviews of the Twitterture book:

See what I mean?

See what I mean?

a) Whales are large. Whales are often in literature. Whales are sometimes referred to as leviathans. Whales are very influential and important to this book.

b) Whales are everywhere! The bible! Sea! Songs! Science! As the author I’m surprised no one’s written a book about hunting a whale, as they have so permeated our society!

Chapter 1–Loomings

a) ohai A/s/l? jus call me 1shma3l. u wanna go sailing 4 a wha1e? ;) k c u soon

b) I’m Ishmael. The sea is addictive. I like being a sailor because I get paid to go to sea. I have a huge desire to hunt a very large whale.

Chapter 2–Carpet Bag

a) Packed up some shirts but missed my ship. Looked for an inn. Found the shadiest one-the Spouter Inn. Oh well, I’m poor. Let’s check it out.

b) Missed ship. Was cold. Wandered and wondered. Found the Spouter Inn. Went inside to inquire about a room.

Chapter 3–The Spouter-Inn

a) No rooms? But I don’t wanna share with a harpooner. Yum dumplings. I’ll just sleep on this bench then. Brrr. Fine, I’ll share. GAH CANNIBAL

b) Inn’s perfectly cheap. Ate dinner. No rooms, though. Slept on a bench before deciding to share. My roommate’s a cannibal. Didn’t like that.

Chapter 4–The Counterpane

a) woke up spooning with @Queequeg :) and his tomahawk :( remembered when my step?mom sent me to bed for 16 hrs lol Q got dressed like a weirdo

b) Awoke to @Queequeg’s arm about me and his tomahawk in my side. He became dressed in the rudest fashion.

Chapter 5–Breakfast

a) Sailing men of all sorts were herded like cows into breakfast. @Queequeg harpooned his meat!

b) nomnomnmnomnomnomnomnomnomnomnomnomnomnomnom breakfast

Chapter 6–The Street

a) Went for a stroll, saw a bunch of characters, from the inexperienced sailor to the weathered man. Beautiful women in New Bedford.

b) Left the inn, saw some peeps, scoped out some hot chicks, off to Chapel.

Chapter 7– The Chapel

a) Our brothers of the sea have died here. With a solemn heart I sat down for the service.

b) Checked out the tombstones, saw @Queequeg hanging out. Let’s get my God on!

Chapter 8–The Pulpit


b) What a beautiful chapel, it is much like a ship on the sea.

Chapter 9– The Sermon

a) This Jonah shit is fucked. I’m gon’ go kill a whale now.

b) The preacher gave a fantastic sermon about Jonah and sin and ended on his knees.

Chapter 10–A Bosom Friend

a) Queequeg and I decided to be friends for life and bedfellows once more.

b) @Queequeg and I are hetero life partners! sMoKeD up, cuddled. No homo, though.

Chapter 11–Night Gown

a) Queequeg and I continued to chat. Fell asleep, woke up and felt dreadful. Q&I partook in his pipe.

b) @Queequeg and I fucked around for awhile. Woke up really fucked up so we smoked some more.

Chapter 12–Biographical

a) Queequeg told me of his royal hertiage and his advertures at sea. What an experienced and wise man.

b) YO @Queequeg is a fucking kinG! And he knows how to make this shrunken head into a bong lolz

Chapter 13–Wheelbarrow

a) @Queequeg n i rolled down the the docks 2 1/2 deep me him and the wheelbarrow lol got in a scuffle

b) Queequeg and I took a wheelbarrow of our things to the docks. We boarded the ship, Q almost threw someone overboard!

Chapter 14–Nantucket

a) Nothing of mention happened on the voyage. Nantucket is beautiful.

b) boredd ;)

Chapter 15–Chowder

a) We arrived at our inn and was served endless amounts of chowder by our hostess.

b) nomnomnomnomnomnomnomnomnomnomnom chowder

Chapter 16–The Ship

a) Yojo suggests that I choose the ship. After considering three, I decided upon the Pequod. What characters run that ship!

b) @Yojo told me to find our whale ship. Craigslist ftW!

Chapter 17–Ramadan

a) Queequeg has taken to the most peculiar rest and fast that I have ever encountered. He only just rose today.

b) “Kick in the door, I look on the floor / It’s my bedfellow Queequeg and he’s fastin’ sum mo'” Cannibals ain’t shit

Chapter 18–His Mark

a) I cleverly convinced the captain that Queequeg is indeed Christian! My skill with rhetoric is even impressive to myself today.

b) Pulled a fast one on the captains for @Queequeg. You’re my bro, man!

Chapter 19–The Prophet

a) Met a queer fellow named Elijah. He both followed and annoyed us.

b) Motherfucker tried to slip us up but @Queequeg and I wouldn’t take his shit.

Chapter 20–All Astir

a) Busy on the ship.

b) Yo, shits busy, no time to tweet-haha

Chapter 21–Going Aboard

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If we are so privileged, why are these things so hard?
This guy.
I’m picking up a philisophy minor ala Kelsey, Wall, and I believe Blankinship?
“We like to have concrete answers, and Shelley provides us with none.”
I think I’m going to write my Novel paper about Hobbes in Frankenstein.

keep talking
about apples
but when I
hand you
one it
even fit
into your

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So I started reading Frankenstein and remembered that I hated this book when I read it when I was 17.  I’m working on not hating it now, but its hard not to hate a book when some chick just sat around a a fire and got super intoxicated and then wrote all day.  That’s impression I got, at least. Maybe I will love it now.

Also, why is Paradise Lost a novel again?  I mean, I’m sure it is, or else RR wouldn’t have had us read it, but I’m amazed that no one (including myself) has brought it up yet.

Also,  read this and know how hopeless college can make you feel.  When really we’re all privileged.

“be kind, for everyone you meet is fighting a great battle.”

NOTE: This is the movie that my HONORS ENGLISH teacher showed us of Frankenstein. The movie is abotu 10 times as ridiculous as the trailer:

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[Note: This may have just been one of the most self-serving things I’ve ever done. I’m only getting away with it because I have to for novel.]

[Dr. Robertson, if this isn’t what you wanted, please tell me. Either way, I had fun doing it.]

(This is a love poem for Tara Elizabeth-Lynn.)[1]


A heavy-bottomed glass[3] tipping over.
That’s what it felt like when her head dropped to my shoulder.

She is all things orange: clementines[4] peeled in single spiral,
Sewn back together with red thread, left on the sill[5] for winter;

Thai tea[6] swirled with clouds of rice milk[7], blooming underneath
My tongue, forever staining[8] the white cuffs of my shirt;

Peach pie out of season, frozen months before and discovered under bags of
Vacuum-sealed corn, the bottom burned black when it was finally baked;[9]

A heavy-bottomed glass tipping over.
That’s it felt like when her head dropped into my lap.

She was suspended there, airy, like silk scarves, and then
Sunk, leaving iodine[10] stains on my thighs

The tint of tainted orange and a sanitized
Feeling that I just couldn’t scrub off.

Andy[11] had said, “Everyone knows
Girls are like fireflies.[12]” But it wasn’t

Until I felt her leave that I knew
He meant grasping for light that goes

Dark in your palm.[13]

1. Tara Elizabeth-Lynn is more commonly known as Tara Toms from Tara Toms and the Tumbleweeds. Toms is the only person with a poem in the Girls from the River School series to not be directly associated with Susquehanna University.
2. Morris has noted that this title is taken from a poem written by Andrew Shiraki. The original line is, “Hey lover of mine / sweet clementine divine.”
3. Morris is most likely referring to a tumbler or highball glass, which has straight sides and, as is mentioned in the line, a heavy bottom. These glasses were weighted so that they would not easily tip over, which is the reason it is an important moment in the poem.
4. A small, seedless variety of mandarin orange. Clementines are characterized by their juicy interior that breaks easily into eight to fourteen sections and, as is pertinent to this line of the poem, its flexible and easily-removable peel. Even though clementines have a Wikipedia entry, Microsoft Word has never added them to their spell check roster as anything except for a proper name for a girl.
5. Short for windowsill. Sometimes the peels of clementines, which were popular in the winter months, as they were shipped to the United States from Spain, were dried on windowsills and used for potpourri.
6. A tea popular in American Thai restaurants. The tea is usually served cold in a tall glass with half and half or evaporated milk floated on the top. The tea, which is usually just a strongly brewed black tea, sometimes with orange blossom water or star anise added, is colored with red and yellow dyes, giving it a bright orange color.
7. A milk substitute made from brown rice. Morris has noted that her best friend Abby used to make thai tea with rice milk and that that was the first way she ever drank it.
8. Again, the tea had such a strong dye in it, that it would, indeed, stain a shirt for a long time, if the shirt were not properly treated before being washed.
9. In an interview, Morris said that this references a peach pie she found in the freezer of her Grandparent’s house, six months after her grandmother had died. It was the first and last peach pie that she had ever eaten of her grandmother’s, and she considered it truly magical to have found it after she had thought that she would never eat her grandmother’s cooking again. Her grandmother’s middle name was Clementine.
10. Iodine was commonly used as an antiseptic and was also known for its orange color.
11. “Andy” is an imaginary boy in a song written and performed by Tara Toms about a boy named Andy who was every drug that Tara had ever taken and the loneliness that these drugs and Andy caused her.
12. Originally spoken by Steven Schrey one night after playing Frisbee, probably on a Sunday, in the Summer of ‘07, when he was driving Morris home in his Jeep with the top down. Morris knew it was poetry, but it took her a year and a half to fit it in the right place and have it mean something.
13. Morris notes that Tom Bailey, her fiction professor at Susquehanna University, originally said this line in describing the end of a short story. He said, “You know how the end of some short stories are like grasping for a firefly? You reach your hand out and think you’ve caught it, but when you look in your palm, it’s gone.”

And I can’t even pretend that I didn’t come up with the idea of linking the few things that I did on here from Nadia‘s hypertext final project that she did for Randy Robertson’s History of the Book class in the Spring of ’09.  Nothing is new!  Just think of them as footnotes to footnotes, since I can’t make footnotes to footnotes (I tried). Though I will say that I kind of did something similar when I was fifteen and thought that I was cool.

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