Monday, September 27, 2010

Uncontest: Public Humiliation

Today the Rejectionist is having an excellent uncontest in the form of public humiliation. Since there's nothing better than a good public embarrassment every once in a while, I thought I would participate.

For your viewing displeasure I bring you two entries: one, a teenage love poem. Yes, you saw that coming, didn't you?

Let me preface this little disaster with: 
a) I was writing under a pen name composed of three of my favorite poets, Sara (as in Teasdale) Butler (as in Yeats) and Autumn because it rhythms with Auden (as in W. H.) and 
b) I was going through a hard core e.e. cummings phase. This entry is not the worst that came out of it, but I think this selection is both sappy and angtsy, without having any sort of redeeming qualities, unlike some of the other poetry that came out of this phase.

Sara Butler Autumn

I take no comfort in knowing
that mine are not the only
tears that have ever shed.
Nor does the thought that I
am not all alone in my grief,
in my sorrow. I know you
have hurt many just like
me; their numbers are stacked
high up, like checkers. But this
does not make the pain less;
does not stop the tears from flowing.
This does not stop the meaning in my
life from going.

Even more "special" than that little bit of angry poetry, I give you a few paragraphs of one of my early attempts at writing a novel.

I started trying to write novels in high school, and attempted this feat even though I knew next to nothing about how one went about such a task. Concepts like word count and genre didn't enter into my vocabulary, and I wrote with reckless abandon. Most of it is drivel, but I can see some of my style coming out.

Apparently my style at the time was overwrought imagery. I can't tell you how many times I was told I "walllowed" in my imagery. Since that's what I was going for at the time I took this to be a compliment. (what can I say, I experimented a lot as a teenager. We all go through a phase. Or two.)

"The young women stepped with one black, high sandaled foot in front of the other, cat-like, a tigress, using every curve and shape of her exquisite body to her advantage. Her bronze doeskin pants were laced with black leather up her long coltish legs to her hips, with a tan leather belt encircling her waist, the fringe from the end of the belt bouncing back and forth with her cat-stepping.
She wore a beige shirt, two or three shades lighter then her pants, that had a broad neckline, and showed her ivory shoulders, so pure-looking in the burning desert. Most people had never seen anyone without a deep tan, and that alone made her unequaled in their eyes. A black leather choker circled her neck, with tan, beige, and fawn colored beads woven into it. Matching beaded bands circled her wrists. A light cloak that matched her pants in color and material was tied loosely at her neck."

My font of choice at the time was Book Antiqua, but apparently Blogger doesn't support my nostalgia. This description of my character went on for eleven more paragraphs. I wish I was joking. I really wanted to make sure that reader knew what she looked like, so I described her in painstaking detail. 

I swear I have learned valuable lessons on "show don't tell" since then. Honest. Please don't judge me.

Better yet, join me! Let today be a marker as to how far you have come! Post some sappy journal entries, teenage love poetry, and old "novels". Link back here, and on the Rejectionist and join us in our embarrassment!


  1. First, your pen name? Fabulous!

    Favorite phrases from your novel:
    ...the fringe from the end of the belt bouncing back and forth with her cat-stepping... pure-looking in the burning desert..., a tigress, using every curve and shape of her exquisite body to her advantage...

    My humiliation can be found at

    God bless the Rejectionist for making us do this, right?

  2. That is outstanding! If it makes you feel any better, I bet I would have enjoyed reading all eleven paragraphs for reals when I was that age. And then I would have tried to craft the outfit.

  3. I totally get you. Book Antiqua is still one of my fave fonts.

  4. A tiger a doe and a colt all at once! That's some serious dedication to animal imagery. ;)

    Now I wish I'd posted the story where I basically spent three pages describing a dragon sitting on a rock. I do have an obsessive bit about a dagger though.

    Out of curiosity, is there at least one long paragraph describing her eyes? I was always obsessed with giving my early heroines cool eyes.

  5. I like your poem!

    And overwrought imagery is so cathartic. I enjoy a good wallow!

  6. I had to laugh at the mention of checkers.

    And just like J.A., I love how in one line of description you have a tigress and cat, and in the next line you add a doe, colt, and another cat. And then you add a fawn. She's a walking zoo! :-)

  7. Oh man, I suffered the same malady with over-describing my characters, because they were PERFECT IN MY HEAD and EVERYONE SHOULD HAVE THE EXACT SAME IMAGE IN THEIRS, AMIRITE?

    Great stuff. Thanks for sharing :)

  8. Oh man. I kind of like the description. You may have a lawsuit against Lady Gaga in the making.

  9. Laura: Thanks! I don’t know why I decided I needed a pen name…I just knew I HAD to have one. Bless the Rejectionist indeed! So cathartic and painful!

    Laurel: Thanks! I drew a picture of the outfit because I thought it was just so cool.

    Lydia: I still enjoy Book Antiqua as well. I have a recent love affair with Georgia, but Book Antiqua is a great standby.

    J. A. Platt: Yeah, I didn’t really stop to consider my images there. I remember thinking, “She’s got long legs, so a colt would work, but she really walks like a tiger, so let’s compare her to a tiger. That would be great.”

    And there IS a paragraph describing her eyes. I shall post here just for you:
    “But, as she moved closer, Rhint saw she was the moon as well. A daughter of the full silvery-bright moon, crystal-rich and shimmering, were her eyes. Sharp and cutting, like flint striking steel, like stone glancing off silver, the young women’s eyes flared and showered sparks. Metallic and glittering, her eyes were deep and dense; her eyes were a clear eventide fog.
    But not hazy. Clear instead, smoked glass cut to perfection. A perfection of elegant, glowing ashes. Warm and molten forged steel.
    The contrast, the comparison, between her fiery hair and icy eyes was startling; it was arresting. A raw drama of blazing hair; a raw drama of charcoaled eyes.”

    ….my thesaurus was well loved as a teenager.

    Sarah: thanks! I agree—over wrought poetry is very cathartic!

    Le R: Yaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaay! You commented on my blog! Huzzah! Thanks for the great idea!

    Main character: I know! When I reread the poem, I was like, “WHAT was I thinking???”

    Steph: that’s EXACTLY what I was thinking! My character is PERFECT and everyone should know EXACTLY what she looks like!

    Elliot: Hey! That's a great idea! "Can't read my, can't read my, can't read my CHECKER face." Yeah, I could see it. :D

  10. I enjoyed your poem and love that you shared your descriptive novel! I am wondering what else you could have added to that description.

  11. Wow. Thanks for putting up the eyes too.

    Metallic and glittering, her eyes were deep and dense; her eyes were a clear eventide fog. I love that they are dense but clear, not hazy, clear, the smokey kind of clear.

    And now I admit to a brief spell of giving everyone gray eyes. Because I read The Girl With Silver Eyes two or twelve times.

  12. Erica and Christy: Thank you! Since there were 10 more paragraphs of description, I am pretty sure I described every inch of her. Just to be safe.

    J.A. Platt: No problem! :D Yeah, I had an obsession with gray eyed characters for a long time.

  13. Thanks for the update on the eyes! It's like in a film, if the camera zoomed in on her eyes, and held... and held... and held... until she's like "Will you let me blink now?"