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One Man’s Garbage is Another Mouse’s Feast…

9 Nov

Once the giants leave, I bolt into the kitchen and scramble for any remnants of their last meal. I spot a hefty piece of bread and half to use both paws just to pick it up. Starved, I eat it quickly. I continue around the kitchen collecting pieces of my next meal: a piece of corn, a small piece of meat, a chickpea, other indentified food crumbs and my ultimate favorite: cheese! Little do the humans know that these tiny pieces of food that drift off their plate serve as an entire days nourishment for me… I scurry back into my hole to enjoy my feast. Eating such small portions of different foods allows me to explore the different tastes and ingredients of food to the fullest. Humans only consume one, maybe two different foods per meal but I get to try five or six different types every meal. One man’s garbage is another mouse’s feast… and I feel lucky to be living in a house with such messy overeaters. These humans usually do not clean the kitchen until right before their next meal… perfect for me.


As I watch the giants from a hole inside the wall I wonder how they acquire these ample amounts of tasty food, I can’t imagine that they too have to steal it. They appear to be a happy family that enjoys eating together and laughing. The last family I lived with was not as friendly and they nearly put me to death after finding me dragging a piece of bread back to my hole…


The world around me is gargantuan and fast, a life I would never be able to keep up with. I find that it’s easier to watch from aside and remain invisible. Despite my size and misfortune, I believe I have an advantage over the humans: my mind is in a constant state of exploration. As the giants seem to be quickly bored by everything, moving from room to room and constantly changing the television channel, much of what I see is new and profound to me. Always trying to over flavor foods and serve new dishes, the wife of the family seems to be incessantly tending to the short attention span of her families taste buds. I happily consume the remnants of her meals.


On blog #5

8 Nov

Graphic score for voice, from Cathy Berberian's performance piece, "Stripsody"

In this last blog, I really encourage you to try some kind of experiment with voice, point of view, or genre to expand your range of writing abilities, and have fun with the tools of literature you have been exposed to. These include, but are not limited to:

–satire (The Beefeater)

–stream-of-consciousness or internal monologue in alternation with third-person narration (American Hijiki)

–narration by a non-human narrator (I Am a Cat)

–the iterative tense of the fairy tale (Momotarō)

–irony (The Restaurant of Many Orders, where the characters’ level of knowledge is much inferior to the narrator’s)

…I am sure there more, and more techniques, to draw on…

As we get farther from September, you–especially first-year students–should be drifting away from the tone and formula of the personal essay you are most likely familiar with, the careful, positive conventions of the application essay. You should be drifting toward a more conscious relation to form, voice, and use of evidence. In short, toward using the tools of critical analysis within your own work, even in a personal narrative.

In fact, many of you have just written papers about this–how the anonymous cat in I Am a Cat does this same thing of achieving a point of view and thus a stance or question to explore, through style, distance, and point of view. All of these are qualities that produce that elusive thing called “voice,” the intangible thing that marks you as a distinctive and capable writer.