I did four writing assignments this week from the assignment bank. None of the prompts were chosen for any particular reason, they just caught my eye. The first one, “Stressed Out,” is an acrostic poem about how I was feeling as I was writing it. I felt like I had too many things to do and I had no way to get it all done, so I wrote an acrostic (one of the easier poem styles to write) just to get it checked off the list. In the poem I also mentioned my perfectionism, because I worried that it, or anything I wrote, wouldn’t be good enough. Everything in the poem is something that I have said to myself this week when I felt too overwhelmed, like I didn’t even know where to start. But writing it out, and crossing it off the list, helped get me moving in the right direction and I was able to be incredibly productive today despite several setbacks and work I forgot I had to do.
The second one is called “Captain Never-Itchy” and is the origin story of a superhero with a stupid power. I’m a big fan of the Avengers and X-Men and always wondered if there was someone in that universe who had a power but it was too stupid to write a comic book about. I figured being itchy was really annoying, so never feeling itchy would be nice, if not useful. There’s also a satirical aside about the way comic books are written, how characters are killed off and reintroduced as new people, and how you have to read everything to understand what’s happening with the one character you care about. As much as I love comic book movies, the fact that there’s a century of character building and inside jokes and references in comics make the books really hard to get into, as much as I want to. This one I feel is more pointless than some of the others, just trying to get the star requirement rather than actually trying to make something meaningful. But hey, sometimes throwaway bits become super popular, so it’s not totally worthless as art.
The final two are relate to Bob Ross and “The Joy of Painting,” if more subtly that last week’s connections. “I’m Just So Tired” is a monologue from the point of view of a pillow complaining that it gets used every night, it’s never been washed, it feels ugly, it just wants a break, meanwhile the decorative pillow feels useless and empty. Is it silly in how dramatic it is? Yes. I needed to write something silly and get my mind to slow down at the same time, so I wrote the overdramatic monologue of a bitter pillow. But it’s also a comment on finding a balance between working too hard and not enough. Bob Ross always put in a bit of work to make something beautiful. If he worked more on his completed paintings, he might ruin them, but if he didn’t work on them and on his skill, they would never be created.
The last one is “Love, Hook.” It’s a diary entry by Captain Hook. Just like the others, it’s on the sillier side, but I see it as what Bob Ross would want me to do, to show a character traditionally shown as a villain to be a hero. I don’t know where I saw this or if it’s even real (I may have just made it up), but I have Bob Ross’s voice in my head saying, “Everyone’s the hero of their own story.” I can imagine Ross as the kind of person who doesn’t care who you are or what you’ve done, the only thing he cares about is helping you try something new, something fun and relaxing that he really enjoys. So I wrote the diary entry for a man who seems fairly irredeemable and I tried to redeem him.
I also wrote one plot for a video game I was thinking of making that I’m going to use this class to flesh out. I’m not sure whether I’m supposed to write it up as well but I’m going to. The outline is only one plot idea, the point of the game is that your decisions have gigantic consequences on the story being told. The name, Red River Valley, comes from an old western song about someone leaving the titular Red River Valley and breaking the heart of the singer that will remain. So I wrote up a plot that mirrors that song, but not every plot will follow it that closely. (If you want to hear the song, here‘s Gene Autry singing it, although the song existed well before that.)