‘Script’ lit journal extends creative outlet to students

Sometimes during college, under the weight of science textbooks, analyses and piles of scholarly writing, students need and crave a creative outlet. In its 22nd year, Script, Whitworth’s student literary arts journal, provides students with just that.

Published annually at the end of each school year, Script contains student-submitted fiction, non-fiction, art, drama and poetry.

It is open to anyone enrolled at Whitworth who wants their work published.

The journal is funded by one of the English department’s donors, said Annie Stillar, program assistant for the English department.

But English majors are not the only ones submitting to the journal, said junior Diana Cater, assistant managing editor of Script.

“We have people from all academic backgrounds submitting their work,” Cater said.

She said Script is inspiring because it helps Whitworth artists realize they aren’t alone.

“Something really wonderful happens when you realize you are in a community of artists,” Cater said. “It’s really inspiring to say, ‘Hey, I’m surrounded by all of these really talented people.’”

Once submitted, the work is reviewed by a group of editors.

The editors determine what makes the work “good” as well as how it can be improved.

“What we’re really looking for is either people who just have a really solid craft and their writing is beautiful, and also students who are using innovative forms,” Jacquelyn Wheeler, senior and student editor of Script said.

Work can then be revised by the author and resubmitted. It becomes a learning process for both the editors and authors.

“We’re learning how to be editors, you’re learning how to be writers,” according to the Script Lit Journal Facebook page. “You help us by submitting, we want to help you, too.”

Many students submitted this year and Script is publishing a book with 170 pages of student work, including more art than has been seen in previous years, Wheeler said.

“Jacquie and I believe a thick journal is better than a thin one,” Cater said.

However, that does not mean quality was compromised. More than 20 editors worked on the journal to ensure that every piece of work was worth publishing.

While some works were rejected from the publication, authors can still learn from the editors’ critiques.

“You still get feedback and that’s a really important experience,” Cater said. “Keep writing and find ways to improve your craft.”

This year’s publication comes out on May 4. There is a Script Reading to celebrate its release by the Campanile (if it is raining it will be held in the HUB MPR) at 4 p.m.

Anyone published in Script is welcome to read their work at the ceremony and attendees can get a free journal.

“It’s pretty well attended every year,” Stillar said. “It is usually attended by about 70 to 100 people and it usually lasts about an hour.”

Next year, students interested in becoming an editor for Script should keep their eyes open during the fall for when the informational meeting will be held. Previous experience is not required as plenty of it will be gained from becoming part of the staff.

Submissions will be accepted starting in the fall.

 

Story by Nerissa Kresge Staff Writer

Photo courtesy of: Jacquelyn Wheeler

 

Contact Nerissa Kresge at nkresge12@my.whitworth.edu.

Book review: Young adult books offer valuable insight for adults

Last month, Time Magazine columnist Joel Stein wrote a column about why adults should not read young adult literature. The article is written after months of walking into coffee shops and seeing adults glued to their copy of “The Hunger Games,” years of listening to adults support “Team Edward” or “Team Jacob,” and a decade of adults referencing “muggles” and “quidditch.”

Stein’s contention is that young adult literature does not contain the depth, or the advanced level of writing adults should be reading. If an adult reads a young adult book, he or she is automatically forfeiting his or her ability to learn and grow from the piece of literature, and should therefore be ashamed and hide in the corner.

“I’m sure all those books are well-written,” Stein wrote. “So is ‘Horton Hatches the Egg.’ But Horton doesn’t have the depth of language and character as literature written for people who have stopped physically growing.”

Well, Mr. Stein, there are many people who would fervently argue against such statements.

If Stein’s belief is that all “literature” is well-written and contains highly developed characters and plots, has he read some of the romance novels out there?

Young adult literature is one of the few mediums that allow adults a peephole into the tumultuous lives of teenagers.

Chris Crutcher, local young adult author, recently spoke in an English class at Whitworth about the worth of young adult literature. He said he believes that young adult literature illustrates how teenagers struggle with finding their autonomy and growing up.

“[It helps adults] understand what [students] are going through,” Crutcher said. “They’re coming of age, but they aren’t there yet.”

Along with struggling with identity issues, young adult literature can talk about hard-hitting issues like abandonment, sex, drug use and abuse.

Caitlin Pawlowski, a junior elementary education major, believes reading young adult literature gives her an insight into some of the different struggles her future students might have growing up.

“I think it’s really important for me to understand the struggle,” Pawlowski said.

As for Stein’s theory that characters are underdeveloped, one might argue that Katniss from “The Hunger Games” is just as much a heroine as any “adult” heroine.

“Talk about empowerment,” Crutcher said. “She scares me to death.”

Some recently released young adult books that have received a great deal of enthusiasm and praise are “The Fault in Our Stars” by John Green, “Why We Broke Up” by Daniel Handler, and “Girl Meets Boy: Because There are Two Sides to Every Story” edited by Kelly Milner Halls.

“The Fault in Our Stars” follows Hazel, a terminal cancer-stricken teenager who meets a boy in her support group for kids with cancer. Hazel tackles life issues with a blunt humorous approach that leaves readers wondering if they should be crying or laughing.

“John Green writes incredible, honest truths about the secret, weird hearts of human beings,” wrote author E. Lockhart. “He makes me laugh and gasp at the beauty of a sentence or the twist of a tale. He is one of the best writers alive and I am seething with envy of his talent.”

In “Why We Broke Up,” the main character, Min, returns a box of things to her first love and details in a letter, item by item, the reason why they broke up.

The book is highly relatable to adults and teenagers alike. Who does not remember their first love and the heartache that followed?

“It’s easy to predict how Handler’s story will conclude from the book’s few pages,” wrote Susan Carpenter from The Los Angeles Times. “It’s more difficult to take such an everyday tragedy with a predictable ending and elevate it to an end point of enduring, emotionally effective art.”

“Girl Meets Boy” is a collection of short stories edited by Spokane author Kelly Milner Halls. Each story is told from the girl’s perspective and the boy’s perspective by some of today’s top young adult authors.

“The stories are thus surprising and varied, avoiding any sort of formulaic treatment of relationship dynamics and giving full weight to the complexities of what can happen when a girl meets a boy,” wrote the Bulletin of the Center for Children’s Books.

Unlike what Stein adamantly believes, each one of these books take on issues both teenagers and adults can relate to and learn from. Death, sexuality, love, helplessness and heartbreak fill these pages making each one of them more than just a frivolous, young adult book.

  Story by Nerissa Kresge Staff Writer

Graphic art by Maria Ladd

Contact Nerissa Kresge at nkresge12@my.whitworth.edu.

Slam poet tells students to stand up for their beliefs

A National Slam Poet Champion and National Poetry Slam Finalist returned to Whitworth on March 30 since his last performance here in 2010 to show how his poetry has evolved.

Shihan, who is a husband and father of two, has worked with stars such as boyband ‘N Sync and has been featured on HBO’s “Def Poetry,” Oxygen Network and NBC.

The poet began writing and performing as a full-time job in 1997 after deciding to go to school and become a teacher.

“I was in college when I started performing, and I just wanted to continue because I feel like poetry is an art form which definitely needs to be pushed and exposed to more and more people,” Shihan said. “I do feel I will go back and teach at some point, but right now I’m comfortable with reaching all these different people.”

Shihan said it was a difficult career choice. When he was 16, he moved from New York City where he lived with his father, to live with his mother in Los Angeles, where he lives now.

Once a poet who was thrilled to receive a $15 payment and a free dinner for his live performance, Shihan now travels the world sharing his ideas in 80 to 90 shows per year.

Throughout the evening Shihan constantly told the audience that words hold real power.

“I want you to hold on every word because they’re worth it,” Shihan said. “Sticks and stones may break your bones, but words will always teach you.”

“Expectations” is a poem written for his two children, which challenges preconceived notions held by society about their gender and skin color. To do that, the poet satirically stereotyped his 10-year-old daughter’s and his 5-year-old son’s future lives.

The audience laughed as Shihan told how he explained to his daughter that love was not like a Disney movie.

The poem finished: “No matter what they want you to be, you will always have a choice.”

As a slam poet, Shihan takes 70 to 80 flights a year. “Father’s Day” was written after Shihan returned from one of his shows and his young daughter turned to him and asked, “Daddy, do you still love me?”

The poem describes problems faced by parents who work away from home. A line from “Father’s Day” is, “I sacrifice every time I step to the mic, so you tell me, is it worth missing my family for?”

While many of Shihan’s poems are politically and socially challenging, he always incorporates humor; the audience often clapped and laughed along with his ideas.

The poem “Robots” exposes Shihan’s fear of a world dependent on technology, and society’s sole focus on developing material products rather than appreciating what the earth already has to offer: “You can laugh if you want to but mark my words: The Robots are coming.”

He told the audience how his life experiences helped fuel his creativity. Shihan’s mother was a Marine and left Shihan at a young age, and he said he had always had a great relationship with his father growing up until, at a fast pace, the relationship broke down.

Junior Curtis Gatley, who found Shihan on YouTube, knew some of Shihan’s work so well he was able to repeat Shihan’s poetry along with him.

“The more you hear it the more you like it because every time you hear it, the words impact you more,” Gatley said. “These are real words about real things.”

Shihan said society regards poetry as the “retarded daughter of theatre,” as it is often overlooked, or mocked, as a medium of entertainment and public discourse.

“Poetry is basically just storytelling,” Shihan said. “I think it allows for social commentary and for certain issues to be brought up within conversation. Any artist should have a purpose and a message; something should be said that inspires you.”

He also told the audience how important it is to continue reading other artists’ work and he read a short untitled poem that attacked capitalism, by Nikki Rakes.

“Reality is more ridiculous than fiction,” one line said.

A poignant question Rakes’ poem asks is, “Why apply for college when it’s easier to go to prison?”

Much of Shihan’s work is a call to action; he repeatedly invited the audience to stand up for something they believed in.

“Words do make the world turn, but what if I told you words weren’t enough?” Shihan said.

A piece which had both students and the poet himself in stitches of laughter was a reading of a letter he never sent to his mother during college which described the perils of living in a dorm.

It is a must-read for any present or past student who will clearly identify with at least one problem Shihan experienced, whether it’s the unclean roommate or the food you put your name on continually disappearing.

“It’s personal poetry but it also takes into consideration the social context,” said Cultural Events Coordinator senior Brittany Roach. “There’s something that we can all relate to in some form or another. It’s just honest.”

To budding poets, writers and performers he said to not undervalue local open mic events.

“A lot of writers get into the habit of just reading their own material, and that way you can’t really grow as an artist,” Shihan said. “You need to read, read, read, and then put yourself into situations where you’re not only sharing or performing your writing just with people you’re comfortable with. You need to push yourself to take to a different audience which might not be as open and accepting to what you’re saying as you’re used to.”

Shihan’s poetry and creative writing can be read on his website. The poet’s first book, “Deciphering Gibberish,” will be published  April 27.

  Story by Samantha Payne Staff Writer

Photography by Hope Barnes

Contact Samantha Payne at spayne15@my.whitworth.edu.

Professor introduces book on Chinese Catholic martyrs

Not many speakers would be willing to admit that much of their audience is comprised of students who have been promised extra credit for attending.

But that is exactly what associate professor of history Anthony E. Clark did within the first five minutes of introducing his new book “China’s Saints: Catholic Martyrdom during the Qing (1644-1911),” at Auntie’s Bookstore Friday, Feb. 24.

Clark, associate professor of Chinese history and director of the Asian studies program at Whitworth, has previously written two other scholarly books and numerous articles. He most recently wrote a television series, “The Saints of China: Martyrs of the Middle Kingdom” which was produced and aired on EWTN.

Clark switched frequently between English and Chinese as he greeted the audience at Auntie’s on Friday. He apologized in advance as he expressed his agony at trying to fit 16 pages of prepared notes, of which he only got through two, to the 30-minute time span.

Clark said his book “China’s Saints” stems from his hope that more Catholic martyrs from China will be better recognized.

“[I] hope to help martyrs be martyrs by acknowledging their martyrdom [in this book],” Clark said. “The word martyr means witness; how can these martyrs be witnesses of their faith if no one acknowledges them?”

Sophomore David Rhyoo agreed with Clark.

“[Coming to this event] gave me another perspective on the historic significance of China,” Rhyoo said. “Christian martyrs in China should be better recognized.”

Much of the background that Clark covers in his book includes the violence of the Opium Wars and the Boxer Uprising. He said the intent of his book is not to criticize China or the Chinese but to acknowledge the martyrs.

“It’s not OK when anyone is martyred for their beliefs,” Clark said.

Clark said he hopes his book will appeal to people of all beliefs by focusing on the similarities, rather than the differences, between all people.

During the presentation, Clark passed around several rare photographs that were featured in his book.

“I enjoyed seeing the photos that Dr. Clark presented,” junior Emily Hanson said. “I wouldn’t normally have gotten the chance to see them.”

The photographs, gathered from across China, displayed a rare glimpse into China’s past.

One audience member asked if the motivation of Clark’s book had stemmed from his Catholic faith or his historical perspective.

“My spiritual life and my historical life [are] the same,” Clark said. “One cannot completely be divorced from one’s heart.”

Clark also briefly mentioned the upcoming release of his next book, currently titled Imagine Spiritualities, which will center on the quote by Sun Tzu, an influential Chinese philosopher, which says, “Supreme excellence consists in breaking the enemy’s resistance without fighting.”

Clark said he hopes “Imagine Spiritualities” will help people realize that differences between people are, in fact, created by people and can therefore be bridged by people.

Story by Natalie Moreno Staff Writer

Photo by Rachel Bair

Contact Natalie Moreno at nmoreno14@my.whitworth.edu.

Book Review: La Ruina’s ‘The Natural’

How to be the world’s greatest seducer and write a book bragging about it Single Awareness Day has come and gone, leaving many of us wondering why we are single. What should I be doing differently? Is it my hair? Attitude? Lifestyle? Why them and not me? Gentlemen, you are in luck. According to author Richard La Ruina, he has the answer to all of those questions in his recently released book, “The Natural: How to Effortlessly Attract the Women You Want.”

La Ruina is so confident in his abilities to turn neglected and ignored men into the next “Rico Suaves,” that he has deemed himself, “master lothario” (which by the way, the dictionary defines as a man who obsessively seduces and deceives women). He includes a warning at the beginning of the book.

“When you have completed this book, you will possess a kind of raw power that at first can be intoxicating,” La Ruina writes. “With great power comes great responsibility.”

The warning continues. La Ruina tells the male reader that he will need to use his “moral compass” and use these skills only for good, especially when “you find that special someone, offer her the love and respect she deserves.” That is slightly ironic since throughout the book La Ruina continually references his “amazing” conquests, taking home a different magazine-worthy woman every night of the week.

La Ruina’s book seems to be an homage to himself. He begins “The Natural” by explaining his background growing up in London. He continues by describing how he had never had a girlfriend, dropped out of college and lived at home with his mother until the age of 25. Then, one magical day, things changed and he began to study the art of “the game.”

The game is the pickup artist’s expertise. To become a master at the game a male is able to pick up any woman he is interested in. There is a whole science behind it, and supposedly La Ruina has mastered these “skills.”

Out of the goodness of his heart, La Ruina has offered to teach others these skills through his book, website and videos.

What is discussed in La Ruina’s first chapter “The Attraction,” seems like nothing more than basic social science theories. Men are attracted to healthy women who seem able to have children. Women are attracted to strong men who seem like they will be able to provide. In order for a weak man to seem strong, the weak man needs to build up his image with positive self-talk. Self-talk needs to be spoken in the positive, not the negative. Oh, did I mention, La Ruina said he took home a tall, Estonian model?

According to Amazon.com, customers either love the man and his ideas or go to the other extreme, citing him as egotistical, describing fake conquests and teaching “creepy” strategies that would never actually work.

I for one know that if I were approached by a man embodying La Ruina’s essence, I would keep running in the opposite direction for as long and as far as possible.

Story by Nerissa Kresge Staff Writer

Contact Nerissa Kresge at nkresge12@my.whitworth.edu.

Photo courtesy of pickuppodcast.com

Book review: ‘How to Be Black’: more than just a guidebook

Baratunde Thurston wears many hats. He is a stand-up comedian, digital director of The Onion, co-founder of Jack & Jill Politics: A Black Bourgeoisie Perspective on U.S. Politics, and an author. In the introduction of his recently released book, “How to be Black,” Thurston freely acknowledgeswhy many will be purchasing his new “guide.”

“The odds are high that you acquired this book during the nationally sanctioned season for purchasing black cultural objects, also known as Black History Month,” Thurston writes.

While Thurston’s book is filed away under the humor section, what follows is a blunt, introspective and insightful look at what it means to be black in America, as well as what it means to simply be yourself.

Thurston’s writing is a constant balance between humorous jabs and poignant stories. In the introduction he supplies 10 activities one can do to celebrate the month and provides a ranking system based on the number of activities one takes part in. Participate in 0-1 activities and earn a ranking of “Honorary KKK Member,” do all 10 and become an “Official Friend of Black America.”

His chapters are humorously titled, attacking many misconceptions and racial stereotypes such as “Can You Swim?” “How to be the Black Friend,” “But I Don’t Want to Kill People,” and “How to be the (Next) Black President.”

Partially autobiographical, Thurston discusses the various aspects of his life that shaped him into the black man he is today, including growing up in drug-ridden Washington D.C., and being raised by a single woman who “was a pro-black, Pan African, tofu-eating hippie.”

While there is a definite humorous undertone running throughout the book, most of Thurston’s discussions are rich with thought and issues of race.

In order to better develop the concept of “blackness” in America, Thurston created “The Black Panel.” The book’s panel consists of six black men and women (three from each gender) and one white male (Christian Lander, author of “Stuff White People Like”) whom Thurston believes “do blackness well.”

Thurston turns to his panel to give a different in- sight into “blackness” as he believes he is incapable of speaking for millions of people and asks them questions like “when was the first time you realized you were black?” Their answers, like Thurston, are equally smart, humorous and at times, heartbreaking, keeping the book consistent and thought-provoking.

Story by Nerissa Kresge Staff Writer

Contact Nerissa Kresge at nkresge12@my.whitworth.edu.

Photo courtesy of: www.baratunde.com

Review: ‘Thinking, Fast and Slow’ author explores psychology of decisions

The student’s heart rate increases slightly as he examines the complex math problem. Looking closely, an observer would see that his pupils have dilated as his face is screwed up in concentration. The student, without even knowing it, has changed the way his brain is thinking. He is using more than just his automatic intuitive thinking — he has tapped into the part of his brain that solves problems and makes rational decisions. Daniel Kahneman explores the brain, how choices are made and how people can make rational choices in his new book, “Thinking, Fast and Slow,” released October 2011.

Kahneman’s main point is that prejudices, biases and poor decision-making are results of humankind relying on the automatic and intuitive part of the brain instead of the more slow and attention-oriented part. Because of humankind’s reluctance to think slowly and actively, we continually make irrational decisions.

In the first chapter, Kahneman introduces two parts of the brain: System 1 and System 2. Both are prevalent in experiencing the world and making decisions.

The two systems have their own characteristics and ways of working. System 1 is the fast, intuitive and automatic part of the brain, while System 2 is the slow, attention-oriented part of the brain. Kahneman uses the two systems throughout the book and explains how they affect everyday life.

Broken down into five parts and 38 chapters, the book explains different aspects of decision-making that both systems partake in. That includes heuristics and biases, overconfidence, choices and two selves.

In the part about overconfidence, Kahneman writes that most humans are overconfident despite statistical evidence. That overconfidence is a result of System 1.

There are multiple experiments formatted in the book that allow the reader to try out the techniques that Kahneman uses.

For example, the book begins by presenting a picture of a woman who is angry. The author asks the reader to look at it. Then Kahneman analyzes the experience the reader had while looking at the picture of the woman. He explains that all of the intuitive emotions and judgments toward the woman the reader had while glancing at the picture are from System 1. That helps the reader understand how System 1 affects him or her.

The experiments not only provide additional support to the author’s discussion, but they also engage the reader.

Although the author offers insight into how decisions are made in everyday life, the book’s jargon and extensive detail of cognitive systems and psychology make it a book not for the average reader. It is not a book to pick up for light reading on a Sunday afternoon. A keen desire to read about psychology, the brain, social sciences and choices are required to make the book one of interest.

Overall, “Thinking, Fast and Slow” requires an active and attentive reader who desires to understand the cognitive functions of the brain. The book presents a discussion about many different subjects and ties it back into System 1 and System 2 of the brain.

Readers who wish to think slower, use System 2 and really grasp the concept in the book should take the time to read it; readers who are more prone to following their System 1 probably should look elsewhere.

 

Kelli Raines

Photo courtesy of barnesandnoble.com