Creative Writing Workshops

Hi, my name is Jennifer Jeske. I am in my final semester of the Public Relations program here at GCC. I am currently in an internship with GCC’s Public Relations department. My duties as an intern here at school has allowed me the opportunity to post blogs on our website and share my thoughts.

I attended a Creative Writing workshop this month and wanted to share my experience with others through the website. I encourage students to go to as many of the free workshops we have on campus. This specific one was through the creative writing department. It allows students to share thoughts, create ideas, and critique at each other’s work. I interviewed students and instructors and even wrote my own poem during the workshop. I found it very enlightening.

 

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“The Art of the Typewriter” Display at GCC North Library

A rusty typewriter sitting in the school library where he works captured the imagination of Ryan Adney, an English teacher at Alhambra High School in Phoenix. The typewriter had sat in a dusty corner, unused, for the better part of 20 years.

“I have always been a sucker for that which other people ignore,” said Adney, who saw the machine, restored it and started using it.

His students started asking questions, marking the beginning of what he’s come to know as his Classroom Typewriter Project.

The exhibit at GCC is a small selection of typewriters from Adney’s personal collection. The machines – the earliest from 1909 and the newest from 1985 – represent about 100 years of typewriter design and styling.

The deans at GCC North, Chuck Jeffrey and Monica Casteneda, who was instrumental in bringing the exhibit to GCC North, said anyone who has a love of old technology, typewriters, and nostalgia should make a point to visit the exhibit.

Asked whether he is a collector, a curator or a hobbyist, Adney responded, “I think all these terms apply to modern typewriter collectors.”

“Obviously, I am interested in gathering fine specimens and enjoying them. In that way, I am like any other collector. However, typewriter collectors see themselves as existing on a special point on the collector/preservationist spectrum.”

He, like many others, doesn’t just like to collect these machines, they like to use them. In his view, that is a stark contrast to collections in which items are placed on a shelf and observed strictly as objects d’art.

“Many of my machines now used on a regular basis had been used by previously by students in my classroom,” he said, explaining that many of his ilk do not view typewriters as precious objects, but as tools that will, with a little care and consideration, outlive their owners.

Adney has been collecting typewriters on-and-off for the last 18 years, most concertedly since 2009.The typewriters on display at GCC North are all from his personal collection. His family has been supportive; it was his wife who suggested that he start displaying his typewriters in their home office. He also has a classroom collection his students are allowed to use.

One thing he finds the most interesting is that these machines were built to last. “Nowhere in corporate ethos of the big, traditional typewriter manufacturers was the concept of an ‘upgrade cycle,’” he observed. “These manufacturers were making typewriters that would outlast their owners. Many of them have.”

“It makes one stop and think about how much the world has changed in so little time. Moreover, the personal relationship that we have with tools is very much absent.”

Putting traditional typewriters in context with the new world of computers, Adney points out that he singular purpose of a typewriter is to put words on paper. “When working properly it does that very well,” he said. “A typewriter is not nearly as good at streaming a movie form Netflix or tweeting. That’s the point! Typewriters are single-use devices and people like me relish that idea.”

He believes our technology-driven society has fetishized the concept of efficiency and productivity, defining a product’s market value by its feature set.

“We live at a time when we often equate quantity with quality,” said Adney. “I, for one, do not like that. It is a hollow existence. So when there is a chance to rekindle both nostalgia and valuable criticism of our technology people really take to that idea. And as a consequence typewriters are again very much in the conscience of people.”

Nostalgia is continuing discussion topic for those in the Typosphere, a virtual community of typewriter bloggers and collectors. Adney is no exception. However, having grown up in the post-typewriter age, his nostalgia is for a time he never personally experienced. “I grew up in the middle of the computer revolution and I have only small memories of typewriters,” he said.

Those who recall the past and remember typing as a chore may view the computer as a great saver of time. Adney doesn’t discount their feelings, and acknowledges that typing on a typewriter consumes a significant amount of time. He agrees that if it were the only way to type, it might seem tedious.

Still, he raises challenging questions:

If computers are viewed as “time savers,” what has happened to that extra time? Have computers offered us more leisure time to explore our hobbies? Have computers given us the gift of time with our friends and families?

Adney maintains the time saved by computerization has been filled with other kinds of drudgery, and that the “time-saver” argument is a canard. “So, yeah, I feel a little nostalgic for a time when things were harder, but I think things were also a little more honest,” he said.

Adney doesn’t think the computer is going anywhere. But he thinks typewriters are here to stay, too. He sees the typewriter, the LP vinyl album, the mechanical watch, the fountain pen as mirrors – visual cues that can remind us to stop and assess the true value technology.

Like many of us, Adney says it’s hard to see the art in something that has a functional place in our lives. But this exhibit helps, by taking typewriters out of their daily context and presenting them in a way that helps the viewer focus the lines of the machine, and contemplate them as works of art.

Adney says one big takeaway from the exhibit should the realization of how remarkably little the typewriter changed over a nearly one-hundred year period. A typewriter user from 1909 would be able to sit down in front of a typewriter from 1989 and use it with very little confusion.

Whereas in a fraction of that same amount of time, the computer has gone through countless iterations. Adney calls traditional typewriters “decade-agnostic.”

He issues a challenge:  “Take a modern computer user and place him or her in front of a computer from the mid-eighties and see how well they fare.”

For more information, contact Monica Castaneda, monica.castaneda@gccaz.edu.

Every Book Its Reader: Human Library Recognized for Civic Engagement

Since its debut at GCC in October 2012, the Human Library has gained regional recognition for its unique ability to infuse the democratic process into curriculum that teaches students the importance of civic—and civil—dialogue.

In April 2013 the Maricopa Diversity Advisory Council (DAC) awarded its annual Award of Excellence to the Human Library, citing it as a unique opportunity for students to explore stereotypes, analyze issues and engage in civic dialog. The DAC promotes initiatives throughout the Maricopa Community College District that reflect a commitment to diversity.

The Human Library has also been selected as a featured presentation at the American Democracy Project’s (ADP) conference, held in Denver, CO in June. The ADP conference focuses attention on educational experiences that build the civic skills that today’s college graduates need.

WHAT IS A HUMAN LIBRARY? Continue reading

Student art show reigns in talent

Student Tim Nichols

Photography student Tim Nichols views his film, while choosing which ones to print.

Glendale Community College students are showcasing their art in the 47th annual student art exhibit, April 15-30 in the Student Union.

“The exhibit gives students real world experience. It also gives the opportunity for the public to share in the students’ success,” said GCC photography professor Brendan Regan.

The exhibition features artwork such as painting and watercolor, 2D artwork, photography, multimedia and animation, large sculpture and mixed media projects.

Many of the entries are from students in various art classes on campus. Some of the art is from various class projects and assignments.

Photography students Ani Tsarukyan and Tim Nichols prepared their photographs in Regan’s Intro to Photography class by choosing and matting their photos. Continue reading

GCC’s “Splitting Issues” Provides Side-Splitting Comedy

After a Valentine’s Day filled with overpriced chocolates and forget-me-nots, it can be easy to become momentarily blinded by the silly issues brought on by even the dearest romantic relationships.

A comedic glimpse at the absurdities and trivialities of human relationships was brought to Glendale Community College courtesy of the Theatre Arts department’s production of “Splitting Issues (And Several Other Noteworthy Concerns)” this Feb. 22- March 2.

Written by Sam Brobrick and directed by GCC’s David Seitz, this comedy included nine short scenes varying in degree of romance, hilarity and outlandish situations.

From a frustrated couple arguing over the prominence of dip at a dinner party, a restaurant server flustered at the presence of a greedy ex-wife to a not-so-gentle-man who dwells in art museums to pick up women—this series of vignettes brought many issues to the eyes of audience members.

The cast was comprised of  fifteen GCC students who took on multiple roles, playing drastically different characters.

Actor JJ Hansen played the role of Wayne, a tricky neighbor, in “Dinner With Friendly Neighbors” as well as the role of Richard inside of a dimly-lit bar scene called “Purgatory.”

“My favorite scene to be in was  ‘Dinner with Friendly Neighbors.’ I got to play an outrageous, over-the-top Texan cowboy, so that one was really fun for me,” said Hansen.

One scene that stood out in its intelligent wit and humor was “Bingo-Bango,” which was a brief interaction between a woman who goes to art museums to admire the work and a man who scouts museums for attractive, single women. The interactions between the characters of Rosalind and Fred, played by Bailey Hall and Jared Queen, were quick-witted and surprising with each exchange of dialogue.

“My favorite scene to watch was ‘Bingo-Bango.’ Jared was amazing in that and so was Bailey; they worked that script to their fullest advantage,” said Hansen.

Having the same actors play multiple roles provided a variation of characters to be entertained by while seeing familiar faces. Often, noticing the same actor go from one colored wig to another became just as exciting as the new personality traits presented onstage.

“You get to experience everyone’s acting on a wider scale. Everyone pulls together a bit more because they are in more than one scene. It’s more of a team effort,” said Hansen.

For Hansen, “Splitting Issues” was not only entertaining; it was a learning experience.

“One of the good things about community college theatre is since its educational, our director will point out to us when we’re improving. It’s good for us to see the difference between opening night and closing night. We just constantly improve,” Hansen said.

The youngest members of the audience consisted of college-aged students, who remained most responsive throughout the comedic events within the play. With a hint of suggestive jokes and raunchy humor, “Splitting Issues” presented itself as a play for mature audiences.

Since the scenes within “Splitting Issues” did not follow one specific plotline, some audience members found it challenging to enjoy.

“People weren’t quite sure what to think because they are not used to vignettes. Some were thrown off by the whole thing, but other people found it really creative and great,” said Hansen after hearing some of the audience’s reactions.

The play took place within a small stage space, similar to the up-close, personal approach of a black box theater. One unique aspect of the set design was the digital background used throughout the play. Along with furniture and props, each vignette had a different background to enhance the atmosphere of the scene.

“Since we’re a community college, we have a lower budget yet we’re still able to make the best out of it with that budget. We can be creative with the stage set-up, and all the designers were able to adapt to it,” said Hansen.

In “Bingo-Bango,” a digital image of an art museum hallway was used to create a hyper-realistic portrayal of the environment. For not having opulent, large sets, this minimalistic approach worked very well in letting the audience focus more on the comedic interactions between characters.

“Some people were inspired by the fact that even though we had a small space and low budget, we were still able to put that much work into it and bring it to its fullest potential. Overall, the audience was really impressed with us,” Hansen said.

“Splitting Issues” presented everyday human interactions in a successful way by letting the audience see how absurd and comedic relationships can be. With vignettes, the audience was able to see a variety of situations, all with the same common thread of laughable instances that people can relate to.

Altogether, “Splitting Issues” granted the audience two hours of being able to laugh at common eccentricities and imperfections—making it a successful comedy based on the absurdity of relationships in the human experience.