Men vs. Women vs. the Short Story.
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Men vs. Women vs. the Short Story

remember the book men are from mars, women are from venus? well, here's a
prime example offered by an english professor at southern methodist university:

in-class assignment for wednesday:
today we will experiment with a new form called the tandem story. the process
is simple. each person will pair off with the person sitting to his other
immediate right. one of you will then write the first paragraph of a short
story. the partner will read the first paragraph and then add another paragraph
to the story. the first person will then add a third paragraph, and so on back
and forth. remember to re-read what has been written each time in order to keep
the story coherent. the story is over when both agree a conclusion has been
reached. the following was actually turned in by two of my english students,
rebecca [last name deleted] and gary [last name deleted.]

at first, laurie couldn't decide which kind of tea she wanted. the chamomile,
which used to be her favorite for lazy evenings at home, now reminded her too
much of carl, who once said, in happier times, that he liked chamomile. but she
felt she must now, at all costs, keep her mind off carl. his possessiveness was
suffocating, and if she thought about him too much her asthma started acting up
again. so chamomile was out of the question.

meanwhile, advance sergeant carl harris, leader of the attack squadron now in
orbit over skyline 4, had more important things to think about than the neuroses
of an air-headed asthmatic bimbo named laurie with whom he had spent one sweaty
night over a year ago. as. harris to gestation 17, he said into his
transatlantic communicator. polar orbit established. no sign of resistance so
far... but before he could sign off, a bluish particle beam flashed out of
nowhere and blasted a hole through his ship's cargo bay. the jolt from the
direct hit sent him flying out of his seat and across the cockpit.

he bumped his head and died almost immediately, but not before he felt one
last pang of regret for psychically brutalizing the one woman who had ever had
feelings for him. soon afterwards, earth stopped its pointless hostilities
towards the peaceful farmers of skyline 4. congress passes law permanently
abolishing war and space travel, laurie read in her newspaper one morning. the
news simultaneously excited her and bored her. she stared out the window,
dreaming of her youth -- when the days had passed unhurriedly and carefree, with
no newspapers to read, no television to distract her from her sense of innocent
wonder at all the beautiful things around her. why must one lose one's
innocence to become a woman? she pondered wistfully.

little did she know, but she had less than 10 seconds to live. thousands of
miles above the city, the au'udrian mother ship launched the first of its
lithium fusion missiles. the dim-witted wimpy peaceniks who pushed the
unilateral aerospace disarmament treaty through congress had left earth a
defenseless target for the hostile alien empires who were determined to destroy
the human race. within two hours after the passage of the treaty the anu'udrian
ships were on course for earth, carrying enough firepower to pulverize the
entire planet. with no one to stop them, they swiftly initiated their diabolical
plan. the lithium fusion missile entered the atmosphere unimpeded. the
president, in his top-secret mobile submarine headquarters on the ocean floor
off the coast of guam, felt the inconceivably massive explosion, which vaporized
laurie and 85 million other americans. the president slammed his fist on the
conference table. we can't allow this! i'm going to veto that treaty! let's
blow'em out of the sky!

this is absurd. i refuse to continue this mockery of literature. my writing
partner is a violent, chauvinistic, semi-literate adolescent.

yeah? well, you're a self-centered tedious neurotic whose attempts at writing
are the literary equivalent of valium.


[Tag]:Men vs. Women vs. the Short Story
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