Tuesday, June 28, 2011

A Heavy Assignment

It was an English assignment that took the place of a final exam. Each student was asked to take a short story or poem that we’d read during our term,  and put our own interpretation to it—pulling out at least one literary element employed by the author (ex.: symbolism, imagery, parallelism) and identifying that element in our presentation. “Be creative,” the instructor told us. “Go with what you know. If you’re an artist, paint a picture. If you’re a photographer, take a picture. If you are a musician, write a song.. or sing one.” I’m a writer- - with thirty years of news reporting under my belt. I produced a short, FICTIONAL, newscast.

My presentation was based on the short story “The Things They Carried,” by Tim O’Brien. Mr. O’Brien uses parallelism to drive home the weight our soldiers carry—on their backs, and in their hearts and minds. I recommend reading the story. The language is a bit strong at times, and frankly makes me uncomfortable… but I suppose that’s also part of the heaviness, and ugliness, of war.
This is my project. It was produced simply as a classroom assignment. IT IS NOT A REAL NEWS STORY! It is my dramatic interpretation of Tim O’Brien’s’ story, which moved me. It was produced as a classroom assignment. (I scored 100!) Thanks to my daughter, Avery Cotton and to  my friend, Matt Allen, for helping me with this. To my television friends: GO EASY ON ME! This was my very first experience with the FLIP camera and with the Movie Maker program on my computer. The next one will be better!
If “The Things They Carried” was a newscast, this is how I envision it would play out.  (My thanks to Terry Wilhite for the bump music. It was created for another purpose, but fit this project perfectly. Terry, you are awesome!)


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