Friday, October 19, 2012

A Poem About Tomatoes

     I'm taking a writing course and the instructor is a fan of poetry. At the beginning of each class, he hands out poems. We then read them and make attempts to interpret the meaning(s). The instructor explained that learning poetry is good for longer writing projects because every word must count when writing poems. Thus, learning poetry can help one write with less filler.
     Last class period, the instructor asked us to write a poem about tomatoes and we were given 7 minutes. This is what I wrote:

by Bryan Singleton

I used to hate you
your bitter taste and slimy texture
were the scourge of my childhood

At the dinner table with no dinner
you and I alone, we met many times
but never because of friendship

but now I know you better
with lycopenes and with pizza
you are a friendly feast

     I read my poem aloud in class and the instructor asked if I had any experience writing poems. I said that I just "made it up" and had no experience. This is true; I have no formal training in poetry. What I do have is years of reading, so that may explain why I can write "good" poetry with no experience. The instructor and everyone in the class liked my poem.
     I then went on to explain the poem to the class. When I was younger, my parents made me eat tomatoes as punishment when I got bad notices from school. I really hated tomatoes, so it was an especially brutal punishment.

Monday, October 15, 2012

Science Fiction Author Pen Names

     Several years ago, I decided to read the short novel "One of Our Asteroids is Missing" by an unknown author, named Calvin M. Knox. It was on an Ace Double, along with "The Twisted Men" by A.E. van Vogt. I figured it would be terrible, but it turned out to be a very smooth read. Calvin Knox suddenly became an author worth checking out and I wondered why I had never heard of him before. Within 10 seconds of investigative work, I discovered that Calvin Knox is a pseudonym of Robert Silverberg. I had heard of Silverberg, but I had never read any of his work previously.
     I went through my science fiction book collection and made a list of the pseudonyms I discovered, along with the real names.

PSEUDONYM                                                           REAL NAME

Charles Beaumont
Charles Leroy Nutt
C.J. Cherryh
Caroline Janice Cherry
John Christopher
Samuel Youd
Curt Clark
Donald E. Westlake
Hal Clement
Harry Clement Stubbs
David Grinnell
Donald Wollheim
F.A. Javor
Francis Anthony Jaworski
Calvin M. Knox
Robert Silverberg
Murray Leinster
William Fitzgerald Jenkins
John Lymington
John Richard Newton Chance
Charles Eric Maine
David McIlwain
K.M. O’Donnell
Barry Malzberg
John Rankine
Douglas Mason
Arthur Sellings
Robert Arthur Gordon Ley
Cordwainer Smith
Paul Myron Anthony Linebarger
Bart Somers
Gardner Fox
Don A. Stuart
John W. Campbell, Jr.
William Tenn
Philip Klass
James Tiptree, Jr.
Alice Sheldon
Jack Vance
James Holbrook Vance