Anthony Jones

Jeff Becker


Final Portfolio


            Before this class I was always really into creative writing.  I’ve been one to start and toil over ideas a lot on my own but I’ve never been able to complete anything.  I always found there was something wrong with my writing even before I started a project.  Issues like not knowing where to begin, being unsure how to construct characters and dialogue outside of the planning process where I can just list their background and attributes were all huge roadblocks especially in my fiction work.  This semester truly was inspiring and a huge help for me, I already feel like that sounds dishonest but the experience was amazing and I’m glad I stuck with it.  My writing feels more grounded in reality and having learned how to spot things like “passive language” and “to be verbs” I honestly am able to understand what it was that I didn’t like about my writing before.  I don’t get as bored as I used to writing things, and I feel like I am writing with a goal in mind.  I think I’ve also gotten a lot closer to finding out what my style is as a writer.  I used to think about how my work would sound to a reader, whether it would sound like someone else’s work or if it just sounded uninspired.  Being able to hear my classmates’ great work and discuss it helped me understand that we don’t all sound the same.  I became more confident in presenting what I had because it did sound different from what other people made.  I did find the style and voice in each of my classmates writing and that was exciting as well.  I feel like I could pick out who wrote what even without their names written on paper.  Establishing a voice and style was a huge part of why I liked this class so much because before I felt like I didn’t have one.  Writing fluidly and using concrete “relatable” language and subjects was something I found I was good at.  It means a lot to know that so that I can continue writing more.

            Confidence is something I need to work on first and foremost.  Once I figured out that we’d actually be able to constructively criticize our work in class, I really wanted to participate a lot more.  I never got so much helpful feedback before on anything so I wasn’t always present with my work.  That’s an issue in my life overall.  I think I can continue to get better with using more descriptive language, and colorful words.  I’m no Hemingway, but I do feel like my writing can be a little wooden and not in the Heming-“way”.  (That was stupid)  I hope that I am also able to get out of my comfort zone and write about things that I relate to even less.  I don’t know much about the personal lives of my classmates but I feel like they all did such an amazing job writing about things that not a lot of people have experienced.  I don’t want to be known exclusively as a writer pours his own anxieties and crises onto the page.  I’d like to step out more into uncharted territory, and speak on other things as well.  I ‘m also addicted to using commas.  I don’t know what that’s all about.  That should probably stop.

            I think I can try to find better places to write for my process, and really just make it a priority to get the work done.  It really is important to me so I think I can do a better job at putting it up past my other priorities. 

            As far as my personal goals, I have a great desire to become a screenwriter, director, and even a novelist if I could ever get that good.  Most of my inspirations are filmmakers and people who capture real human conflicts and the realities of day to day existence.  I like humor, satire, and irony as well as real intense dramas.  Paul Thomas Anderson, Louis C.K. Spike Jonze, Earnest Hemingway, and many others are people who inspire me.  Now my classmates are also among those people since I’ve never actually met people who were also passionate about writing things.

            I’m particularly proud of my short story.  I did struggle a lot with finding a place to start before and one of the things I remembered when starting this one was to “give the character a goal,” and to “start as close to the end as possible.”  When I came up with the story I felt pretty good about it from the start.  I was honestly surprised that I was able to come up with something so quickly and keep going all the way to the end.  That was probably the first piece of fiction work I ever finished.  I really felt good about it because of the way it played out.  I mentioned earlier that Louis C.K. is one of my favorite “creators.”  In his show Louie and in his comedy I deeply admire his ability to take things to unexpected places and allow things to get a little surreal.  (I tried for a little surrealism with the “rich” European woman living in a Washington middle class suburb giving out a hundred dollar bill to a stranger.)   There is humor but there is also sincerity and real drama and character in his works.  I think I got close to making something almost that good.  I limited the amount of characters and focused on bringing the few people in the story to life and that is something I have never been able to do.





            I went to the Santa Fe art walk…on Santa Fe drive.  While I was there I mostly saw a lot sculptures, paintings, and photographs, but there was also a lot of writing and poetry going on that night.  I had never hung around the art district before so I was fairly unaware of the scale of the event.  It was great to see people present their writing in creative ways.  I saw one piece of art that was basically a tablet with a short story about what I think was “colonization,” etched into it.  I walk by things like that a lot around the city but what stood out to me was that it was an art installation that contained a short story.  I thought that was really creative and inspiring.  In addition to this there was a spoken word section that was cool, I get nervous presenting my work in front of my class, and here were kids getting on a small improvised stage presenting their words to anyone in Denver who would listen.  Having formally learned how to write poetry I found recognized things like active language and unique descriptions in their work.