Erin Dorney

Blogging life & librarianship

The voice of authority.

with 5 comments

Photo 53-polaThis fall I’m taking a poetry workshop at West Chester University. It is the second course for my English MA degree and boy am I excited. My Cultural Studies course last semester was superb – it made me look at everything from a different angle. And after my first creative writing class last week, I’m sure this one is going to be just as good.

I briefly talked with one of my librarian colleagues at Millersville about feeling nervous regarding the transition back to creative writing. I am worried that because much of what I write (outside of this blog) is very academic-y/report-y/blah-y. I am used to writing a certain way for work – in a more professional tone, etc. and I haven’t done much personal writing since college. She recommended reading more fiction (to “get me in the mood” haha), and when I tried to complain that I don’t have much time for any reading outside of professional development she slapped me in the face with the future: downloadable audio books for the drive to and from class. Genius! The Lancaster Public Library has a wide array of books available, and I will be downloading at least one of them to my iPod for the drive on Thursday night. Hopefully that will get me back in the swing of things.

In the meantime, I am posting something I wrote during a freewriting exercise last week. I volunteered to read out loud on the first night of class to set a personal tone for myself. I want to learn from this class and become a better writer, and in a workshop setting I can’t afford to be timid. The exercise can be found here but basically it was to take a “voice of authority” from your life and write in that voice. I chose to write in my father’s voice based on some “parental guidelines” for my brothers and myself. Some of this has been fictionalized and it is by no means a finished product.

Parental Guidelines

We do not watch television during the week,
we spend summers borrowing books from the library
and if you steal from a store you will write them an apology letter
and they will hang it above the register
so that everyone knows
you’re a thief.

We do not read at the table,
we eat together every night
and I will check your math homework
but you’re on your own for writing.

We don’t go on vacations,
we do not spank people
and if  you throw a bowl of hot chicken noodle soup on your brother,
the babysitter will quit,
causing me to stay home
and watch you.

I will not yell at you,
but you will disappoint me
with your choices, words and actions.

I will teach all of you how to drive,
we will not listen to the radio while doing so
and after you fail your first driving test
we will go get ice cream together.

We don’t explode fireworks in the backyard during graduation parties,
we take bike rides together to the beach
and if you were meant to have holes punched in your earlobes,
you would have been born with them.


Written by Erin Dorney

September 7, 2009 at 8:21 PM

5 Responses

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  1. hahaha i remember trying to explode fireworks in the backyard. those were the days. 😀


    September 8, 2009 at 7:14 PM

  2. Hehehe… got in some trouble for that one 😉


    September 8, 2009 at 10:12 PM

  3. Very good, Babu-what about the seaglass summers?


    September 11, 2009 at 8:38 AM

  4. Awww Erin, that is beautiful. You’re so talented 🙂

    Morton Road ❤


    September 22, 2009 at 2:58 AM

  5. Thanks Ashleyyyy 🙂


    September 22, 2009 at 6:31 PM

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