Monday, February 19, 2007

The End Has Come

After nearly two years of inactivity, I have decided to officially close this blog.

I started this blog with the intention of putting up things from my archive of creative writing and eventually adding newly created stuff. Unfortunately, I never got to a point where I could do that. My blogging commitments along with my job took more and more time away from any time to do creative writing which made this blog pointless.

It was fun having two blogs while it lasted. I do plan to do some creative writing again in the future, but unless I create a lot of stuff, this blog will remain closed.

Thanks to all who visited in the small amount of time that this blog was updated. I will not be deleting this blog, so feel free to check out the older posts and even comment if you like.

You can read me at my main blog Sterfish's Place, at Blogcritics Magazine, or at Also, you can check out my music tastes at my Mog.

Sterling "Sterfish" Fisher
February 19, 2007

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Monday, June 13, 2005

License Change And An Update

Two things of note:

First, I changed the license for the works on this blog. See the link in the sidebar and in the individual posts. All works that are currently on the blog as well as all new works will be licensed under this license.

Also, I have begun work on my serial story. It uses an idea I've had for a long time. I think that this time, I might be able to write it well. If the writing process goes well, look for the first installment within the next two weeks. In addition, I may write a new skit or two between the story installments.

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Friday, June 03, 2005

Skit: Blackout Skit #1

Blackout skits are short comedy skits that rely on a huge punchline at the end followed immediately by the stage going dark. When done right, they are really hilarious and add some kick (and variety) to a sketch comedy show.

What I have found out, though, is that blackout skits are hard to write. I can usually pump out a skit pretty quickly when I get right down to it. However, I've had some trouble thinking of any blackout skits to write. And since I really want to put up some new content on this blog, I've decided to post the one skit I have finished.

Let me just say that this skit isn't my best work. It might be considered offensive to some despite the lack of bad language, sex, or violence.

So, I hope you enjoy this short little skit. I will begin my serial short story sometime within the next few weeks (time permitting) so look for that soon.

A Blackout Skit
Copyright 2005 by Sterling Fisher

Creative Commons License

This work is licensed under a Creative Commons Attribution-NonCommercial-NoDerivs 2.5 License.

Setting: Church, set up for a wedding

Characters: Priest, Bride, Groom

(Opens with priest standing and the Bride and Groom standing together in front of the Priest with their backs to the audience.)

Priest: We are here today to celebrate the joining together of this couple in holy matrimony.

(Bride and Groom turn to face each other.)

Priest: Jim, do you take this woman to be your lawfully wedded wife?

Groom: (angrily to Bride) You're a woman?? You lied to me!! (runs away)

(small pause)

Bride: (angrily to Priest in a very deep masculine voice) Thanks a lot Reverend!


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Tuesday, May 24, 2005

What's In The Pipeline

It's been a little while since my last post (okay, over a month) but I finally have some stuff in the works for this blog. In addition to mining my archives for stuff, I am also working on brand-new stuff. Here's what I have planned for the summer and beyond:

  • A collection of short "blackout" comedy skits

  • At least two or three full-length comedy skits

  • A short story that I will write and post as a serial. I want to have about a week (or less) between posts.

  • Some short play exercises to help me as I consider writing a full-length play

  • A major "summer" project of some kind. It could be the play, a collection of short stories, a screenplay, or a full-fledged novel or novella.

Every summer I say that I will do more writing and instead I end up regretting that I didn't do anything. I hope to change that this summer and do some creating of some kind. In the meantime, expect a post of some kind within the next week or so. I just started the "blackout" skit collection and when I finish a few, I'll post them here.

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Wednesday, April 20, 2005

Archives: "Play Exercise"

When I was a freshman in college, I took a class called Intro to Drama. It was basically a class where we critically studied various plays. One exercise we had to do was to take an event from our lives and turn it into a theatrical scene. We had to describe the event/scene in prose, write the scene out, then do a short essay about how we felt about that event. If I remember correctly, I got a B on this assignment.

I've written short skits before but I have never attempted a real play. I think I may try to do so one day (just like how I want to finish a novel at some point) but this short scene is probably the closest I've ever come. Very few people have ever read this (and I haven't looked at it in years), so consider yourselves lucky...I guess.

Here is the entire exercise, presented completely unchanged from when I first turned it in, including the description, the scene, and the short essay.

Play Exercise
Copyright 1999 by Sterling Fisher

Creative Commons License

This work is licensed under a Creative Commons Attribution-NonCommercial-NoDerivs 2.5 License.

Prose Description

The event used in this exercise I not only witnessed, but also fully participated in. The event took place earlier this week (on MLK Day). My roommate and I were up late watching TV while doing homework. The TV show "Politically Incorrect" was on and the topic dealt appropriately with race and African-Americans. My roommate is not African-American, and while we agree on all racial issues, I have found him to be more conservative than I am. A comment on the show dealt with hip-hop (rap) music with the guests arguing whether or not this music portrays and furthers negative images of African-Americans. During this exchange, one of the guests mentioned that if he found a child with a rap CD, he would instantly confiscate the CD from him/her. When I heard that comment, I told my roommate that one shouldn't judge the music by the Parental Advisory sticker found on a lot of hip-hop music. This is where the event began.

My roommate's response surprised me when he said that he wouldn't listen to the CD strictly because it had cursing on it. We then got into a "heated debate" about the subject of cursing in music and art in general. My main argument was that positive messages can be found in so-called Parental Advisory labeled music and that instead of not listening to it because of that, one should in effect "give it a chance" and hear what the artist has to say. My roommate argued that if the artist wants to get his/her message across (especially to everyone), then he/she should not curse. We continued along these lines, virtually abandoning the homework we were doing. I tried repeatedly to sway my roommate over to my side of the argument. I used examples that ranged from using curse words as emphasis, understanding the context in which the words are used (for example, "hell" being used to both describe the place and to curse someone), and simply expressing my disbelief that someone would let curse words turn them off from a song, even if the cursing is minimal.

My roommate also tried to sway me over with arguments like why artists can't find words to use as substitutes, why they feel they need to curse in the first place when they don't have to, asking if they feel the need to curse because their audience won't listen to them if they curse, and so on. Ultimately, it seemed that my roommate felt it was truly unnecessary for artists to curse in music. However, during this argument he rationalized why it is understandable in movies/TV (they represent the real world) and I tried equating curse words to racism (unsuccessfully). In the end, we ended up in a stalemate, with me just utterly surprised by my roommate's remarks because I was used to the people around me being fairly liberal, and the admission that my roommate does not lose respect for the artist, he just doesn't listen to them. We ended our conversation more than an hour after we started it, and we both went to bed after 2 a.m.

I chose this event because it is basically stichomythia. The debate itself was fast paced as I tend to talk very fast when I am debating a subject I feel strongly about. Neither one of us did anything to break this tension (leaving the room, doing our homework, etc.). While it was frustrating to talk to a "brick wall" (for both of us), we ended up feeling good and invigorated as our intellect and values got a workout. We each revealed something about ourselves and I felt that this could translate well to a theatrical scene. Also, I used different names in the scene.

Actual Scene


Allan, a college freshman
Jon, a college freshman and Allan's roommate

Scene: It is very late on Martin Luther King night. The setting is Allan and Jon's dorm room. On one wall are their two desks and a wardrobe. On the wardrobe is a small white TV with an antenna. On the other wall, there are two bunk beds, each with a different sheet set.

As the scene opens, Allan and Jon are both working at their desks working on homework. Occasionally, they both glance at the TV in the midst of their work. The TV is on and faint TV noises can be heard.

Jon (to Allan, who is looking at the TV): What are they talking about today?

Allan: They're talking about African-Americans and if they have really advanced since Dr. King was around. (looks at the TV and after a long pause starts talking again) I can't believe this. (annoyed) They always generalize hip-hop. (turns to Jon) It seems like every time hip-hop is mentioned, they only focus on the so-called (makes quotes hand gesture) "gangsta" rap. Even then when someone mentions positive hip-hop, they always mention the same people. (Allan turns back to the TV and after a pause starts up again) (annoyed) Oh, come on!

Jon (turns to look at the TV): What?

Allan: One of the people said that if they saw a child with a rap CD, they would confiscate it from the child. I can see if it had a parental advisory, but even CD's with parental advisories on them can be positive. If they listened to the CD, then they could stop generalizing and know whether or not the music helps or hurts the black community.

Jon: I can understand why they would do that.

Allan (pretending like he didn't hear Jon): Excuse me?

Jon: If the artist wanted to get their message across, why did they have to curse?

Allan (turned and looking directly at Jon): What are you saying?

Jon: I'm just saying that if they wanted everyone to hear their message, they wouldn't curse. I know I wouldn't listen to them if they did.

Allan (puzzled): Wait, wait, wait. I know you don't personally curse, but you wouldn't listen to someone's music just because they were using curse words?

Jon: Yep.

Allan (half-laughing): Honestly that is the most ridiculous thing I've ever heard.

Jon: Well, if they wanted everyone to listen to it, they wouldn't curse. Besides, what reasons do they have to curse? (As Allan is about to talk again, Jon leaves his desk and climbs to the top bunk. Allan has completely turned his chair around by this time, with the back of the chair facing the desk.)

Allan (more annoyed): For one thing, it is used as emphasis. Like in that Mos Def song, "New World Water." The song's about the world and how we all use and need water and in one part he says "You need a bunch of evian just to take a f*cking bath." He put the curse word there to emphasize the seriousness of the statement. If he said (fast and mockingly) "You need a bunch of evian just to take a bath," (returns to annoyed pace) the seriousness and urgency of what he is saying is not as well communicated as "You need a bunch of evian just to take a f-ing bath."

Jon: I understand where you're coming from but to me if he uses any curse word, I won't listen to it.

Allan: You see, you have to disregard the curse words and listen for the deeper message. It's all about context. There shouldn't be a problem with the word as long as you know what the context of it is. For example, if I say (drawn out) son of a b, that means that I'm mad about something but if I say to someone, you are an evil son of a b, I am using it as a curse word. I am literally insulting the man by calling him that. But I could also use curse words and not curse someone.

Jon (a little more annoyed): No matter how they use them, they are still using curse words. If someone went up to you and said the n-word, would you get mad?

Allan (pauses for a few seconds, kind of caught off guard): Well, umm, I would have to not jump to conclusions and stop and think about the situation. How is he using it? Whites are into hip-hop right now, hip-hop artists use it, they emulate the artists, etc. Okay, I'd have to take the situation into account and realize whether or not they were using it harmlessly or harmfully. So, depending on the situation I would or would not get mad. Nonetheless, I wouldn't let that word offend me right away.

Jon: Uh-huh.

Allan: Just like I would not let the n-word keep me from being friends with someone, you shouldn't let a curse word keep you away from good music.

Jon (annoyed): I'm trying to tell you that if I don't like curse words and don't want to listen to them I don't have to! It's not my job to dig through and find the message, it's their job to direct it at me, it they want me to hear it.

Allan (sarcastically): Oh, okay. You want everything spelled out for you? So, instead of your mom or dad dropping a hint saying, "You should clean your room," you want them to say (slowly) "Clean your room." All great art, my bad, most great art is great because it doesn't put the message readily out there, you have to interpret it. Huck Finn and Uncle Tom's Cabin are both anti-slavery novels. Which one is considered greater…Huck Finn where the message is spelled out via satire or Uncle Tom's Cabin where it's completely on the surface?

Jon (slightly frustrated): You don't seem to understand what I'm talking about. I will not listen to the music if it has cursing in it. Cursing disgusts me and I cringe every time I have to hear it.

Allan: What about movies or TV? How do you go see PG-13 or R rated movies if you can't stand hearing cursing?

Jon: I can understand cursing in movies better than I can understand it in music because at least the movies try to represent the real world, and in the real world people curse.

Allan: And music doesn't represent the real world?

Jon: In music, you can get your point across without using curse words.

Allan: Hell, you can use anything to get your point across, and sometimes how someone uses it can make the best artists. For example, Natural Born Killers. Every politician lambasted when it came out talking about it was a symbol of Hollywood going too far and most of them didn't even see the movie. If they saw it, they would know that it's a satire and that it uses lots of violence to illustrate America's fascination with violence and violent people. That kind of thing where people criticize without even seeing or hearing something really just annoys the crap out of me.

Jon: I'm not trying to say that the artist's music isn't good but if it has cursing on it, I won't listen to it.

Allan: One question…do you even have a CD with cursing on it?

Jon: Yep. (Jon jumps down from the top bunk and walks over to his desk. He pulls out a CD and gives it to Allan)

Allan: Nothing to Lose Soundtrack.

Jon: Every time I put in that CD, I only listen to two songs then I turn it off.

Allan: Okay, what about a song you like with cursing on it. (Jon pulls out another CD and hands it to Allan) Billy Joel?

Jon: Number 10. I love that song but I don't listen to it much because I don't like some of the language. (Allan hands him back both CD's)

Allan: That's still unbelievable to me that you wouldn't listen to music with cursing on it. As long as you don't downgrade the artist for cursing or anything like that…

Jon: I'm not going to think less of the artist, you, or our suitemates if you guys curse.

Allan (half-laughing): Not like Michael and Oscar, huh?

Jon (half-laughing): If you cursed like they do, I don't think I could stand it.

Allan: They curse way too much, anyway. But, it looks like we are just split down the middle, a Civil War North versus South style split. I understand exactly where you are coming from but personally I feel the complete opposite. Whenever I hear stuff like what you said, it makes me think that someone who can't listen past a couple of words is a little closed-minded. But hey, it's not like the majority of people feel the way I feel anyway. The top selling albums of 1999 were the Backstreet Boys, Britney Spears, Ricky Martin, and Shania Twain, none of whom curse. Despite the fact that hip-hop albums with parental advisories debut at number one, albums with no cursing sell better.

Jon: I wonder if Lauryn Hill would have won so many Grammies if she cursed.

Allan: Honestly, she probably wouldn't have, but oh well. (glances at clock). Holy crap, it's 2:30! I have a paper to finish that's due tomorrow! (turns back around to desk)

Jon: I better get back to work too.

Allan: Man, it's going to be hard waking up in the morning tomorrow.

Jon: Now, I feel guilty because I'm almost finished and you got three or four pages to write.

Allan: That's all right, I'm used to staying up late and waking up early.



In turning the event into a theatrical scene, I found that some things just don't play well. The main example is in how short the scene is in itself. In reality, this conversation was about an hour and a half long. However, in theater, a concept can be portrayed accurately in a shorter time. "Art" read very quickly for me because of all the dialogue. It seemed not to be a long play, but it reveals so much within its dialogue and fairly short length. The play couldn't be any longer or any shorter to get its point across.

I also realized that because of this ability to reveal concepts quickly that many things needed to be edited from the scene. For example, during the conversation my roommate said a remark along the lines of: "I don't like curse words, I want to avoid curse words, I don't listen to curse words." In my rebuttal I said: "You could easily say 'I don't like blacks, I want to avoid blacks, and therefore I will stay away from blacks." I felt in writing this scene that any types of racial overtones should be subtle, as the argument itself does not actually involve race. I also tried to tighten up the conversation. When my roommate and I discussed, sometimes there were pauses (especially when I needed to think of a rebuttal) so I got rid of many actual pauses in favor of smooth, quick dialogue. This scene could not be played with long pauses and lots of repetition (otherwise it would be boring) so tightening up the conversation was a good thing.

Another thing I realized was how much I would have to paraphrase. I tried to use as much of the real words that my roommate and I used, but I forgot a lot of it and some of it was inappropriate for a class assignment. I may have stretched the limits by actually using curse words (edited and not) in it. Yet in the real conversation, I used many examples of cursing to try to prove my point. If I were a better writer, I could have not used any curse words and make a reference to the actual subject matter. One thing this scene lacks is action. I couldn't think of a way to put action into this scene other than what is portrayed. I thought about placing the scene in a public place instead of the dorm room, but the TV in the dorm room is the way the topic is brought up. Besides, how could I get away with the characters cursing in a public place? How could they argue loudly in someplace like Norris? This is why I decided to keep them in the dorm, just the way it happened with my roommate and I.

In the end, writing this scene was a good experience, as was the actual debate between my roommate and I. We have no animosity towards each other and it was a way to find out our beliefs, similarities, and differences. We differ in a good amount of ways. In fact, we find out these things in discussions similar to the one used for this scene (but they are often shorter). This scene tested my ability to write a version of something real, as out of the stories I have written or attempted to write, none of them were based on anything real or dealing directly with me. It is as much of a challenge to bring something real to life on stage or on paper, as it is to bring something completely fictional on stage or on paper. After all, some of the best stories ever written really happened.

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Tuesday, April 12, 2005

Poetry: "Never"

Well, I found the computer copy of this poem. Both this poem and the previously posted one were in a weirdly named file where I first typed them. Anyway, this is another short, probably crappy poem. This one also appeared in that literary magazine to fill up space. Enjoy!


Copyright 2001 by Sterling Fisher

Never thought I'd see you like this
Lying on the ground.
Red and blue lights everywhere
People all around.
Never dreamed this could happen
But all the time I would dread
Seeing you gunned down
And realizing you're dead.

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Wednesday, April 06, 2005

Poetry: "Nightmare Inside A Dream"

This is one of two poems I have ever written in my entire life. When I was a freshman in college, I tried restarting the school's black literary magazine. With the help of a few people, we just managed to put out one issue that was padded with works by the staff. To help increase the page count of the magazine, I quickly wrote two poems. The reason why I won't be posting the other one is because I found out I don't have it in a computer format (I guess I lost that file). I will have to look through the unsold copies of the magazine I have to find it. I'll post it at a later date.

I have never been much of a poet so I can say that this poem is probably crap. However, I guess you can judge for yourself.

Nightmare Inside A Dream
Copyright 2001 by Sterling Fisher

I dreamed I dreamed a nightmare.
A nightmare inside a dream.
And everything good and bad
Was somewhere in between.
Everything is not black and white
As it would seem.
When you dream you dreamed a nightmare.
A nightmare inside a dream.

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