Sunday, February 27, 2011

What do you do with a BA in English?

One of my all-time favorite musicals is Avenue Q (now off Broadway at the New World Stages), it's dirty, it's raunchy, it's filthy and it's funny... not to mention that I swear the writers were predicting my future when they wrote in the character of Kate Monster (kindergarten assistant teacher, with a big heart, huge dreams, and the treasures of love and heartbreak).

Anyway, Princeton arrives on Avenue Q, a broke college kid who has...
a BA in English. 
(NB: While I don't have a BA in English, let's just pretend, for arguments sake that I do, since I was only 6 credits away from a major in English.)

Princeton asks, "What do you do with a BA in English?" a question I'm sure many, many college grads have pondered.  In fact, I pondered in my writing journal for one of my Master's classes... and came up with this:
a) You do nothing.  You either live in your parent's basement, or in a cardboard box on the side of the street.
b) You major in something else, something more... practical. Like education.  Or business.  Or anything-except-for-fine-art-dramatic-arts-dance-etc.
c) You become a puppet and move to Avenue Q.
d) You find all the fun things you've written while you were in some kind of an English class or writing class and use them to pad your blog that you haven't written in since the end of January.

Henceforth, the next three entries of things I have written for school, or for me.  Some have been published.  Some have not.  Perhaps some day you will be flipping through some book in Barnes and Noble and say, "oh, hey, I've read this before...where? OH RIGHT on Kathryn's blog!!".
Or not. A girl can dream, can't she?

Part 1: The 20 minute story.

The following was an assignment for my creative writing class I took as an undergrad.  We had to time ourselves, 20 minutes, and just write.  Then repeat, and repeat again, so that we were writing for a solid 60 minutes.

This is what came out on the first shot.  I later submitted it to the literary magazine at Iona and caused a big ruckus- apparently some people didn't think it was "Mission Consistent".  Luckily the literary magazine had some awesome editors who fought against those naysayers, citing freedom of speech and creative freedom.

*Thank you to my AMAZING friend S who saves everything, including my 20 page story that I have since lost due to many a failed hardrive.  She gets all the kudos for reading the crazy things I write, too! *


She pulled the covers over her head and snuggled back down into the abyss of blankets.  “Mmm…” she murmured, folding herself back against his warm body. The air in their apartment was bitterly cold. The sun was barely up, and she had no desire to crawl out of her safe space and into the shower which was sure to be uncomfortably cool. She felt his arms tighten around her waist. She giggled and her toes curled. She was definitely not getting out of bed. She felt his warm, soft lips leaving a trail of little kisses against her collarbone. She had thought they had promised not to do this again. Being late for work again was not an option. She sighed again and stretched her thin frame as tall as she could.

Wrapping her hands behind his head she pulled him in close and kissed him. She kissed him hard and long and felt herself melting the way she always did when he was with her. She felt him gently lift her hips up so he could slide in between her and the sheets. She giggled and pressed her body against the marvelous boy that was in bed with her. 

“Stop thinking… just give in for once.” His deep, raw, powerful voice sent chills up her spine. She pressed her fingers into his back and looked him dead in the eye. Her eyes sparkled with an intensity that only his love could bring to her. Desperate passion filled every ounce of her body. Their morning love making was her favorite. They were well rested and already warm. There was no “warming up” needed.

Her breaths were heavier, more labored as their bodies twisted together, rhythmically, perfectly, stretching and turning and falling until they were one. One whole, perfect human creature so desperately and so passionately in the throes of love that nothing could stop them. She never wanted this part to stop. Their breathing quickened and she forced herself to take deep breaths. Her heart raced and her body felt like electricity was coursing through reaching every toe and finger and nerve. They collapsed together, a feat that had taken months of practice.  She smiled and looked up at the perfect man on top of her. He brushed a stray strand of hair out of her eyes and kissed her forehead. He kissed her eyes and cheeks and ears and the tip of her nose. And then he kissed her lips, perfectly soft and full of emotion. She wished he could read her mind right now. She wanted him to see the electric colors that jumped and danced and swirled like magic when she closed her eyes. She broke their gaze for a second to steal a glance of her alarm clock. She didn’t want to go to work. She wrapped her arms around his neck and whispered softly to him, barely loud enough for him to hear.

“I love you.”


This work is licensed under the Creative Commons License. This work may be reproduced with permission from the author, and you may not alter, transform, or build upon this work. Any use of this work must be attributed to the author, Kathryn Malara.  The above text is original work and is protected as such.

Part 2: The waking up in the middle of the night to write piece

I wrote this piece at 4am back in September of 2009... I woke up in the middle of the night, grabbed the closest notebook and wrote, then went right back to sleep.  Upon waking up the next morning I was left with this gem, which was published in Kaleidoscope (Iona's literary magazine).  

Night Wish

A very subtle sadness kept your body pressed against mine that night. Perhaps it was because we fit together like two very small and intricate puzzle pieces; perhaps because we both weren't ready to face that bittersweet sadness sure to consume ourselves the second our lips parted. I'd give anything to feel that kiss again. That sweet, slow, soft, sensuous kiss that grabbed my soul and made me wish there was a way to never let go. Everything about it was perfect, from the way our bodies were threaded together, a tangle of arms and legs and naked flesh, to the way your lips felt perfect against mine, to the way our tongues met, sliding and playing between our lips. We both knew it was the last kiss, and you, like I, did everything to fight time and steal every breathtaking second of a former flaming love, so briefly rekindled it almost burned. And in some ways I wish it had burned, so that I could carry your mark upon my soul with me, forever.


This work is licensed under the Creative Commons License. This work may be reproduced with permission from the author, and you may not alter, transform, or build upon this work. Any use of this work must be attributed to the author, Kathryn Malara.  The above text is original work and is protected as such.

Part 3: Narrative, the Beginning.

My third entry in the "What do you do with a BA in English?" series is the first page of my personal narrative, currently being written for my Methods of Writing course at Hunter.  This piece is part of a much larger memoir, but only this first part will be featured here... at least until I finish it, or feel comfortable sharing the rest.


So this? This is what happily ever after looks like.  It’s that electric excitement that you can feel in the tips of your fingers, that makes you wish you could bottle this moment up and keep it in a glass jar for the rest of your life.  These are the moments I wish I could look at forever, gazing out at a sea of mortarboards and tassels, looking over my right shoulder to see my family beaming back at me, while everyone pretends they are concentrating on the dignified college officials and professors sitting on the stage.  I’m bordering on giddy excitement, laughing and crying and cheering and I’m practically in complete disbelief- is this it?  This is the end of college?  Is this genuinely happy, perfect moment about to signify the end of the best four years of my life?  The second I move my tassel, does that mean that my time at the only school I’ve ever been proud of has come to an end?  There’s another flash of disbelief, and one of fear... will anyone remember what I’ve done here?  Who I started as, and who I am leaving as?  Now there’s a frightening thought.

Amongst all this joy and elation the very small child inside of me is scared of that big, bad, jobless world out there.  This rather sinking sense of disbelief distracts me momentarily, and in my mind’s eye I can see the last four years literally flash by in a whirlwind blur... I can see the jaded, sarcastic, spiteful little girl crying in the car on the way to orientation (that I didn't want to go to), crying in the car on the way to move in (even though I refused to do such a ridiculous thing), crying when my mom left (the thought still brings stinging tears to my eyes), crying with my roommate (who ended up becoming my best friend), very slowly finding my niche, joining club (after club, after club, after club...), moving out, moving in, moving out, signing a lease, living with a roommate (whom I sometimes wanted to strangle)... Falling in love, losing my dad, getting sick, falling more in love, abruptly being dumped out of love, finding the friends that I will spend the rest of my life with, spending every one of the last sixteen days of college laughing, crying, partying, and staying up all night...

They’ve all brought me here, to this theatre with its pretty lights and illustrious grandeur, so that I can hear my name called out, summa cum laude, shake hands with Brother Liguori,  and know that I have made my mark on this world, that I have made a difference.  But most importantly?  I have found me. And for that, I’ll let the tears of happiness run down my cheeks (thank goodness for waterproof mascara).


This work is licensed under the Creative Commons License. This work may be reproduced with permission from the author, and you may not alter, transform, or build upon this work. Any use of this work must be attributed to the author, Kathryn Malara.  The above text is original work and is protected as such.