False Binary, False Victories: Drafting and Revising as Partner Process

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Monday, July 21st, 2014 | 2,229 views

Writing about writing process is hard to do without making some broad generalizations riddled with exceptions, so let’s get the first out of the way now: there are two types of writers, those who love to draft, and those who love to revise.

It’s clear which camp has claimed me. I’m messy by nature, born with a high tolerance for stacks of teetering books on the floor, scraps of fabric and sequins piled in the corner, overstuffed bulletin boards with layers upon layers of postcards, photographs, ticket stubs. Not quite a hoarder, but hoard-ish—and the same goes for my drafts.

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The Internet: Not Just for Porn

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Tuesday, July 1st, 2014 | 1,886 views

Melissa Adamo attempts to navigate the internet

My relationship with technology could be a romantic comedy—with blogs starring as that guy right under my nose, the guy who’s so perfect for me in his imperfection, so stellar with his boyish charm and manly good looks. Like any good romcom, let’s start with images of my past as the opening credits roll, so you can understand all future plot points:

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A Case for Comedy

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Monday, April 21st, 2014 | 2,729 views

An art form that correlates well with poetry is standup comedy. Such connections are not often made in classrooms or seen on TV classrooms. In my courses, I reference movies or shows in order to connect the more “popular” examples to assigned short stories. Such comparisons are obvious and in no way novel since all of these forms use character and plot. When teaching poetry, many instructors typically compare poetic verse to song lyrics, and I do this, too. Who can’t think of at least one example of the English teacher rapping Shakespeare? (I do not do this). Although this comparison works on many levels, music still, well, uses music: a creation of melodies through instruments, whereas poetry only relies on its words to create tone, cadence, and rhythm—no other sounds accompany it. Thus, the art of standup translates more easily to poetry.

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The War of the Words

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Tuesday, April 15th, 2014 | 2,357 views


In one of his classic comedy bits, George Carlin opines that the U.S. is a nation inherently obsessed with war to the degree that we have prescribed it as the cure for everything. We have declared, in the past 60 years, a war on drugs, a war on poverty, a war on cancer, and a war on terror, among others. All problems are seen as conflicts, a collective pitted against some threatening other. Often the other is conveniently difficult to identify or locate. Nevertheless there is a threat and the only response is to do battle with that threat. This ultimate fighting champion mindset seems, like cat hair, to cling to every metaphorical article of clothing in our walk-in closet.

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A Tale of Teaching and Writing (in Parentheticals)

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Monday, April 14th, 2014 | 1,784 views

Remember what you’re here for, my professors repeated during my two years enrolled in the Rutgers-Newark MFA program. Do not permit teaching responsibilities to interfere with writing, they would say. Their words echoed in my adjunct office, bouncing back and forth between concrete walls (there were no windows; it looked like a glorious prison cell). I felt as if I was hiding a shameful secret when I nodded along to their sage words. But here it is in print now: I felt as passionately about teaching as I did about writing, and on many occasions (please don’t tell them), I did let teaching trump writing; I was still learning the program’s requirements and the students’ abilities (or lack thereof) as well as my own (or lack thereof works here, too). I felt I was there for both (like the true rebel that I am).

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Contradictions in the American Dream from a First-Generation American Writer

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Monday, April 7th, 2014 | 2,250 views

My grandfather, Luigino Adamo, sold most of what he had in the summer of 1957 to buy four one way tickets for a boat to America. He landed with only the Italian language and a fifth grade education. Born in the southern Italian farming town of San Mango D’Aquino, Calabria, his first destination was a relative’s farm in Pennsylvania. After working with them for three months without seeing financial results, Luigino took his family to Brooklyn and set about finding work. As an uneducated laborer, his options revolved around factory work, plumber assistantships, and gardener positions. He worked, saved, and looked toward his future. By 1958, he acquired a part-time, seasonal job in a cemetery that would eventually turn into a full-time gravedigger position and then a heavy equipment operator.

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Subway School

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Monday, January 13th, 2014 | 1,914 views

When two guys walk through the door of the Q train with ‘80s boom boxes, I avoid eye contact: I look at my phone (I don’t text), I browse my Kindle (I don’t read), I put in my headphones (I don’t turn on the volume). I do all of this, not because I hate watching […]

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The Problem with HIV-Prevention

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Monday, December 2nd, 2013 | 1,663 views

In the semester before entering Grad School, I worked as a youth mentor for an HIV/AIDS organization in downtown New York City. This position required outreach, fieldwork, knowledge, and comfort within queer communities of color, as well as group facilitation (all of which were within my wheelhouse). The organization’s mission was one I could easily […]

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