Creativity Corner

All About the Arts

Travelogues

By Maria Moss

What exact­ly is a trav­el­ogue? Or, asked dif­fer­ent­ly, what is it not? A trav­el­ogue is not an adver­tise­ment that tries to sell spe­cif­ic des­ti­na­tions to its read­ers. A trav­el­ogue is not a guide­book with a list of the top 10 best restau­rants or mas­sage places. Rather, a trav­el­ogue is a cre­ative nar­ra­tive of someone’s expe­ri­ences while traveling.

Trav­el­ogues focus on and cel­e­brate the dif­fer­ences in tra­di­tions and cus­toms around the world; very often, they’re con­ver­sa­tion­al in tone and filled with fun­ny details (see, for instance, Bill Bryson’s Sto­ries from a Small Island). Good trav­el­ogues con­tain vivid descrip­tions and sen­so­ry details; unex­pect­ed, maybe even trans­for­ma­tive expe­ri­ences; and accounts of inter­ac­tions with local peo­ple. Trav­el­ogues can also com­bine fic­tion­al and fac­tu­al ele­ments, as one of the great­est trav­el writ­ers, Bruce Chatwin (1940–1989), beau­ti­ful­ly demon­strat­ed (e.g. the sto­ries deal­ing with his trip to Aus­tralia, The Song­lines). Fic­tion­al or non-fic­tion­al, fun­ny or not – above all, a trav­el­ogue must tell a story.

The fol­low­ing two trav­el­ogues, writ­ten by cre­ative writ­ing stu­dents in the fall semes­ter 2022/23, each tell a sto­ry. One takes place in the Ecuadore­an rain­for­est, the oth­er in Venice.

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A Nude Dance

By Rizwan Wazir

New Year’s Eve is prac­ti­cal­ly upon us once again. Do you always feel guilty for being lazy and not ‘hav­ing fun’ on all the ‘impor­tant’ occa­sions? If so, then instead of curs­ing your­self or the uni­verse for your lone­li­ness, you can choose to be at peace. Instead of scrolling through the Insta­gram feeds of your friends, you can scroll through your own life his­to­ry. Here is a recipe that will make the night one to remem­ber, even if you’re all alone:

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“My Name” – Vignettes about You

By Maria Moss

Vignettes are won­der­ful! Some­times described as a slice of life, vignettes can be so short that they take away the fear of end­ing up with a white page. Unlike a short sto­ry, there’s no defined begin­ning, mid­dle, or end with a cast of char­ac­ters, mul­ti­ple con­flicts, and the ulti­mate res­o­lu­tion phase. Instead, the vignette’s impres­sion­is­tic scenes focus on one moment or give a par­tic­u­lar insight into one char­ac­ter, idea, or setting.

The Mex­i­can Amer­i­can author San­dra Cis­neros is the unchal­lenged queen of vignette writ­ing, and her col­lec­tion of 44 vignettes,  (1984) is a must read.

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Iron Curtain, Please

By Michael Lederer

One man’s trash is another’s treasure.

Vladimir the Small, as his­to­ry is sure to remem­ber him, has pulled the iron cur­tain off the trash pile and ordered it rehung. His secu­ri­ty blan­ket. Thir­ty years exposed to West­ern ideas of choice – enough of that. Obe­di­ence or destruc­tion, enough choice for his people.

The good old days.

Pho­to Cred­it: The Fall of the Berlin Wall, 1989

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