Friday, July 31, 2009

Tickets on sale for summer theater production

{From left foreground} Jenna Hobbs (Erna), Chris Mullin (Henry), Ashley Beatty (Rose), Jay River (Bo) and Jill Thompson (KC) rehearse a scene from A Hotel on Marvin Gardens. The OU-C theater program will present the two-act play at 8 p.m. on both Aug. 21 and Aug. 22 in the Bennett Hall auditorium. (The dates are changed from the original Aug 14 and 15 dates). Tickets for the play are $10 for adults, $9 for seniors, $8 for groups of six or more and free for all students. Tickets are available at the Bennett Hall Information Desk during business hours and at the OU-C Box Office the evenings of performances.

Wednesday, July 29, 2009

Missteps become basis for winning entry in Writing Center spring contest

Everyone has had a few horrible days in which unfortunate events seem to keep rushing over them like the waves of the ocean. For Sarah Cook, Ohio University-Chillicothe senior, her ability to put the events of one disaster of a day on paper won her first place in the Writing Center’s spring writing contest.
“Never would I have guessed that this Monday would be different—beginning with a woman charging like a bull, side-stepping the derelicts of society to a downtrodden woman versus the pavement, “ wrote Cook in “Monday’s Misstep,” a short non-fiction comedy.
One of the judges for the writing contest wrote, "It's well written, humorous, a slice of real life, [and] one of a thousand vignettes of anyone's day [. . .] I love the subtle cynicism."
OU-C’s Writing Center sponsored the contest each quarter of the past year with a winning prize of a $75 gas card. The spring theme was LMAO: Writing with Humor. The title of the contest was meant to be both provocative and open to interpretation. The contest was open to all OU-C students and all genres of writing were welcome. The work could be fiction or non-fiction with a maximum of 1,200 words. The spring quarter judges read six to 12 submissions of both traditional and creative media.
“We want to emphasize writing on campus beyond the classroom and the contest certainly does just that,’ said Debra Nickles, writing center coordinator.
Cook, a middle education major with a concentration in ELA and social studies, has worked as a legal secretary and office manager for four years. Her experience around the office serves as the basis of her comedic story.
“I pulled into a spot right next to a PT Cruiser with fake bullet hole stickers plastered all over it. Oh yes, that car belongs to one of the clerks that I deal with. Classy, no?” wrote Cook.
With vivid character descriptions and distinct word selection, Cook’s writing has the qualities of someone who has had an extensive writing background. However, this story is Cook’s first comedy. The majority of her experience comes from academic writings such as research papers and personal narratives.
“Monday’s Misstep” was originally crafted as an assignment for a class. After her family provided positive feedback on the story, Cook decided to enter it in the writing contest.
“It never hurts to try right?” she said.
What may hurt however, are the memories of personal humiliation Cook’s story may invoke for readers.
“I saw the pavement coming towards me fast. I caught a glimpse of the contents of my purse flying through the air. My cell phone was hurled into the street,” wrote Cook. “My peripheral vision saw them. There they were: bystanders, onlookers, spectators, witnesses.”
After several years in the workforce and living in several locations around the country, Cook returned to college during a period of unemployment. She hopes to become a teacher who has an effect on the lives she touches.
“I aspire to be the educator that is remembered not only for teaching, but doing so in a manner that remains with you long after graduation. Everyone should have the opportunity to have that one teacher they will never forget” said Cook.
“The courses and services offered at Ohio University-Chillicothe give me the opportunity to chase this dream while being a single mother” said Cook. “And opportunities like the ones presented by the Writing Center give students the chance to be recognized for the many talents we all have to offer.”
While she has not had formal writing training, Cook says faculty members at OU-C have helped prepare and challenge her throughout her educational journey.
“I do want to give some credit to my university professors Dr. Kathleen Davies for always encouraging me; to Dr. Vena Kasbekar for pushing me for my best work; and Dr. Jan Schmittauer for being so enthusiastic and supportive of my efforts in her classes.
In addition to being a full-time parent, student and now budding author, Cook works as a part-time tutor in the Writing Center, a part of the Learning Commons in the Stevenson Center. Cook credits improvement in her own writing to the time she has spend at the Writing Center working with other talented and developing writers in the OU-C community. Also Cook explains that the ever-present encouragement and assistance from Nickles has helped her grow into the writer she has become.
“Sarah has a tremendous work ethic and a terrific amount of energy that supports the valuable work we are doing here with all types of student writing,” said Nickles. “Sarah is a favored tutor here because of her relaxed, yet motivated, personality and she simply draws in people with her effective tutoring. We are certainly lucky to have her.”
In addition to building a community of writers on the OU-C campus, Nickles explains that a community has developed among the Writing Center tutors themselves.
“We now have a poetry binder for tutors to explore each other's writing, and I've seen more writing on our blog ( Being emerged in writing themselves, tutors are then more likely to tutor reflectively.”
Plans for continuing the contest during the 2009-2010 academic year are still being discussed.
In the photo, Sarah Cook is shown with OU-C Dean Richard Bebee