Monday, January 14, 2013

Riddle-Writing, Resumes, and Rewards


The background: A long long time ago... in a state very very far away.... (i.e. my very first semester of college) I enrolled in a weekly seminar aptly named "Writing Poetry 1" that was co-taught by a former US poet laureate and another old white professor, whom I will call Prof.Ass. I wrote a ton during high school but never poetry, so I was more than a little nervous going in.

After the first few weeks of niceties, Prof.Ass. became something of a, well, ass. We're talking straight up telling one girl that the subject she chose was unworthy of poetry and so we wouldn't be reading her poem that week (yup, still remember that DK...). He knew what he liked (Frost mostly), and everything else wasn't poetry. Prof. PL was fairly quiet and much more civil but wasn't terribly impressed by anything I was writing.

Getting bored and a bit fed up with the absolutely terrible reviews Prof.Ass. was giving me, I kind of went out on a limb one week and wrote something much more abstract. I still vividly remember what I was trying to convey but apparently the message didn't come across. AT ALL. Without belaboring the point, I had to leave class for a good 15 minutes to go cry in the bathroom because of Prof.Ass's comments that week.

For the next class, I wrote a short poem about the murder scene left behind when curiosity killed the cat. I think both Prof's got the point and were courteously complimentary of it.

The riddles: In any case, that was the week I stopped caring and it was so unbelievably freeing. I could write whatever the hell I wanted! Heck, the Profs were actually pretty nice about my poem likening them to kitten murderers! So when Prof.Ass. mentioned one week that we could write a couple short riddles if we thought we could manage it, you bet your pants I took that as a challenge - one that would change my fate (or at least my resume and party trick repertoire).

I searched for topics, unhindered by what I thought the Profs would approve of (since apparently that was nothing). When my brother suggested a topic that I knew would make both old white male Profs blush, I immediately got to work. And I finished two more in record time.

Ironically, my riddles were some of the only ones the Profs were impressed by that day.

The resume: I've since written several more riddles, for "Writing Poetry 2" and for co-workers/friends. I put "riddle-writing" on my resume under the Skills and Interests section and have without fail been asked about it (and usually to recite one I've written) at every interview since. I honestly think it got me an internship the summer before my senior year.

Moral of the story: sometimes you just have to say F*CK IT and write borderline inappropriate riddles. Put silly things on your resume and you'll seem more interesting.

The rewards: And the moral of this post: I want to start writing poetry/riddles again. So.
1> I'm going to start posting one new riddle a month.
2> If you are the first to correctly guess the answer, you'll get a prize (to be announced with the riddle)!
3> Bonus: If you suggest an awesome topic and I go on to write a riddle on it, you also win a prize!

WIN! Look out for that first (inappropriate for elderly white men) riddle later this week!

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