Department of Human Resources

“Sensitivity Workshop” 

by Curtis Pierce

Short Story Submission:  “Rover Run” by Alice Johnson

See Rover.

See Rover run.

See Rover run on the road.

See Rover almost get run over.


Critique (by fellow student writer):


I really enjoyed your story.  I was particularly impressed by the exclusive use of present tense.   I have rarely seen short stories written entirely in one tense. It was a brave choice, but you pulled it off.  The uncompromising use of present tense created a compelling sense of immediacy.  Bravo.

I also found your combined use of alliteration and repetition extremely effective.  If the piece were read aloud, it would read very well.

I am totally intrigued by Rover.  I’d like to know more about him.   Who is he?  (Or she?) And why is he running?  Is he running away from something?  If so, what?

You may want to consider providing a few more details while still allowing the reader to fill in the gaps.

The close call at the end was thought provoking.

Nice job.  Well done.  Thanks for sharing.

“So You Wanna Be A Cult Leader”

by Annah Feinberg

Having trouble finding work in this tough economic environment? Not sure what to do with that BA in Performance Studies? In sixteen easy steps, you too can become a cult leader and manipulate people out of their hard earned money and common sense and money.

  1.  Read a science book. Not for meaning, but for keywords. Learn words like “energy”, “DNA”, and “evolution”, but don’t waste your time learning about what they actually mean. Make sure you drop them into every fifth sentence to remind your future followers of your authority.
  2.  Be attractive and white so you can use the unconscious power biases of your future followers to your advantage. But also be a woman so you can use your ingrained persecution to empathize with others.
  3.  Set up a green screen in your living room, and put it right behind the chair you like to sit in. This way, you can make videos of your tirades in your living room, but it will look like you are sitting by a waterfall. Your Bed-Stuy studio will become a mystic forest in a few quick clicks!
  4.  Have mysterious tattoos in visible places. They should look like some combination of East Asian and Egyptian typography but be neither. The middle of the forearm is a good location because no one expects it. Behind an ear is good to because it seems like a secret. When someone asks you want they mean, make sure your answer has something to do with humanity’s place in the cosmos.
  5.  Have been obese once, but don’t be obese anymore. ‘Before’ photos are a plus, as physical tranformation very well may be your only evidence.
  6.  Be at least a little turned on at all times. Make as many people as possible believe you want to have sex with them but never have it with anyone. Carry a vibrator with you in case you need an extra boost. They make them very small these days.
  7.  Find the people who are the most lost. Your performance studies degree will be useful in this regard, as they can often be found in fledgling theater troupes or writing screenplays your favorite Los Angeles Coffee Bean and Tea Leaf.
  8.  Pry on them. Convince them to move to North Dakota to start a collaborative wellness podcast. Help them get a job at the local Whole Foods to help pay the bills so they owe you a favor.
  9.  Purchase a floppy garment. A kimono or toga will do. You may even be able to make one from a bed sheet if you’re crafty.
  10.  Have a place to put blame. Aliens work well – anything beyond current human understanding.
  11.  Create an LLC. A business manager will help you with this if he or she thinks sex might occur. Create a website with a teal and purple color scheme and an outer space theme. A web designer will help you with this if he or she thinks sex might occur.
  12.  Have a legal disclaimer on your website. A lawyer will help you with this for the reason stated above. Be sure it relieves you of all consequences of your words and actions.
  13.  Change your name. Something that sounds a little bit Native American and a little bit Martian. Inanimate objects, colors, and forest creatures are a good place to start your brainstorming.
  14.  Proclaim that the world is very bad, and therefore, through absolutely no logical thread of reasoning, you are very good.
  15.  Have all of the answers to all of the questions.
  16.  Go forth. Prosper. Convert. Make a few bucks and buy a hot tub.

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