Writing Samples

If you have a writing job that you think I’d be suited for I’d love to hear from you. My schedule varies in availability but I’m always excited for a new oppertunity.

The Following Samples are recent examples of my writing that unusually cross a variety of niches but please do not take this to mean that I do not specialise. Contact me for more information at emiainscough@gmail.com

Sport
Aesthetics Dialogue
Untitled

SPORT: Ice Hockey NHL game report 2019 

BLACKWOOD’S BACK CARRIES THE TEAM

Despite an embarrassing attempt by yesterday’s defence from the New Jersey Devils a stellar performance from Goaltender Mackenzie Blackwood held back the Montreal Canadiens on the scoreboard allowing Nico Hischier for the Devils to steal an over-time win.

Montreal Canadiens 1 1 0 0 2 New Jersey Devils 1 0 1 1 3

Regardless of the final score there wasn’t a lot in yesterday’s play to give Devils fans something to shout about. 5-on-5 stats and another classically underperforming defence was only too easy to batter through as it has been all season leaving watchers checking their screens that this was actually an NHL standard game.

So how is it that The New Jersey Devils managed to hold their own and steal a win despite that startling example of mediocracy? Well, in addition to the big-fat-slice of ‘luck’ involved with ice hockey that everyone loves to talk about, 2 impressive scores from New Jersey’s favourite Swiss professional Nico Hischier and invariably formidable goaltending from Mackenzie Blackwood reminded Devils fans that there’s definitely hope for the future with such promising young players.

As rightfully celebrated as Hischier is this season, I came away from yesterday’s game most inspired by our recently NHL debuted Blackwood in goal. With the size and track- record of the strong young goaltender it might not have come as a surprise to Devil’s fans to see him smash his 37 saves yesterday, including Joel Armia’s unlikely saved shot in overtime, but on a backdrop of the mood of the defence who frankly spent most of the game looking like they were ready to throw in the towel, Blackwood’s consistent performance lead to the outcome that the failures of the play were thankfully not reflected on the scoreboard.

Looking forward Devils fans should remember that constant attack and constant shooting back from Blackwood yesterday and think of New Jersey this season in terms of resilience. I’m excited to see the defence learn some lessons from this awkward time. I’m hoping that the Devils start taking their post-shot memento across periods, as I was surprised to see us drop after the last minute score in the first period yesterday, and I’m sure that our rising Swiss star will continue to surpass and impress.

DIALOGUE ON AESTHETICS

A professor and a student were walking in critical literary conversation on a warm evening in Moscow when a disciplinary uproar spilt from the Bolshoi theatre into the street and the young man, ahead of his elder, stopped to observe. An elderly lady was shouting at a  young danseur from the columns, sending him out of the theatre as he hobbled, sobbing, away into the street. “Slishkorn slabyy! Slishkorn slabyy!” her arms flailing frantically and her face red.

Abandoning his train of thought with the professor the student sat down on a stone step, watching the two diligently from across the street. 

“Grande Jeté rebenka, vy dolzhny byt’ sil’neye!” she stormed back into the theatre, leaving him there.

Trailing behind, the professor slowed his speech to a stop noticing the student noticing the danseur – looking from each to them both. The danceur was now sitting on the stone floor – weeping silently and inspecting his bony, bleeding feet. Noticing how the scene moved his student, the professor sat distantly beside him and lit a cigarette as a whole class of young dancers from the Bolshoi Ballet Academy dashed excitedly in cliques into the theatre, past the weeping boy.

Both men never moved their eyes from the scene as it played out in front of them, people leaving and entering this colossal homage to an acclaimed craft; a scene of economic, physically laborious and emotional devotion from which no illness, war or humanitarian crises would be solved. Across the road the boy’s red blotched face was no longer crying, he wiped his nose on his veiny, muscular arm and walked down the Petrovka street barefoot, leaving his shoes and a small black bag were he sat.

The thin wind blew as the younger spoke, “What is art then,” said the student, wide eyes saccading down the concrete, red footprint tainted street to the dwindling silhouette of the danseur in the distance. “that in its name so much is done?”

“An unanswerable question” replied the professor, “what do you mean when you say art?”

“I would tell you that which manifests beauty could I not predict you’d correct me on my vagueness” 

The professor stood up at this then, “I would not, if first you could make concrete for me what it is you mean by beauty,” The young man’s silence egged him to continue, “if not, let’s start with what is obvious – and from this add specification”

The young man also rose and the two crossed the road reflecting. As they reached the centre the young man confidently proposed “A stimulation of the senses,”

“Ahh, this is good. Now is the tree or the sound of the rain more specifically art than beauty?”

“I suppose you suggest we infer some labour?” and the professor nodded, “then I amend to this: a created stimulation of the senses,”

By this point the two had reached the entrance to the theatre. They stood outside a while deliberating, moving slightly as dancers entered and exited in some fevered haste.

“Surely it is not by these sole criteria that our canon is assessed?” The professor asked as he flicked the end of his Sobranie on his forefinger, tossing ash onto the floor. With his other hand he pointed; “is this art?”

Looking at the small heap on the concrete it had not fallen into ink-blot-esque ambiguity. It was very much a small pile of ash.

“No,” said the student, “I imagine that would not be included in whatever is meant by art,”

“Indeed,” the professor answered, “and this must first be an investigation into what is meant by art, since no else is accessible. We must decipher meaning and from it find and eliminate any contradiction,” and after this he dropped the filter un-squashed by his toe and walked into the foyer. The young man crouched at the smoking remanence for a moment, inspecting, before following his professor.

But the student, contemplating the ash in the wake of his inspection ran ahead of the professor to walk backwards and suggest something of controversy to his face. Proud of himself he corrected his earlier judgement, “Perhaps it is only not-art because we are told it is not art,”

But the elder sighed at this,

“No, no – hear me,” said the student, “ perhaps the word is only meaningful in terms of the status the critics and the academics of this made up field assign to it? Show me this pile in a gallery, and I will hold a mirror to you as you defend it into our cannon,”

Behind them, the soft wind blew the debris into the backdrop and the professor smiled at his student, “Although that may be a recognised misuse of the term, it doesn’t explain the authentic experience you and I both refer to in using the word,”

The student looked melancholy at the response, not willing to let go of his own treasured ideals. He slowed back behind the professor and contemplated. 

“It must have merit!” the student shouted ahead.

“and what do you mean by that?”

“merit?”

“yes,”

The young man thought for a moment, before stammering out; “a…positive quality,” then correcting himself, “positive isn’t the right word. A quality which is perceived to be…creating a stimulus which people feel is…well a good experience, well not good – beneficial,”

The elder summarised; “a created stimulation of the senses perceived to be beneficial by the observer?”

“Yes!” said the student, by which point the two had reached the door to the stage and stood looking in at a commencing rehearsal.

The two watched for a minute in silence before the professor spoke again, “and what is it that you mean by ‘beneficial’”

“I suppose I mean that which adds value, it’s something that people want,”

Intrigued, the professor pressed immediately, “The satisfaction of desire you propose?”

Looking onto the stage at the twirling bodies and feeling pleasure without any such desire the young man reflected upon his proposal. “Perhaps not,” he conceded. “Perhaps it is the absence of such – the pleasure without the want,”

The professor, defendant of some past literary experience, criticised this also, “But have you not once felt that feeling, in experiencing art, that is in fact desire without pleasure? When a passage is so agreeable to you that you wish to consume, to inhale it?”

“I have,” said the student.

“Then it must be so that the classification of ‘art’ is not contingent on either of these principles, but instead appeals to something else,” and the young man nodded.

An ethereal adagio on stage was bringing the elderly lady to tears in her seat in the centre of the empty audience. A single ballerina, moving like a clockwork twitch of emotional delicacy, arms blown up like the air was shocking her and each movement communicating something so tragic of truth.

“What about utility?” the student asked, examining the director’s face. “Perhaps art is also that which serves a purpose,”

“For example, I imagine, to feel?”

“Exactly.”

“When this ballet is performed for an audience, is it not so that this very scene will affect some people like it does this director, and to others elicit none such emotion?” asked the professor.

“I imagine so,”

“And if its purpose is to communicate feeling, to create this response – and it is, on some part, on the success of this that is deemed art, then won’t this divided response render it art in the cases of some and not art in the cases of others?”

The student nodded slowly, chewing his cheek walls as he pondered. “Of course making the notion of ‘art’ far more subjective than the artistic phenomena would imply –“

“And also, of course,” the professor interrupted him, “as soon as you introduce purposiveness, you thrust the identity of a piece of art (or not-art) inside of time, purpose, of course, preceding the fulfilment of that purpose – implying a kind of intent, intent of course being —“

They both trailed off in nodding agreement as to the dead end of the intentional fallacy.

And then it was the younger next first to speak, “I think perhaps it is only meaningful when first exploring what is art to sever the concept from its cause – namely the artist- and its effect – being us,”   

“Perhaps ‘meaningful’ was misspoken” said the professor, watching now as a blind ballerina was guided onto the stage in the dusty spotlight of the vacancy of air. “But certainly,” conceding, “that to place artistic identity contingent on any causal relationship is to weaken the integrity of that identity,”

The two men had turned around to begin walking away, backs now facing the blind ballerina, whose delicate pirouettes performed unperceived, even by the elderly director, who had dropped a stack of sheet music and now knelt to the floor to pick them up, contacts flitting in all the wrong directions.

“When did a Munch become a masterpiece?” said the young man dwarfing foreground to an unwitnessed show, “It’s a minefield.” and the rhetorical question thawed in the moving atmosphere as the two men walked back out towards the street.

Backlit by the beating glow of the Bolshoi as they came out of the theatre, the two silhouettes blended so effortlessly into the rest of the slowly darkening city. For a split second, the professor’s face lit up with the fire of his lighter, and then a pulsing orb of orange by his mouth whenever he inhaled. Flooded by the feeling of being, the young man’s eyes widened, pupils dilating to compensate for the world that itself had equally got wider. The Petrovka looked so strange and the people so elusive and it was there that the very unthinking nature of art struck the student.

“Mechanical corpses wouldn’t love like this, so why is it that we bleed?” he asked his professor. “Is it simply for the sake of bleeding?”

The older man took a drag he would gain no pleasure from and the student wanted nothing in the world.

“I think, Dimitri, all that can let out the red should do so,” the professor sighed. “We human beings, we artists- we bleed for we have blood to let. Or even suppose, perhaps we have blood so as to let something when we bleed,”

Leaving his professor, the student contemplated what he’d said through the alleyways of a world that did not repulse him, where the footprints of a young danseur had left deep red stains upon the concrete and the soft wind was moving him still.

UNTITLED

Do you have those people

That you’d go find if everything changed,

If the perimeters were broken if

Everybody just agreed

To stop living this way that we’d

Been agreeing to live –

And we were like,

Free?

Do you have those numbers you’d punch in first

If shit hit the fan,

Or if it didn’t,

And you were just floating like driftwood

Unattached?

Well I’m telling you honey-drop,

I knew this was coming –

If the dawn burns now like a rock through

The window of the ocean,

   And we’re all let out?

I’ll be running to you barefoot, blood

Sticking to my socks

To grab you in the saltwater like

A life-raft and I’ll say see-

—see I knew this would happen.

I have you. On the backdrop of the end of everything

We planned, we realise we always secretly hoped

That these cities we built

Would come tumbling,

Crumbling down.

 

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