Eighty Creates!

The members of the Class of 1980 have many creative talents. This page is their space to show their creations. Please submit your novels, art, music, videos, research writings, or any original work you would like displayed.

Featured Classmates:(click on name to go directly to your classmates creations)

Rob Dinsmoor

William Goodspeed

Victoria Redel

Buzz Kill by William Goodspeed

Victoria Redel Book Cover

Victoria Redel’s latest collection of short stories begins with a nighttime scene: A recently divorced woman sits quietly in the background of a late-evening party. Everything is peacefully hazy until her friend’s husband turns to her and confesses that both he and his wife are in love with her. At that moment, her world shifts.

Redel, a novelist and poet, has worked with scenes like this before, most notably in her debut novel, Loverboy. In that disquieting story, narrated from a mental hospital by a mother whose bond with her child curdles into obsession, love is something to long for but also to dread. Make Me Do Things is, in some ways, a refinement and expansion of that argument. Love is patient, love is kind? Not so much for this group of malcontents. Redel’s characters search for the correct amount of love only to binge or starve themselves recklessly.

These stories, pieced together from everyday moments like bedtime stories and coffee shop talks, are emotional precisely because they are understated. Redel’s characters are observers, curious about life but made vulnerable when real life disrupts their carefully constructed worldviews. “But it was obvious to him now that he’d missed it all. Seen nothing. Or just the wrong things,” Redel writes of one of her characters, a self-conscious man with all the wrong assumptions.

Redel’s stories become suspenseful because of her characters’ impossible wishes; not for grandiose, fantastical things (that would be less heartbreaking) but for small impossibilities. “Call me Polly and I’ve got to be happier than who I am,” one character jokes, a moment of wit but mostly of resigned sadness. She reveals how she longs for the everyday worries of motherhood, but fears that she’ll never have a child.

Make Me Do Things is a series of profiles made beautiful by its author’s restrained and elegant prose—Redel’s characters are on the brink of loving someone or nothing, and we watch them hesitate even as their worlds shrink. The characters’ uncertainty echoes the title’s urgency—Make me do things! Make me save myself!

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