Honestly, I have liked the poems we have read in class. Eldorado had a lot of hidden meanings that I did not really catch on to until we went over it in class. I would have never caught that the pilgrim shadow is actually the knight’s shadow and when he “met a pilgrim shadow” he was falling on to his own shadow from loss of strength. The poem was way more depressing to me when we interpreted it then it was when I read it for the very first time. I really wish that I could catch stuff like that better when I read poetry. I am hoping that we read a couple more poems just so I can practice this level of analysis better on my own. The other kind of analysis with stresses/non-stresses and what kind of poetry it is not really my favorite. I feel like its hard to do that and still enjoy the poetry that you are reading. I mean I understand the point because it definetly helps you understand better whether something really is good poetry or not but its pretty similar to diagramming sentences which I hate.

I was pretty happy that we didn’t do anything more than watch a Simpson interpretation of “The Raven”. I feel like 8th grade year it was sooo over analyzed. And the thing is I learned more in our like two/three days talking about poetry in class then I did in a whole unit of it in 8th grade. We focused a lot more on Edgar Allen Poe and his life than his poetry and we never talked as indepth about analyzing poetry. Freshman year we kinda just read a lot of poetry and I think we may have written our own but I am not sure. It was very laid back but we didn’t really learn a whole lot.

The poem that I am writing is about my dogs. I feel like its a pretty easy topic so it should be fairly easy to write. I just have to figure out how meaningful I want to make it. 

The Bassoon King

Reading this book just proved further to me the amazingness of Rainn Wilson. It gave him depth and character and it was awesome to learn about his personal experience.  writing this book was a gift to the world. He gives GENUINE advice that I will remember and use in my own life.

Honestly, when I decided to read the book I didn’t really know what to expect. Obviously, some humor because he is a comedian, but other than that the only person I knew Rainn to be was Dwight. He is, in fact, a very witty person with a lot of good wisdom especially for those who want to make it in the acting field. Some of my favorite parts of the book were when he talked about his breakthroughs on his road to becoming an actor. One example which was kinda cheesy was that he went to go see A Chorus Line in theaters and despite it being a terrible movie, he broke down and cried. The movie, he says, is about a bunch of people who really want to make it big and they sing a lot about it. This struck a chord with him and really helped him realize how much he wanted to be an actor. The way he wrote about these events was somewhat dramatic but that is what made them entertaining and have a lasting impact.

 

I really love that in the book Rainn is honest about what it takes to make it. I feel like a lot of times when a famous person’s story is told it is sugar coded. Rainn’s seems much less so. He talks about all of his experiences making it big, good and bad.  He had to go through lots of training, living in not the best places, and doing different odd jobs just to make it to where he is today. For instance, he had to live with rats in an abandoned brewery in Brooklyn. This gives insight and inspiration to anyone reading but especially those who are considering becoming an actor. As I struggle to decide whether I want to make a career out of my musical talents and whether it is worth the risk of investing in a good music school, this is a story that I can take into consideration. Rainn put it all in and chose to take whatever risks there are and that worked out for him. I guess what is hard is that he is telling it from a perspective of making it. A lot more people don’t make it than do. Realistically my chances are super slim so I am probably not going to try and make it as just a performer  (I’ll probably end up teaching) but while I was reading this I almost reconsidered. It just goes to show that this book is inspiring.

 

Rainn comes from a really interesting background. He was (and he actually says this in the book) a nerd. Like a classic dungeons and dragons playing, nerd. I thought that that aspect of his life must have really helped him to portray who he was in the office. As Dwight, he must have had to go back in time to what he was like as a kid. Rainn tells of his gradual transformation from nerd all the way to quirky actor throughout his book. When he moves he decides to change his whole style. He becomes somewhat of a rocker type and he expresses that all the girls kind of dig it. I liked hearing what it was like for this geeky high school age guy. I think it kind of helped me understand that perspective better. It was really cool also how he could describe his life events with a lot of zest (if that’s the right word). He made them seem like an adventure.

 

I would really recommend this book for all these reasons ^^^ and lots more.

Brave New World

I think the biggest reason that I read this was because I wanted to read a classic sci-fi. I feel like I haven’t really read many of them before. I have definitely heard of Brave New World before so I decided to give it a shot. At first, when I was reading it I was a bit shocked about how openly it seemed to talk about sexuality and recreational use of drugs for it being written in the 1930s. Then I thought of something. The Great Gatsby which I read last year for AR had a similar dark spin on how the pleasures of the flesh and class/caste system can affect people. It seemed to me that after reading these two books (and I am sure there are other examples) this time in literature may have been when people were more inclined to discuss these topics in their works. I guess I would have to do more reading about that but there were some thematic similarities between the two. They obviously both come to very different conclusions and are set in completely different times. At the same time, they are similar conclusions. In The Great Gatsby, Gatsby works to become part of the upper class (from his place at the bottom) and fit in so he can have Daisy. Bernard, in this story, wishes to experience something outside of what the “World State” gives to him because he feels out of place in his own class. In both cases, the protagonist chooses to rebel against what was set out for them due to life circumstances and society leads to their destruction.

The book itself when I first started reading it was definitely not what I was expecting. A lot of what was done at an early age to children was very unsettling to me. They were pretty much brainwashed their whole growing up so that they would all live with the same mindset and be what the “World State” wanted them to be.  All humans were set to be self-indulging. They would never feel things on a deeper level and only live to satisfy their immediate urges. It made me wonder if they yearned to feel something more. Deep feelings of love and passion are essentially what makes us all human. One might feel something was missing in their lifestyle if it wasn’t for Soma. Soma had a lot of resemblance to recreational drugs that are used nowadays. Could we eventually become much more reliant on these than we are now to stump our emotions? Technology may even improve these drugs so that they have the effects that we want without the consequences. It is scary how close some of the aspects of our society are to those of the “World State”.

The “sexual play” and “death conditioning” that children participated in at a young age was something I was definitely not expecting when I chose to read this book. It was honestly very gross that children were taught from such a young age to except ideals that are against how one would naturally react to situations. Death was taken very lightly and so was sexuality. This removed any deep feelings towards these topics which felt so wrong to me. As Mond, the “Resident World Controller of Western Europe” explained, at the end though, the removal of human connection to these things created stability. I argue, though, that having so much sex and never falling in love with that one person for you makes sex meaningless. It would eventually numb you from the true feelings of sexual connection. Also if people don’t feel suffering and pain then how can they appreciate happiness and enjoy the good moments of life. That is the flaw in the whole system. There is absolutely no fulfillment in life without those things. That is why Bernard was struggling so much because he yearned for more. And I think deep down others in the “World State” also did. Some human inclinations you just can’t brainwash away.

Another extremely unsettling thing to me was how embryos were altered before even being born they were predestined to what life they would lead. This seemed like it stole something from those of lower classes. As biology gets more and more advanced in our own world I think this same idea could take on in a different form. Ever heard of designer babies? This the genetic altering of embryos to make them superior to other children and have specific attributes of the parents choosing. Though this concept has been inspired by the book Brave New World, we are starting to see that this could have the potential to become a reality. When this is possible it will probably be extremely expensive and something only the very rich could afford. I think if this tech would become available it would separate classes that are already pre-existing rather than an organized caste system by the government. This would definitely pose a problem for those in lower classes because they would never be able to catch up to those in upper classes thus making them stuck where they are. Then we would resemble the caste systems in Brave New World that also have no mobility from caste to caste.

Brave New World is a book I would recommend to others with a warning. There is a reason it is such a classic because of how much thought and purpose the Huxley put into the story. It follows a high level of thinking especially when at the end John discusses with Mond the very ideals of humanity and why it was necessary to take those away from people in order to create a society without any problems. If you like thinking about where our society may eventually lead itself in the distant future and whether our human nature would have to be sacrificed in order to have a perfect world then this is a good book for you.

writing my short story

When I started my short story it was truly just an idea. To be honest it wasn’t very original either. 80% of at the start was pretty much the same as what the six words I picked were. Someone fails the SAT-They are actually really smart and invent something. Through our different assignments that forced us to create structure for our stories, I was able to make an actual short story with much more interesting content. Now it feels like less of a statement piece on why SATs are bad and more of story about someone’s life struggle to get through school. I really tried to understand better people with anxiety and how that could affect their day to day. While it isn’t really the story that I wanted to write, it’s what I came up with and it’s not too bad. Part of me feels that maybe it stems from my worries about life and how they affect me. Or maybe it is also a way for me to understand better the people in my life that struggle with the same is problems.

 

As a side note because I felt like I didn’t know where to fit this in: One thing that has bothered me about the process of writing it has been how rushed I have felt. I mean I understand it can’t take all year, but I just wish I was less busy and I could have put more of my time into writing it. As always I procrastinated.

Though I am not finished with my first book-but I am very close-I think I have decided that I want to read a sci-fi book. I want to read a classic because I feel like I have mostly read sci-fi books that were written recently. I’m sort of leaning towards Brave New World.

A story that’s short

Okay I’m going to be honest, I am not a huge fan of my short story idea. It just seems really unoriginal. I mean I feel like with all the TV and articles and books I consume on a regular basis I would have more creative juices flowing but as of present I really don’t. Thankfully, my story is maybe starting to grow on me. I still don’t really know where it’s going but hopefully somewhere interesting. The thing that I just hate about it though is that I don’t know if I would want to read my story if I just came across it as an outside person.

My idea stems from how much pressure is put on high scholars about the SAT. It feels like that test is like a defining moment in your high school career. And it is. It pretty much sets the stage for what colleges are in your reach and whether you will get scholarships. I want to make the point that what you get on the SAT, or other tests for that matter, doesn’t define you and what your life will become. Sadly, not doing well does lead to some consequences. But many of those are because of how put down we are mentally from our failure.

Because of the work that we have been doing, my story definitely is more of a story than a statement protesting SATs. It actually has characters with backstories and developing personalities. I also got a lot from listening to other people’s ideas for stories and I’m pretty excited to see how they turn out.

Whenever I have written stories in the past I have started out just throwing my ideas on a paper and hoping they get somewhere. This time around (even though I hate that I had homework) I feel more organized with my story because of all the work I have done dissecting the story I am going to write. Now I have set points to get to in my story. There is a lot of structure and hopefully I won’t need to do as much editing. I guess in the past I have thought of stories as more coincidental than they probably are. This is not the case I have now realized and I am glad because it will definitely improve my story writing. You know I feel like in most of my schooling they have focused more on other types of writing such as persuasive. Story writing has gotten tucked in the back corner. It’s kind of sad so I’m glad we are getting a chance to write a story now (even though it’s a lot of work).

 

The Bassoon King

After seeing Rainn Wilson on The Office countless times I am so happy to be reading his book and learning about how he became who he is today. The book is written in a very casual tone. It almost feels like he is just having a conversation with you about himself and giving life advice along the way. I’ve actually gained a lot of respect for the guy and wish I could in some way have him mentor me for a day. Reading the book has been therapeutic for me so far. I mean it’s funny at times but it’s also somewhat relaxing to not think about my life and just listen Mr. Wilson talk about his successes and failures. One thing that I run in to a lot is that some of Dwight’s characteristics can also be found in Mr. Wilson and that’s probably why he played the character so well. Mr. Wilson admits to being a nerd and a comic and sci-fi enthusiast. He does cosplay and keeps up on a lot of obscure science fictions stories as Dwight does. (Unfortunately he doesn’t have a 60-acre beet farm, but his mom did live on a farm as child.) He is pretty eccentric just as Dwight is. Mr. Wilson started high school as the nerdiest person you can imagine but when he changes high schools he completely revamps his identity. He chooses to become more outgoing and involves himself in drama which he says is the top of the geek food-chain. This is when his dreams of being an actor/comedian really took off. When I read this about him part of me kind of wished that I could change schools. I mean don’t get me wrong I like Bloomsburg High School but sometimes I feel stuck with the identity that has followed me. I mean I’ve been going to school with some the kids in my grade since Kindergarten. I have definitely changed since then but I feel like now I’m set on who I am as a person or how people see me.  I can’t act differently all of the sudden I just have to continue to be the same me I was last year. I don’t like being more on the reserved side most of the time but I feel like I don’t have anything to say because I really haven’t had anything to say before. But who knows if I would have the guts to be more expressive if I moved schools anyway. This blog got a little off topic but I will say that “The Bassoon King” is a book I highly recommend to anyone-not just Office fans.

The Devil and Walker a review

This story has a very interesting perspective. Usually in most stories the greedy or bad character is more of a minor character. In this one the main focus is on Tom Walker who is a pretty horrible person. He is also married to a horrible women who I thought atributed to how terrible of a person Tom was. Being stuck married to someone like that had to be pretty hard. I wished for some reason to have her be a more involved character but I liked how the author used her to make a point. When Tom takes his venture into the forest, it’s pretty shocking that after he finds out that he is conversing with the devil, he still carries on in converstation. He also doesn’t involve himself with devil because he is desperate or poor and has no where else to go. He only does it out of his own greed. Really this is a classic story of karma. You can’t hide from the consequences of doing wrong because it will come back to get you in the end. The society the author paints is very grim. During the whole story, there is not really a happy part. It sheds some light on the people who act holier then thou but in reality only profit from other peoples grief throughout their entire lives. Everyone in the town where Tom lives is used to terror from all sorts of evil beings. Many people are also superstitious and feel that the only way to be saved is to be as religious as possible. This seemed very accurate for the time period and it worked well for the story being told. I think Ivring wrote this to highlight the wrongs of those in power who may seem perfect on the outside. He also wrote it to warn people not to get involved with the wrong crowd only for their own self benefit- or just in general. I think that if this story were to be rewritten for modern times I would make Tom Walker invest in a very well oganized scam by criminals and gain a lot of money from it. One of the members could get put in prison and then choose to give up Tom’s name in order to be let go. Then Tom would be put in prison for life.

More sleep, less notes

My biggest take away from the notes this week was probably that all good writers really without realizing it create stories that follow the elements of short stories. They don’t really sit down and say “Now I must make sure that I have a climax and resolution to keep the reader entertained. Oh and to make it interesting I’ll add in some similes and metaphors”. Most writers probably don’t anyway-it comes to them naturally. When I thought back to historical novels I have read that still flow like stories I realized that the way stories are set up (or the way we expect them to be set up) are based on experiences in life. The timeline of climaxes and resolutions are what inspires authors to write the way they do. That is why the elements of short stories are evident in most stories and stories aren’t written many other ways. They just wouldn’t make sense to people without a beginning, middle, and end.

Observing a story and being a participate are important to understand and be able to tell apart. I think you know you really are a participant when the world around you disappears while you are reading. It feels as though all there is is the story the words create playing in front of you. I am mostly a participate. To me books are like expeditions.  They take me a long time of thought and concentration if I’m really a part of the story. But that is the best way to read. To be honestly though, the biggest reason I always read so indepth is that I’m a terrible skimmer. Reading fast just doesn’t really make sense of all the information that I need so I usually just read word for word. This has definitely changed how I read but in some ways I’m glad because it has forced me to take in things slower allowing me more time to think about the text.

As for my second week, I have just been really tired for some reason. It’s probably because fusion has started which means I never get enough sleep. Hopefully my sleep schedule will adjust but I doubt it. The school work is okay for now but I’m sure it’ll  get worse. Guess I’ll just have to wait and see.

My first week of Eleventh grade

My first week of school was definitely better than I expected. I was actually really nervous for some reason the night before the first day. I mean first day jitters obviously aren’t uncommon but I guess I just feel like by junior year I should have things down. Anyway, the week as a whole went smoothly. I like my classes but I know I’m in for a tough year academically. A&P and APUSH will be a challenge and Pub will push me out of my comfort zone but I think that’s a good thing. I was kind of worried about my lunch because it’s lunch five (mostly freshmen) but I found tolerable freshmen to sit with along with two juniors. As the week went on my classes got gradually less like a reciting of expectations and get to know you exercises and more like actual classes (as per usual). My favorite part of the week was probably catching up with people who I didn’t see much of all summer. I think during summer I forget how much I love talking to everyone about their lives and how welcoming they are towards me. That’s what’s nice about a small school, I feel like I’m at least friendly with a lot of people in some way. Cross country is a great example of that. We just have a really close knit team and even though the practice itself is a lot of work, the social aspect is always something I look forward to. On Thursday I stayed after school for a drama meeting and before practice I sat with some members of the team and we just vented to each other about the first week. It was super relieving that they could all relate to the struggles that I have the first couple days of school. On Friday I went with some people from the band to all the elementary schools in the district to recruit kids and show them all the instruments they could choose from. It was a nice ending to my week and being at Memorial brought back memories of my elementary school experience. The Friday night football game was okay but not as fun as I hoped. I got super tired towards the end which kind of put me in a bad mood. All in all I’d say an above average start to my junior year.