Thursday, January 16, 2014

Semester reflection

So far this year as a writer, I feel like I have grown, and achieved my writing goals which I set at the beginning of the year. At the beginning of the year my writing goals were to add more details to my essays and to use punctuation correctly. I believe the essays I have written this year have met that standard I set for myself by explaining in more detail what I was writing about and by the way I was using punctuation. I believed I struggled in making my essays interesting, however. To me they always ended up sounding like a rant rather than an essay. That is definitely something I'm going to try and work on in this upcoming semester. I believed the place in which I excelled was when we did creative writing. It didn't limit my imagination and it's something I can do easily and enjoy immensely. This is the reason why I included my writers craft, because I believe it showcases me as a writer, and has great voice. I didn't really have a process when I wrote my writers craft, because I just kind of went with whatever came to mind while I was writing. I think the strongest part of that piece was the setting and how I described it. The weakness was definitely the beginning where I had to use all of the figures of speech and I just kind of threw them in there because I didn't want to have to deal with them. I chose my McMurphy essay because it showed how I was able to use scenes from the book and write about how they related back to the character. I kind of put that piece together in my head brick by brick until it was finished. I guess you could say I outlined it in my head. I can't really find any strengths in that piece nor any weaknesses, besides maybe the rant thing again, that's how all my essays turn out. And finally, I chose my Curious Incident essay because it demonstrated how I was able to incorporate my own voice into an essay, which is something that's always been hard for me. To create this piece I pulled information from the text and made it relate back to the quote I had chosen. The big weakness in that paper was that it was once again rant-y. The strength was however, that it had my own voice in it. In the next semester I hope to have a lot more creative writing and not so many essays because it lets each of us express ourselves through writing.

Tuesday, January 14, 2014

Curious Incident Essay

This was an essay we had to write about a quote, and relate it back to The Curious Incident of a Dog in the Nighttime:

       "Sometimes people are born with disabilities, but it's communities that handicap them" (Anonymous). A community may ostracize a person because they have a disability and treat that person differently than they would be treated if they didn't have that disability.  
The person who has the disability is completely unaware of the fact until that person is made to feel like they are different. Like the time at the train station when Christopher was on his was to London to go to his mother. After withstanding the incredibly obnoxious buzz of humans, and the squealing of sticky train wheels, his head was ready to explode. He began to moan, while holding his head; people took notice. Now, while most- if not all- the passengers at the train station thought he as a mad-man, it's only his way for dealing with stress and the feeling of being overwhelmed. I'm sure that there are a lot of people in the world that have weird ways to deal with stress: knitting, playing the banjo, or singing to their cat. Whatever you do to relieve stress, it's no different than someone with disability, or Christopher. He- unlike most people- just decides to do his coping openly, becoming a very easy target for peoples quick judgement.
While someone with a disability may excel in a certain school subject (esp. math or science) or have a vast knowledge about one or multiple subjects (mostly things they are interested in, not just random topics) they are no different than you. True, they may have more challenges socially, or in the work place, but that's because people who do not have disabilities ostracize them and make them socially awkward. They still have feelings, just like we do. When Wellington died, Christopher was sad. When Christopher's mom was "in the hospital" he was concerned about the kind of food she'd be eating. When Christopher is with Siobhan he (in his own way) feels friendship. The point is that he feels, just like a normal person; but who's really normal?
What most people don't realize is that- no matter how challenging- we can help people with disabilities. Siobhan would help Christopher by helping him through school. Mrs. Shears, for a while, was sort of like a fill in mother, making him meals and such. And his father helped him the most. He was patient with Christopher when he got out of hand. When his food was yellow, he'd be understanding and dye it a different color. Simple things such as being patient and calm can help someone with a disability tremendously.
Like I said previously- humans with disabilities are no different than humans without disabilities. There's no need to ostracize them. They have feelings just like regular people do, and they have the same mental capacity as normal people do, it just takes the right person to make them realize it.

McMurphy Essay

This is the essay we wrote about McMurphy:

McMurphy acts careless, and still continues commits his crazy shenanigans due to the fact that, no matter what people may say, he really has nothing to lose at all but the friendships he has made inside that ward.
If you think back to when we were first introduced to R.P. McMurphy, we didn't learn much about his past besides his criminal record. As far as we know, he has no wife or children. The only thing we knew him to be living for were his bar fights and drunken stupor.  If he was ever to be let loose from the ward where would he go? Certainly not to a luxurious home, or maybe not even a trailer for that matter. But at the ward, he has a roof over his head, food in his stomach, and friends to play cards with. So why bother trying to be good and trying to get out?
He has also, yet to get the best of the big nurse. Since the beginning of the book they have been in a sort of competition to see who can get the best of the other. While at multiple times in the book it seems one or the other has been close to besting the other, a true winner has yet to be discerned, and R.P. McMurphy is not a quitter. I don't believe he will give up until he watches nurse ratchet hand over her resignations papers and take one lasts fleeting look around the ward and its patients.
I also think he hasn't given up his careless behavior quite yet because he has developed friendships with the other patients on the ward. Although in part two we learn that they can leave on their own free will, and don't have to endure the nurses patronizing ways, they are too scared to leave because of the way that society makes them. I believe McMurphy hasn't given up on them either because he wants to show them that it's ok to be who you are and while you may get stares for being a little different, that happens to everyone whether they are so called "normal" or not. McMurphy will us whatever method necessary to get through to the other men on the ward, and if that means putting up with the nurse, and punch a glass window, then he'll do it.

Writers Craft

This was the first writers craft we were assigned:

        "You know, it's best to let a sleeping dog lie." Cole and Anderson had been arguing about whether Anderson should question his fiancĂ© Claire about where she had been on Friday night.
"I suppose so, but I should still give her the third degree... I mean no one seems to know where she was."
"You'll catch your death if you continue to worry about her so much."
"Yes, but you know things can happen at the drop of a hat."
"That is true. I spoke with her Friday morning and she seemed to be walking on eggshells."
"Oh? Really? Because I've been trying to tell you this for twenty minutes now,"
"I agree, something was off about her that morning but I'm not so sure it's something you need to be worried about."  Anderson pondered this fact for a moment and concluded that Cole was wrong. There was something in Cole's eyes- those dazzling brown eyes- that told Anderson that he was lying to him. He was helping Claire hide something and he would get to the bottom of it.
As their meeting came to a close Anderson became even more wary of Cole as Cole quickly brushed off Anderson's request for him to keep an eye on Claire.
"I'm sorry," Cole said, "but Claire and her affairs are none of my business, and to be frank you shouldn't worry about her so much. Like I said before, you'll catch your death." And with the topping of hat, he slunk out into the ink black night.

The sign said Trenton. It was an old sign- very contrastive of the current 1890's- probably built around the early 1800's. This old New England town was known for the old wise folks tail "The Screamer." This story is mainly told to keep teenagers in at night, but by their mid-teens most of them don't believe it anymore.
The year Trenton was founded- 1692- there was a man; equivalent to the town drunk, or maybe even a homeless drunk. Every full moon, at the midnight hour, he would scream. Or so most people thought. There were a few contradictory theories however. Maybe it was a wolf, calling to it's pack. Maybe it was a mother calling to a lost child.
Both these theories are completely made up and never proven, then again, neither was the drunken man. Everyone just assumed it was him. Crazy bulging black eyes, disheveled long silver beard and hair, the only pair of pants he owned were ripped and dusty. Barefoot, suspenders but no shirt, worn out straw hat- it just fit his image. It also made the townsfolk sleep easier considering what was happening in Salem at the time. Witch's, all the afflicted folk, it was scary. So it must have been the Old Kook right?
As Claire's trolly rolled along the cobble stone streets, she saw no sign of life- save for her driver and his black horse. There were many lamp posts in Trenton, but only a fraction of them were on; casting shadows along the 200 year old homes and business buildings, making them eerier than they normally would have been. Given the hour she shouldn't have been surprised by the lack of human activity in the streets- it was nearly one in the morning.
Her breath fogged on the window of the trolly her head was rested against. She took her sleeve and began to wipe off the condensation when something just ahead caught her eye. It was a dark figure, not yet discernible to the naked eye. It seemed to be moving- no- swaying in the breeze. No- it was a coat, a coat billowing in the breeze. It was a man. A very tall man, with a black top hat, a black billowing coat with slacks and dress shoes- his outfit utterly black. He was leaning on something- a walking stick?- no, an umbrella. Odd, Claire thought, it's down pouring and he is not using his umbrella.
As the trolly passed the man, she couldn't help but stare. How peculiar, Claire mused. The trolly continued on down Baker Street and turned onto Wellington, her destination. She stepped out and a flash of black caught her eye- it was the man, coming straight for her.


In my writers craft I tried to add interesting and intelligent dialogue. When Mr. Barns was talking to the judge he always addressed him as "your honor." I also tried to use "courtroom" language. Like I used the word bailiff and said things like "with all due respect," and things like that. I believed it worked well and made my writers craft seem more real. I'm not sure what I'll do next but this worked really well so I think I'll continue to try and work this technique into my future writers craft, given that the scene has a "language."