Friday, May 2, 2014
The key, contained within an envelope with the word "Black" written on the front, fills Oskar with a deep urge to find the lock that it opens. This urge consumes Oskar for eight whole months, as he visits multiple people with the last name of Black, because that is the only clue he has as to where he might find the lock. Eventually, he does find the lock, but it doesn't lead him to what he was looking for. In the end, he realizes that, regardless of the end result, the key was still something that brought him closer to his father for a time. Additionally, this story also shows how PTSD can effect people differently, by telling the story of Oskar's grandmother and grandfather.
As I was reading this novel, I was actually really looking forward to watching the film adaptation of the novel. Moreover, I was even contemplating downloading it, and watching it on my own as soon as I finished the novel. However, I found that once I started working on my final project, I realized that I actually didn't want to watch the film adaptation.
One of the things that I have learned this semester, is that often times, adaptations can change opinions of original works, and that sometimes they can even provoke conflicting opinions. One of the great things about this novel, on it's own, is that it's full of different things that are not traditionally a part of novels. Therefore, I have decided that those elements are enough for me. As of right now, in addition to the sad feelings this novel provoked, it also made me fall in love with just about all of the characters, therefore, I have decided that I will do my own adaptation and for right now, I will pass on watching the film.
The film may be good, or it may be bad, or it may even change a person's initial opinions of the book, but for me, the book was enough, and I honestly think, that not all things were meant to be adapted. Some things are just better left untouched.
Thursday, May 1, 2014
Today in class we watched the ending of Extremely Loud and Incredibly Close. The story follows Oskar Schell on his journey to find the lock that fits the key he finds in his father's room. His father has died in 9/11 and this is a piece of him that Oskar his holding onto.
9/11 is something that resonates with me, as it does everybody who can remember that day. That day was my 11th birthday. I was sitting in my fifth grade classroom and i just remember we had the television on all day and we watched the footage over and over and over again. At the end of the day someone reminded the teacher that it was my birthday and she looked at me like i was the saddest thing she had ever seen in her life. My parents picked me up from school and we barbecued hotdogs and tried to celebrate my birthday, but it was pointless. I spent the whole day afraid that I was going to die. This is back when I didn't have a room and slept on the couch in the living room at my grandma's house. I remember laying on the couch and crying while my dad watched the news to see if there were any developments. Any explanation.
I can't enjoy movies that are based on tragic events. Real tragic events. It's hard for me. Schindler's List, Saving Private Ryan, Hotel Rwanda, Full Metal Jacket, hell, even Titanic... I just can't sit through them more than once. And the one time i do, i'm always uncomfortable. I feel bad for sitting down to something for entertainment knowing that it's based off a real thing, where real people died and real families were torn apart by violence or disaster.
I appreciate the film. And in someways it was easier to see than to read for me. The imagery was hard, but I can look at the actors and know they aren't real people. Tom Hanks sounds like Tom Hanks on the answering machine and I KNOW that Tom Hanks is (most likely) ok right now, but it was still hard to hear and particularly disturbing when they showed the towers falling. When reading the answering machine passages in the book, it killed me because in my head i put real faces to the words and i cant help but want to just put the book down. It bummed me out so much, it made me not want to read it at all.
I guess i should get over it, but I doubt i will. I've always been this way. I'm a sensitive person to the extreme and I guess i just have to spend my life ignoring things that may cause me to be uncomfortable on an emotional level.
After all that emotion.. I need some adorable.
In Breakfast at Tiffannys, by Truman Capote, that was also made into a movie version it went along with the original story line and was easier to follow. I sometimes wonder if it would be better to read the book and then watch the movie, or watch the movie and then read the book. I have done both of these and I would say it could go either way. In one way, as in Foers book, it made more sense to picture the characters and scenery first and then read the book. In the book by Capote it was better to read the book and then watch the movie. I have seen a lot of books adapted for the big screen or television. Some scenes are different but it is a good way for a story to be in a different media.
Truman Capotes Summer Crossing , another book we read this semester, is being produced in movie form and should be interesting to watch and to see who is chosen to play all the parts. All in all, some books make great movies and some, like Extremely Loud and Incredibly Close in my opinion is not one of those. I did not care for the book and the movie is not making much difference.
Tuesday, April 29, 2014
You wont find the story of John Marston in any book for he is a character in the video game Red Dead Redemption and unlike in a book, you get to control him as his story unfolds.
As we continue to push forward into the digital age, will video games replace the traditional novel? Only time will tell.
Thursday, April 24, 2014
When we were assigned a twitter project, to tweet from a fictional voice, it seemed a no brainer--I'd be Oskar.
I live with three kids with special needs, so I felt like I could really get Oskar, not to mention that as a mother...I kind of want to hug him any time I read portions in his voice. Not to mention when we read the pieces from his grandmother's point of view. I know what it is like to look at someone so very special, so beautiful and wonderful and be just overwhelmed with a blend of love, proudness and agonizing pain since we can't ever protect them from the world. By bringing them into being, by helping them grow, we're basically setting them loose in the asteroid field of life and just waiting to comfort them when they take a sideswipe.
And yet we go on, living our lives and hoping for the best. Life isn't about the happy ever after, not really. It's about stringing together as many pearls of happiness that we can before we run out of string. Maybe there aren't any answers. Maybe there aren't supposed to be.
But somewhere, the things we're missing here? Are really common. As common there as they are rare here. Maybe in that place, there are happily ever afters but no one knows how special they are because they're so used to them... and only the rare person gets to experience loss or pain to understand how perfectly beautiful the good moments are in comparison.
Who knows, really?
Tuesday, April 22, 2014
Monday, April 21, 2014
Several of you chose to adapt scenes from Of Mice and Men for your ToonDoo projects, and many of those adaptations dealt with the final scene in the novella. I think these adaptations are wonderful examples of how the person adapting a text puts his/her own spin on the original.
Still, others of you were inspired by the poetry we have looked at this semester.
Most of you chose to adapt "Another Reason I don't Keep a Gun in the House."
|Tj's adaptation (nice use of the all blue pack of crayons, Tj!)|
I'm so proud of the work you've been doing this semester and can't wait to see what you come up with for your final projects.
Saturday, April 19, 2014
Before viewing the adaptation of "Giant Slide" I had already made up my mind that I was going to hate it. I mean, how can someone take such an amazing piece of literature and turn it into a comic strip? How can someone take an author's creation and know how to adapt it to portray the same thing the author wanted to portray? I was certain of my answer. They can't. With my mind made up, I finally looked at the adaptation.
However, as I looked at the comic, I realized what I hadn't understood about adaptations. It is not about portraying a poem exactly like the author had intended it. In fact, that is impossible. It is about interpretation. It is about discovering what you connect to in a poem and bringing it to life.
It is about being so absorbed in a piece of literature, that you have to stroke your brush against a canvas. Being that influenced by literature is what the writer intended. I don't think a writer could hope for anything more than to have their readers so completely absorbed in the story that they have create art. It is not about a 'perfect' adaptation, it is about INSPIRATION.
read what inspires you, and then inspire
Tuesday, April 15, 2014
There is a creepy voiceover in this video by Sting at the 2:32 point. "They're all here. You're not alone. You're never alone, not here you're not."
Aside from being randomly awesome, this reminds me of Oskar and Thomas. Both are isolated, separated from home in a very emotional and sometimes almost mentally ill way, however home doesn't leave them...Even when they feel farthest from it, they're never alone, not in the City they're not.
In the book, Thomas is grieving his whole life. Nothing went as he might have wished and all of it damaged him so much that he doesn't even have words to express himself anymore. He's trapped in silence, bearing the weight of his lifetime, and divided by his inability to explain why he is hurting.
Oskar is a little boy who everyone is trying to fix, but no one can reach. He's searching for something, the key really an excuse for a far more intangible search. He's lost his father, the one person who he thought understood him, and is riddled with guilt because he feels he mishandled his last moments with him. So he's not so much looking for something to unlock as searching for why. Why is his father gone? Why was it so sudden? Why can't he make sense of it? Why can't science, which he relies on, give him any solace in this his darkest moment--instead leaving him with knowledge his shoulders aren't yet broad enough to bear (like knowing he's breathing in his father's cells every moment he continues to live in the city where he died so violently and senselessly.)
I think we all asked questions like that when 911 happened. It didn't make sense, we couldn't guard against it, we couldn't rationalize why something so horrible happened and if we couldn't, how could we go on?
But they aren't alone, these characters. Because we're with them every step of the way and we're with them in their grief.
For a long time, years even, after 911...it seemed like everyone sort of paused. The economy stalled, people learned to live in fear, everything seemed a temporary solution. Forever wasn't promised anymore, so why worry that far ahead?
We danced our merry dances, walked our jaunty walks, but like Oskar, we did it all with heavy boots and we peered over our shoulders waiting for the next
Because we're not alone. There were lots of things waiting like vengeful gods for us to peek over our shoulders for almost biblical punishment.
happened and we weren't even altogether that horrified by them. After all, once you've watched people falling out of a building to their death, no heavier than office papers blowing in the warm September sunshine...
only making a wet thud when they found the concrete below...
how could we work up the proper panic for the other Horrible Things?
Days stretched into weeks of them digging through still burning rubble and searching for children, firefighters, police officers--the best of what we believe we can be in this human experience, really, since they are the heroes and the innocent--and finding nothing left alive in the ruin of the city covered in ash.
Perhaps we've begun to find joy again. My children, for instance, don't understand why every year I weep on my birthday or why just the mention of that day sends my knuckles white and my body tight with tension...they have been raised by a mother who taught them to search for the little joys and revel in them because I do understand that we're never alone--that life doesn't happen in a void, but is a fluid thing and even in our darkest moments, someone is there with us. Perhaps helping them find those joys was a reflex. Like me trying to show them happiness because I do understand every moment is a possible last moment--the Horrible Thing is always following, after all, and we don't know when it will catch up--and I want them to suck out all the joy before they end up with that bitter rind.
Or maybe home was there on that horrible day and there is no actual Horrible thing...
Perhaps, like Oskar and Thomas, all of it IS home and we just can't see it yet.
Monday, April 14, 2014
Last spring semester, I had the privilege of reading Thomas Hardy for the first time. His Egdon Heath, with its wild grasses and furze helped me to finally acclimate to my new home here in Ohio. Walking my dogs in my neighbor's horse pastures took on new meaning as I imagined myself walking in the untamable heath of Wessex. In this sense, literature aided me in finding and accepting my new truth.
This semester proved no different. In opening up the worlds within the pages of Truman Capote and Jonathan Safran Foer, I finally realized that the reason I had never acclimated to Ohio was that I was still head over heels in love with New York. Reading both Capote and Foer helped me to grieve, heal and ultimately let go of the big apple. Literature has this magical capacity. All art does. That's why occupational therapists study art therapy, because artists, in telling their own truth, appeal to the universal truths within us all. Art, like no other language can mold and even inform the direction we choose to take our lives in.
In June of 2012, I began writing what was to be the real start of my first novel. After ten years of false starts, this draft felt palpably different. After each morning spent writing, I would walk my dogs along the shores of Lake Erie. The beach was awash in seagull feathers and being sensitive to spiritual animism, I decided to chalk the feathers up to Seagull medicine. Seagull medicine is a lesson in aggressiveness. In accordance with this information, I decided the feathers were telling me that I needed to be more aggressive in pursuing my writing. This draft would be the one I would complete, all the way to publication. The story tells my truth regarding my journey toward my bi-polar diagnoses. My hope is that my journey will appeal to the universal truth of humanity: our need to find healing and resolution to life's problems. I didn't come across this life lesson in an accounting class. My hunger for the written word was awakened in the theatre, another haven of art.
While that was my very personal, spiritual outlook on all those white feathers I took home that summer, I later discovered that the reason for all the seagull feathers (and dead fish) strewn along the beach that summer was that there had been an oil spill on the Canadian side of Lake Erie. No American news stations covered this spill. They didn't have to. It was a Canadian problem, so it wasn't reported on by American news outlets. The only reason I found out about it was through a friend who posted me a link on it from a subversive (as opposed to mainstream) e-zine: In spite of the local loss of swimming privileges and the damage to our eco-system nothing, was written or televised regarding the spill. (I would hyper-link the article but I can't find it anywhere now which I think is rather telling.)
In 1995, Newt Gingrich famously went on a witch-hunt to defund the National Endowment of the Arts. He was shrewd regarding his objective. Why? Because writers like Thomas Hardy and D.H. Lawrence were vocal advocates for the environment in the face of the stripping of the earth's natural resources due to coal mining. And today, writers like Leslie Marmon Silko speak out through their art for Native American rights and the damage done by the government's atomic bomb tests in New Mexico. Artists tell the truth big money doesn't want us to hear. No wonder Newt Gingrich was scared.
The next time you hear "41 Shots" by Bruce Springsteen, think about the thousands of murder victims that die due to police brutality. The next time you listen to "Big Yellow Taxi" by Joni Mitchell, think about global warming. Because artists tell the truth, even and especially when they make their audience uncomfortable.
Wednesday, April 9, 2014
Time For Grandfather
As we are now studying some poetry, I thought it would be interesting to do a little history.
The emergence of the English language poetry in the States began with the writings of
Walt Whitman ( 1819 - 1892 ) and Emily Dickenson ( 1830 - 1886 ). With efforts to add
their voices to the English poetry, 17th century colonists began writing about their travels to The New World with descriptions of what they found upon their arrival.
According to Poetry.org., the five most popular poems today are:
Do Not Go Gentle Into That Good Night by Dylan Thomas
Shall I compare Thee to a Summers Day? by William Shakespeare
Nothing Gold Can Stay by Robert Frost
Lady Lazarus by Sylvia Plath
and How Do I love Thee? by Elizabeth Barrett Browning.
Although poetry has not been one of my addictions like the novels, I, as a child would
love to hear my Grandfather recite the poems he had written for various people and
occasions. He was very witty and humorous and everything rhymed. The best part
of our family Sunday dinners was when he would give us a whirl at his new endeavor.
I especially loved to hear him recite the poems he wrote while serving in The United
States Army in World War 1 France. His descriptions would put you right there with
him. I have a collections of some of his work that I read on occasion and it always
lifts me up.
I have written some of my own over the years, but it does not compare to his. I write
in a similar style however but it is mostly stories being told. I wish he was still here today
so I could ask him for his advice on some of my work. Thanks Grampa...miss you.
World and descriptions of they found upon arrival .
Thursday, April 3, 2014
Upon first reading the poem that inspired this comic strip adaption, I found that I was left with the normal state of confusion that reading poetry typically grants me. I sat on my bed, staring at my computer screen wondering what it was that I had just read. I honestly just held on to the impression that the poem was about a slide on a playground where no one went anymore. Because I was stuck on the playground theory, I failed to really grasp what the poem actually meant.
When I moved onto the comic strip adaptation of the poem everything really fell into place. I was finally able to see the longing and loss that is part of this poem. This poem that is about a giant slide, however, this slide has so much more meaning than one realizes. This poem is really about the loss of childhood and possibly even innocent happiness. Also, this poem shows how not only people grow and change, but the things around them do as well. At one time, this giant slide was a place of happiness for many people, but over the years it has transformed into a place where no one goes anymore more; a place with a fence around it so that people are no longer able to enter it.
This poem is a perfect example of how something can be enhanced by adapting it to a new form of media. Once I saw the meaning of the poem in the adapted comic strip, I was able to re-read the poem and see the actually beauty of it. I was able to see the longing, and the poem even stirred up past memories in me about a giant slide from my own youth. This poem made me think of all the times when I was younger, when I used to love sliding down the giant slide at Geneva's Grape Jamboree. Now, it is my daughter that loves to slide down that slide, and every time that I hear her squeal of delight, it reminds me how I used to make that same sound when I was her age. This poem reminds me of that beauty, and how objects can be just as much a part of home as people can.
Much like most of his contemporaries, ee cummings examines the idea of relationships bringing us back to where we came from, or traveling with us, in his poem "i carry your heart (i carry it in my heart)" In this poem, cummings proclaims that love can become home and when it does, we take it with us where ever we may roam.
Much like Edgar Allen Poe in Annabelle Lee, when he discusses his love, it is clear that cummings is devoted to the person to whom he created the poem. In real life, fragments of ourselves stick to those around us, making our effect on the world around us far more eternal than if we were able to go through life unconnected to the people who touch us. While leaving behinds fragments of self can sometimes be a painful and even agonizing experience, it also allows us to reach beyond the grave, as Poe's devotion to his young cousin proved. Although she was gone, she remains remembered forever because of the greatness of his love.
So too with cummings love...whomever it was, he immortalized the fragments of self she left behind inside him in this epic romance of a sonnet.
I love poetry because just like interpersonal relationships, it can leave behind fragments and pieces of itself, stuck to us and forever changing the fabric of the tapestry that represents who we are.
This, in my opinion, makes every life like a patchwork quilt...a history of who we were, who we will be, who we loved, who loved us, the good days, the bad days, the foreverness.
In literature we read it in words, in the beauty of connecting them like pearls on a thread only so long as the story. In life? The pearls can string out covering a hundred years in some cases.
Who do you carry in your heart (like my pirate captain) ...and who carries you in theirs?
About the author:
Virginia Nelson believed them when they said, “Write what you know.” Small town girl writing small town romance, her characters are as full of flaws, misunderstandings, and flat out mistakes as Virginia herself. When she’s is not writing or plotting to take over the world, she likes to hang out with the greatest kids in history, play in the mud, drive far too fast, and scream at inanimate objects. Virginia likes knights in rusted and dinged up armor, heroes that snarl instead of croon, and heroines who can’t remember to say the right thing even with an author writing their dialogue. Her books are full of snark, sex, and random acts of ineptitude—not always in that order.
Tuesday, April 1, 2014
Thursday, March 20, 2014
Social media has been great as far as being able to connect with eachother and other people around the world. At the same time, it has created a numbness to the human spirit. Since 9-11, we basically live in a 24-7 news society and social media has only added to it. Things that you wouldn't know about until you watched the evening news or read a newspaper are suddenly given to use in minutes. Five minutes after it happened, the Boston marathon bombing was already making the rounds on Facebook along with pictures of the maimed and broken. We have watched everyday for over a decade a long grueling war on terror. Because of Social media, we live in a celebrity worshiping society, were a single tweet can ruin a career, but we see the pictures of an American ambassador being dragged through Benghazi, and don't blink an eye because we are now so used to seeing violence its no longer shocking or disturbing to see.
Now we sit and hear how North Korea is committing horrible atrocities, and even feed people to dogs, and as a society we merely shrug our shoulders. We watch as Russia annexes Crimea and prepares to invade Ukraine, just like Germany did to Austria and Czechoslovakia, and go "Oh well", as are politicians shake limp fists and shout hollow threats at Russia. We still watch as millions are murdered in Africa, and say "Glad I don't live there."
As we enter this new Era of Appeasement, Even as the world is more connected then ever, we are lock stepping right into the same mistakes as the past.
|German troops enter Austria|
|Russian Troops enter Crimea|
Frank and Ycidra needed one another growing up. Their living conditions were not the greatest and their parents worked all day to provide even the smallest things for them. Their grandmother Lenore resented them to a point where she would berate and humiliate Ycidra and leave Frank to take care of her, even when he was only four and Ycidra was a baby.
Frank's home was with Ycidra in Lotus the whole entire time of the novel. While he wanted nothing more than to get away from Lotus, but that all changed upon returning with his very ill sister. What was the change?
As people get older then tend to grow and appreciation for the things they once disliked. Frank was able to see that Lotus was and is a place where people help one another. He brought Ycidra home and people immediately jumped to help her. They helped her without asking for money or for anything in return. They just needed time.
The point belongs that coming home to Lotus, Frank and Ycidra weren't helped by family, they were helped by the community. The only contact with family they had was when Frank asked his grandfather a question about horses and dogfights and even then there was no sense of a deeper relationship than that of friendly acquaintances.
Frank and Ycidra found healing and home in one another, through all the trials they went through they were still able to find peace. Much like the actual lotus flower that can thrive even in a dirty mucky swamp, good prevails over evil in Home and hopefully in life.
In Toni Morrison's Home, we meet Frank and Cee Money. Frank has always been the protector of his little sister Cee as they lived in a town called Lotus. They grew up with an abusive grandmother and parents who worked 16 hours a day, leaving Frank and Cee to rely upon each other. Cee always tagged along with Frank and his friends, and Frank always protected Cee.
Because of the poor quality of life in Lotus, Frank needed to leave home. He signed up to join the military and left Cee to rely upon herself. After Frank left, Cee found a boyfriend, got married, and headed for the big city to escape Lotus. However, once she arrived in Atlanta, her husband stole her car and left her to, once again, take care of herself. Her grandmother was furious with her for car being stolen and made it impossible for Cee to return to Lotus, even when her father died. Cee made money any way she could. With her neighbor's help, she was able to get a job in a diner. However, she was not making enough money to live on. Upon hearing her neighbor's news, Cee discovered a job working for a doctor.
After Frank is discharged from the military, he suffers from PTSD and memory loss. After being discharged, he finds himself handcuffed to a hospital bed, unsure of how he got there. He tries to settle down with a girlfriend, but she kicks him out. He finds himself drinking whenever he feels upset or anxious. He sees the color of the world draining, and for a short time, is left with a black and white world.
He receives a note that says that his sister is dying. He tracks her down and finds her almost dead in her employers house. Even after all of the bad experiences in Lotus, he doesn't have to think where to turn to for help. He picks his sister up and runs straight for home. Even after living in a crowded house with little food, he runs home. Even after living with his abusive grandmother, he runs home. Even after seeing someone buried alive, he runs home.
Home is the place we always run to.
Home is the place we find healing.
Home is the place we find shelter.
Home is the place we find solutions.
Home is the place that doesn't ask questions, but instead, accepts us without needing an explanation.
Always Run Home
Wednesday, March 19, 2014
New School Technology
As one being from the old school as some will call it, I am finding all the modern every day
technology both interesting and confusing. When I decided to return to college, it was a bit
overwhelming being that most students were the same age as my own children. I did not own a
computer or laptop let alone really know how to use one. I laugh now but I needed help in turning
one on. E-mail ? what is that ? I found it pretty easy once I knew what I was doing.
I quickly found out that every professor assumed all students had access to or owned some
kind of computer. Classrooms and procedures were very different from when I attended
Lakeland Community College in 1999. At the beginning of last semester, my daughter
helped me purchase a laptop, but she had to set it up also. I became more familiar with
sending and receiving e-mails and using Google to look up information which became very
convenient not having to walk to the library for help.
Around Christmas time, my son decided that I should get a Facebook account, oh my....
I had seen one but was not sure what it was all about. I am still working on learning all
aspects and occasionally have to ask for help. I have found family and friends that I
otherwise would not know where they were. I only use it to chat and have not posted
Now I come to the English class learning more ways to communicate using Twitter and Blogs.
I was not even sure what they were but it sounded like something I should know to keep up
with the times. These two measures are also interesting and I can see how one would use them.
It has been hard to comprehend all of this at once, but the more I try to use them, it becomes
easier The world is at your finger tips I heard it said somewhere. That is definitely true. One
can find information, people, and what is going on in our crazy world.
When it came to the Prezi presentation, however, I was totally lost trying to figure out
videos and putting pictures up. I think this will take a long time for me., but in the mean time,
I will play around with the Twitter . I am not sure I will use the Blog but we will see when I
am more familiar with all of the modern day ever advancing technology. Thanks for the class,
and all who are helping me, and yes, of course, my kids.
Thursday, March 13, 2014
Tayo heals through the animism of his heritage and the stories of his people. He overcomes the Ck’o’yo Kaup’a’ta of P.T.S.D. with the aid of the songs and poems of his people. Spiderwoman teaches the Sun how to overcome the Gambler. In this way, the story instructs Tayo how to overcome himself. The stories are the parents he never had. The medicine is the love he’s always deserved. Silko is right. You don’t have anything if you don’t have the stories, for without the power of narrative, readers could achieve no catharsis, and neither could we writers.
Monday, March 10, 2014
Thursday, February 27, 2014
This tale reeks of teenage angst, finding the bad-boy and doing things your mother would not approve of. Grady spent her summer in search of herself, who she wants to be, where she belongs, and whether she was happy with her