March 2008 Archives

I MEAN...ARE WE SERIOUS?

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"Come inside," it says, "for CD's, VIDEO's, DVD's and Book's.  If this santanic sprinkling of redundant apostrophes causes no little gasp of horor or quickening of the pulse, you should probably put down this books at once.  By all means congratulate yourself that you are not a pedant or even  a stickler; that you are happily equipped to live in a world of plummeting punctuation standards; but jsut don't bother to go any further (Truss 1)."

First off, if you can't tell by the quote, I despise grammar and punctuation.  Honestly, I don't really care about it at all. I mean I know it's important and some of the rules have stuck with me through the years, but I just can't and will never be a stickler for it.  For me it's always been about what the words are telling you, not about the punctuation that is in between them.

Even with that being said though, stupid stuff like the above does really bother me.  Like that is something that everyone should know. Stuff like that I guess I can be a little weird over because I mean come on. But as for agreement stuff, it's whatever to me. It's a whole different language and I'll never be able to speak it.

Now my mom on the other hand, would probably die if she read this becuase I honestly think she was made to be a proof reader.  She catches stuff like this and runs with it.  She would be the person that stands in front of Two Weeks Notice dieing because of the absent apostraphe.  I guess some people feel the passion and others do not.

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"Why else would they open a large play area for children, hang up a sign saying "Giant Kid's Playground," and then wonder why everyone stays away from it? (Answer: everyone is scared of the Giant Kid (Truss 41)."

I picked this quote because when I first read it, I didn't get the joke AT ALL.  When I did though, I actually laughed out loud because I'm a sucker for corny humor like this.  It does make you wonder though. Would you want to write for a newspaper who constantly misused grammar, mispelled names, and didn't proofread? Would you want to converse with someone who says "Hey! Where was you goin'" and not wince?  Some things, yes are important, but I have to admit that I think this book is a little out of control so far.

 

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Aren't we all displaced persons in our own way?

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“Mr. Shortley recalled a newsreel she had seen once of a small room piled high with bodies of dead naked people all in a heap, their arms and legs tangled together, a head thrust in here, a head there, a foot, a knee, a part that should have been covered up sticking out, a hand raised clutching nothings. Before you could realize that it was real and take it into your head, the picture changed and a hollow-sounding voice was saying, “Time marches on!” This was the kind of thing that was happening every day in Europe where they had not advanced as in this country, and watching from her vantage point, Mrs. Shortley had the sudden intuition that the Gobblehooks, like rats with typhoid fleas, could have carried all those murderous ways over the water with them directly to this place (O‘Connor 198).”

I chose this rather long passage from O’Connor’s short story The Displaced Person because it struck a tone of reality for me. One naturally can get a very distinct picture of the Holocaust in their mind when they read this excerpt.  The ‘displaced person’ in the story was portrayed as a ‘pole’ which we know to be one of the groups of people to be slaughtered in WWII.  We get a very grotesque image of the result as we can literally visualize the piles of bodies that O’Connor is showing us, rather than telling.

What strikes me even more in this paragraph is the fact that the Mrs. Shortley feels that because they have been exposed to this type of behavior, that they have brought it over here with them. Talk about a stereotype. Behavior like this, doesn’t end; It’s still going on today. Take Darfur for instance.  Everyday thousands of people of being slaughtered. Since 2003, 400,000 people have been brutally slaughtered and 2,751 villages have been destroyed.  Matters like this do not end, but the people that come out of it are not wicked.  Just because one has seen death and destruction, does not make them evil.

STAND up for those underprivileged and those crying out to you.  Take the challenge, and make a difference in the world.

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Life is a game.

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"Nothing is perfect.  This is one of Mrs. Hopewell's favorite sayings.  Another was: that is life! And still another, the most important, was: well other people have their opinions too (O'connor 169)."

I liked this excerpt because I thought that it was very easy to relate too.  I mean how often in life are we thinking 'woe is me' and 'could things honestly get any worse' (to which it usually rains, haha).  I think O'Connor is simply telling us that yes nothing is perfect, but hey that's life! Life is full of imprefections, and mistakes, but that is what makes it interesting.  If we never had trouble with someone, how would we learn new things? Stuff happens to everyone, but life still goes on.  Life is a game.  You win some, you lose some. The key is to never quit playing.

I looked on the internet for some more information on the story, and Patricia Jones has a wonderful analysis of the dual role of names and charactizaiton within the story. It's only two pages long so if you have the time, def. read it :)

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Edited on 3/14/08

In class today we continued out discussion on Flannery O'Connors Good Country People.  My classmates had a lot of great takes on the story, but one in particular stuck out in my mind.  The usage of foils and irony (my favoirte)! I really liked how Maddie brought up the point that the Bible Salesmen was basically a walking contradiction.  Although he appeared intelligent when he was doing his job, when is was alone, he was simple in his dialect and mannerisms.  Someone else even brought up the notion of his hollow bible! I totally missed that one! How's that for a direct symbol for sinning!

For more on this, you can follow me here!

 

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"In many works, the main character has an antagonist, a character that opposes the protagonist's goals and and interest and so creates the major conflict in the work (Hamilton 130)."

I know this may come as a shock to most of you, but I am a huge fan of the antagonist.  Maybe I'm just the girl who always falls for the bad guy, but I really think that they make the book, movie, play, etc. I mean what fun is a simple love story unless there is a bad boy in the background causing conflict for the good guy? What fun is a dectivie story unless the cop is sleeping with the criminal? How can there be ANY plot without an antagonist. Ok so maybe it's just me, but I love a good, devious, troublemaker in my stories.  It keeps the plot juicy and makes me want to keep turning the pages. And the best part about an antagonist, is that it doesn't have to be a person! It can be nature, an internal personal conflict, a bad memory... all are possibilites.

I have no problem admitting that I'm a Shakespeare geek when it comes down to it... SO I think that my favorite example of an antagonist, is Macbeth.  Poor, poor Macbeth. He started out good, and then just got more and more corrupt as the plot unfolded (I love when the protagonists turns into the bad guy haha). But take this quote for example:  

"Whence is that knocking?—
How is’t with me, when every noise appals me?
What hands are here! Ha, they pluck out mine eyes.
Will all great Neptune’s ocean wash this blood
Clean from my hand? No, this my hand will rather
The multitudinous seas incarnadine,
Making the green one red."

Macbeth KNOWS that killing Duncan has placed a huge burden on his soul, for we can obviously see that he is getting jumpy and paranoid about everything in the first line!  What really gets me with this quote though is how we can still see traces of the protagonist in him, even though the antagonist is taking him over.  It's like he knew what the right thing to do was, but figured the hell with it, I'm going to be evil! That's why the blood symbolizes his guilt.

But in all honestly, I think my girl Lady Macbeth had a lot to do with the corrupting.She is the one that basically tells him to shut up and wash his hands if he is worried about a little blood, haha. What a girl!  Oh, the joys of being a woman. Persuasion is key haha. 

enter the hidden lair

So um... WHAT?

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"But as in all of O'Connor's stories, the violent surface action only  begins to suggest the depths and complexities of meaning embedded in the story. This is especially true when considering the mystery of evil and its relation to the action of grace (Desmond 129)."

In Desmond's essay Flannery O'Connor's Misfit and the Mystery of Evil, I realized very shortly in that it seemed that his thesis wasn't being well represented.  In fact, I found more statments opposing it, than supporting it.  From the statement above, we can see that main focus is on the 'violent surface action' and its relation to grace and mystery.  So in my opinion, I guess we are trying to figure out if violence is evil or justified? (Compare and contrast paper maybe?)

I focused on the first 3 pages of the essay and I found that the gereral gist was that Desmond was going back and forth on whether the Misfit was good or bad. I found a lot of supporting evidence that stated that he wasn't evil for ex:

"At the same time, it is also true to say that, excepting Satan, no one should be called totally evil, certainly not in any absolute sense (129).

"...evil has no being, and that evil always appears as a good to the one who commits it, i.e., as something good for him (129)."

"The desire itself is good; the Psalms exalt the human longing for a world of justice and constancy (130)."

To me, it's as if Desmond is saying (although not in a literal tense), the misfit is evil, but then showing countless examples of how he technically isn't.  Honestly, I feel that there is an extreme lack of focus here to the thesis statement, and the paper itself.  Angela makes a good statement on her blog about this as well.

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Editied 3/12/08

We focused a great deal of our lecture  on this piece today.  When I first read Desmond's piece, my first reaction was as I stated above in my entry.  I understand why he was 'wishy washy' in his saying. He was producing both sides of the character, which is a good for a compare and contrast for the reader. I also get the fact about him implenting this to show that one person can not be wholly good nor wholly bad.

Still, my only problem with Desmond is his lack of focus with his thesis statement. With the way he stated it, I had no idea that he was going to present both sides of the issue.  Desmond writes a great analysis on the story, I just think that he should have been more specific to this thesis.

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I can actually understand where Rudy is coming from.

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"Noooo," she said and leaned her round red face between the two nearest poles.  She looked down into the stairwell and gave a long hollow wail that widened and echoed as it went down. The stair cavern was dark green and mole-colored and the wail sounded at the very bottom like a voice answering her.  She gasped and shut her eyes. No. No. It couldn't be any baby.  She was not going to have something waiting in her to maker her deader, she was not (O'Connor 78)."

Surprisingly, I can actually understand where Rudy is coming from.  She was surrounded by death her entire childhood, and honestly it effected her, as it would anyone. If you put yourself in her position as a child, you would have the idea instilled your head, that if you had children, the same thing could/would happen to you.  Obviously, even in her adult years, she is still terrified of the idea of having a child. I don't think that she is being pessimistic in the sense of oh, I don't want to be a mother and have to give up my time for a child though.I think she is breaking down because she is scared, and that isn't anything to be ashamed of.  Knowing that her mother had to deal with the death of her children and the effect it had on her,  instilled that image in her head.  She dosen't want to have to go through that same pain.  True that Rudy comes off a little pessimistic and *rough on the edges,* but deep down, I think she is just scared. I know that my mom had a very difficult pregnacy with both my brother and me and I won't lie that it scares me because my mom and I are so alike.  It's a scary thought to think that I could go through the same experience.

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Reflection on Angela's Entry

I liked Angela’s entry because I think that she made a very good point, and a clever one at that. I certainly didn’t catch that when I was reading it, so I’m glad that she did. I think that when Rudy looks in the mirror and compares herself to her mother, there is definitely a good chance that she is portrayed as she seems. Stress can kill a person. If your entire life is surrounded by death, stress, and sadness, then naturally it is going to take a tool on you at some point. Especially now that she is pregnant, I think that if the story continued, that we would see more of those traits.

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Sometimes I think the author is writing to me!

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"If you are a capable writer and effective communicator, you could, not doubt, walk into any organization-regardless of whether they sell lug nuts or corn nuts- and write their memos, develop their newsletters, manage their Web site content, or craft their marketing materials. You may even be recompensed handsomely for it.  And if the content of what you're writing about dosen't exactly feed your soul or even float your boat, chances are you could fake it and still turn out good work (Lemire 166)."

I love this quote! I don't know how many times that I've hated writing something and still managed to make it sound good.  But what Lemire is saying is true.  Writers, and English majors in general, have their communication and literary skills working for them. They are adaptable, resourceful and personable (most of the time). 

Ex:  At my current art internship, they were looking for someone to write proposals and articles on the exhibitions. I applied, and have an interview on friday! So thanks to my journalism portfolio, I'm adapting to the situationa and starting my freelance career in the field of my choice.

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The Story of my Life on page 207.

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"It's not that I think the major in English isn't a good program of study, it's just that I don't think it's enough, and I don't think the program I took was organized particulary well-or maybe it's just that there are a few things I wish I had been told (Lemire 207)."

I picked this quote because it reminded me of my parents' constant concern of me becoming an English Literature Major. "...but what are you going to do with it Stephanie? It's not enough to just be an English major?  It's not like a Biology degree where you can go out and get a job in medicine. You like Biology, why dont you do something with a guarentee?"

GAH. First off, I would rather do something that makes me happy in life, then spend my life in misery with what if syndrome.  I also tried to explain to them that English opens so many different doors in the career world and that I would be versitle in my options.  English would equip me with valuable skills in analysis, writing, and speech! It was the best major in the world! Well, until I stepped off my soap box that is.

I love English, don't get me wrong.  But my parents, and Lemire, do have a point.  It's not like you can run out into the streets and scream I'M AN ENGLISH MAJOR, and have a genre of employers run at you.  English majors do run into a lot of work when it comes to finding a job (depending on your field of choice).  That is why I decided that in my case, I was going to take on another major. Art History.

Now mind you, at first, this only pissed my parents off even more.  So now I had TWO majors that weren't a guarentee, hahaha. Some might argue that I just liked being a constant pain towards my parents, but what they didn't realize where the opportunities that were awaiting me!  With my journalism background, combined with my art background, I was ready to load up my resume.

I've already secured 3 internships and 1 (almost 2) part time job[s] as a free lance journalist. It's been a long hard road trying to find and secure jobs, but it's worth it, and I know my experiences here at SHU will only lead to more options.  I know that I have a LOT of work to do in the future, but I'm ready for it, and cannot wait.  I may not start off making the big bucks right away, but I'll sure as hell be happy doing it!

Oh, and the funny part about this, is that I wouldn't have (or most likely wouldn't have) gotten my other two internships if I didn't have a writing portfolio.Those 5 years of journalism classes and free lance writing proved to my employers that I could write, speak, and deliver a polished product.  English has done everything for me because it gave me the tools to start my future.

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"Hello Handsome!"- Young Frankenstein

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"It was a dreary night of November that I beheld the accomplishment of my toils.  With an anxiety that almost amounted to agony, I collected the instruments of life around me, that I might infuse a spark of being into the lifeless thing that lay at my feet. It was already one in the morning; the rain pattered dismally against the panes, and my candle was nearly burnt out, when, by the glimmer of the half-extinguished light, I saw the dull yellow eye of the creature open; it breathed hard and a convulsive motion agitated its limbs.

How can I describe my emotions at this catastrophe, or how delineate the wretch whome with such infinite pains and care I had endeavoured to for? His limbs were in propotion, and I had selected his features as beautiful. Beautiful! Great God! His yellow skin scarcely covered the work of muscles and arteries beneath; his hair was of a lustrous black, and flowing; his teeth of a pearly whitness; but these luxuriances only formed a more horrid contrast with his watery eyes, that seemed almost of the same colour as the dun-white sockets in which they were set, his shriveld complexion and striaght black lips (Hamilton 105)" - Mary Shelley, Frankenstein

Ok, so apart from this being an AMAZING, wonderful, genius story, what else do we note about it? DETAILS DETAILS DETAILS! By Joe, I think you've got it!

How many of you could see the creature coming to life? Feel his gaze upon your face? Shelley does a wonderful job of depicting the intensity of the scene through the enforrcers of mood: a nearly burnt out candle, 1 in the morning, instruments of life.  We feel a morose and darkened tone, because we can sense that he is bringing something death back to life.  We can sense the doctor's insanity, as some may claim, for how can a man take dead tissues and spark them back to life? GENIUS!

We then are given a very in depth visualization of what are creature looks like. Although we know that his limbs are proportioned, I was surprised that we were not given any indication of his height. We know that there was an enormous amount of attention placed on the body cavity, for the author gives us the pigment of his skin, and the reference to the muscles and arteries.  From that detail, we know that great care and patience went into his experiment. 

The best detail of the passage for me, is the description of his eyes. "... a more horrid contrast with his watery eyes, that seemed almost of the same colour as the dun-white sockets in which they were set..."  As readers, we are alarmed by the word horrid, thinking that this is a creature of evil.  We can feel his eyes upon us as we read this.  What gets me is the fact that the author mentioned 'watery eyes.'  For any of you that know the story of Frankenstein, he is in actuality supposed to be a caring, misunderstood creature.  Perhaps the watery eyes are a symbol for his sensitivity, or the fact that he knows he is going to be misjudged. He is awaiting the pain that lies ahead of him.

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"Never mind.  I'm off first thingin the morning to look for a job. No waitressing, nursing homes, or housecleaning this time; I'm psched for a change-retail, maybe, or factory work.  I drive to the two nearest Wal-Marts, fill out applications, then head for a third one a forty-five minute drive away on the opposite edge of the city (Ehrenreich 123)."

This part really frustrated me, and we actually talked a lot about this in my government class last semester.  I think that her book would have been a lot better if she would have stuck to one job.  It really angers me that she set out to see what it was like to be lower class, but never hung around long enough to actually FEEL what it was like.  I mean if you keep changing, you're not really learning anything because you're cheating yourself out of the experience.

How can she say that she knows what it's like to be a waitress, or a house clearner, if she only stuck around in the job for several months?  If she had emergency money set aside, she wasn't technically making a living off her earnings. She still enjoyed luxuries that she wouldn't have had if she was living the life of a lower class, single woman. 

What I really don't understand is how she randomly took days off to find a job.  I know from the experience of waitressing and working with others in that position, that a day or two off of work is almost class suicide.  That's 50 bucks that you're in the hole now.  That's food for the next couple days, or payment for the hotel your staying in.  It's unheard of for the working poor.

I agree with the message that the author was trying to send, but I don't think that she did it to the fullest of her abilities.

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Surprise, Surprise! I Disagree with you... AGAIN!

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"Being a student doesn not give you a sense of what it is like to be a teacher any more than being a hospital patient gives you insight into what it is like to be a doctor or a nurse (Lemire, 18)."

Well, well, well, Mr. Lemire. We meet again in confliction. I hope that you're not taking my comments as offense, but I honestly believe that you wrote a biased book.  How can you make generalized claims like that! Ok let's even out the playing field.  First, I'll pretend that I'm the catcher, and I'm taking in what your giving me, and then I'm going to be the pitcher and throw what I have to say out at you.

Catcher Perspective: A student does not understand what it is like to be a teacher. They do not know what it is like to get up in front of a classroom of people and teach a lesson that they may find intruiging or not.  They don't have to create lesson plans, worry about their contract, or find new creative ways to reach out to the students.  They are not bogged down with pressure of having their students obtain high PSAT scores, or worrying about whether someone new is going to take away their position.  Teachers go through so much that students don't understand, so therefore it is impossible for a student to understand what it is like to be a teacher.(Mr. Lemire, if you're reading this, and I'm getting a wrong impression of this entry, please, let me know what you're trying to convey!)

Pitcher Perspective: A student without a doubt understands what what it is like to be a teacher. We know how it feels to get up in front of our class and give presentations on topic matter that the rest of the room finds boring to death (or hopefully intruiging).  We may not have to create lesson plans, but we create college applications and resumes, not counting THOUSANDS of papers with MOUNDS of research.  True we don't have to worry about contracts as students, but we have to worry about passing our classes and doing well.  We have to find new and creative ways to write and form presentations and as for the security of a postion, we worry about what rank we are! Everyone knows that scholarships are given our to the top 10%, etc. etc. Students go through a lot of the same hardships that teachers go through... sometimes you just have to step out of the box to see it.

I know that I personally never wanted to teach. I couldn't even stand the idea of lecturing to a bunch of students that didn't care what I had to say because they were only there because they had to be.  I got that impression from several of my teachers in the past, and frankly, it annoyed the hell out of me.  How could you take on a position where you are molding the futures of others, and not take it seriously.  It's like you know what you were getting into, but decided to shrug it off your shoulders and dismiss your responsibility.  It was at this point in my life, that I knew that it wasn't an option for me.  I HAD to teach.  Not k-12, university.  I was inspired by the teachers that didn't inspire me! I know that I have a passion for my subject that I am (dilligently) studying, and I know that it is my obligation to share that with others. So saying that a student does not understand what it is like to be a teacher, is in a way almost impossible.  I knew what I teacher should be, was, and was not, and in my future I hope to show my students what a teacher is.

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Um, I don't know about you...but I barely have time to sleep

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“They give you your undergraduate degree because you complete the requirements; they give you the graduate degree because you earn it...the campus life to which you became accustomed in college (naked beer slides, panty raids, destruction of property) doesn’t exist on the postgraduate level” (Lemire 45).

Wow not exactly sure what to even say to this one.  I'm a little taken back to be honest.  It's like he just took his book and slapped me across the face.  Lets have a small recap on my life real quick to put things into perspective:

  • I am currently taking 18 credits here at SHU
  • In addition, I'm also doing an internship that demands 12 hours per week out of my, plus homework on the side or it.
  • I have a work study job
  • I have 2 jobs waiting for me at home
  • I'm starting a free lance journalism career as we speak
  • I am secretary of the English club
  • I write for our school's newspaper
  • I submit to our school's magazine on a regular basis
  • I am a member of S.T.A.N.D.
  • Oh, and I'm A STUDENT WHO IS CONSTANTLY STRESSED OUT WITH THE MOUNDS OF HOMEWORK I HAVE AND THE THOUSANDS OF EXAMS THAT I HAVE TO STUDY FOR.

Needsless to say, there are a few choice words that I would like to say to Mr. Lemire at this moment.  I barely have time to sleep, and he claims that we're all out getting wasted and sexed up?  Whew..... if I wasn't afarid of what would become of my grade, I would tell you exactly what I think of this quote, but for the time being, I'll let you use your imagination.

What a sterotype! I mean I understand that you have less of that when you go to graduate school.  I understand that you are at a higher level of education that demands a lot more out of you, and I even understand that you might feel more pressure.... but WHAT THE HECK! Bad form Mr. Lemire....bad bad bad form

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This sounds familiar, and trust me...that's not a good thing.

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"You might imagine, from a comfortable distance, that people who live, year in and year out, on $6 to $10 an hour have discovered some survival stratagems unknown to the middle class. But no. It's not hard to get my coworkers talking about their living situations, because housing, in almost every case, is the principal sourse of disruption in their lives, the first thing they fill you in on when they arrive from their shifts (Ehrenreich 25)."

I'm sorry to report folks, but I can totally relate to what our author is trying to portray. I've been waitressing at the same restaurant for almost three years now, and most of the people that I work with have been there with me since I started.  We've all gotten pretty close over the years and I've learned a lot about their lives and the past. That makes it harder.

It's hard to imagine, especailly with how fortunate our lives are, to picture ourselves in situations like those mentioned in the book.  I know people who live day to day by the tips that get at work.  I know people that sit in booths with creepy old men and talk to them for hours, just to make sure they get a five dollar tip.  I know people who leave work and have no where to go and are constently worrying about how they are going to get to work the next day because they don't have a car, or the money to pay for a taxi.  I don't know how many of you have experienced anything like this, but it's heartbreaking.

I agree with  Ehrenreich.  This truly is the working poor.  It's not because they are bad people who made bad decisions in their lives.  It's not that they are lazy or unappreciative.  They are probably one of the most hardworking group of people that we will ever meet. Sometimes you just get dealt a bad hand.

It makes you wonder when enough is enough, and the governement NEEDS to step in.  People in our own country are starving, homeless, and poor.  It's time to open our own eyes to things we don't want to see, and that is exactly what Ehrenreich's book does.

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"My brain seems to go sideways," Michael Sims

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Yesterday in Intro. to literary study, we had a speaker come in and talk to us about free lance writing, publishing, finding who we are as writers, etc.  Michael Sims, who is a non-fiction author, gave us some very good insight about what we can be looking forward to in the next few years! 

He gave us several main ideas and then delved deeper into them as he explained their meaning.  Here are some of the random notes I took down, along with insight from myself, Dr. Jerz, and Michael Simms:

Trust the compass- This basically meant that you should trust the inner voice that is speaking to you.  I know that I tried to fight the writer in me because I didn't want to believe in making writing a career.  I didn't want to have to deal with the struggle and the label of a starving artist.  But if you trust you instincts, you can make something work for you.  Anything is possible.

Start Today- Ok self explanatory right?  Start your career today!  But we all know this isn't quite as possible as we would like it to be.  Whether we're swamped with mounds of homework, practicing for recitals, or memorizing math equations, WE'RE STREESED AND WE'RE SWAMPED! Well guess what.  This may come as a surprise but everyone is.  The trick is accepting it, and trying to still find time for your work and yourself.  Sims and Jerz were talking about one woman who made a consious effor to get up early and write one page a day for her mystery novel.  Do the math and that's a novel a year.  See. It's possible.  We just need to discipline ourselves.

Draw a map- This one I found very interesting. It's short, sweet and to the point.  Visualize it. See your goal. Take it in. Smell the idea.  Feel the idea.....AND THEN DO IT! Don't fall into the 'imposter syndrome' as Sims calls it.

Direct the change-   His lecture on this was very inspiring.  He stated that our life is going to change no matter what.  The fact of the matter is hour are we going to react when it does?  Are we going to accept it and settle with what we have, or are we going to take charge and make these changes work for us?  At this point, I'm thinking he could have been a life coach because that's really good advice for anything really!  Our life is what we make of it.  We can be happy or we can be sad.  It's up to us! Seize the day!

Seek criticism-  Ok. So we all hate to be criticized for something that we worked 12 hours on and gave it our all.  It sucks.  There is no getting around that.  Sure we wish that everyone would tell us that we're wonderful, and that we're the best writers ever, but if that happened, would we learn anything?  Would we ever learn how to improve and make it that much better?  Dr. Jerz once said, "murder your darlings."  It means that sometimes, even when you think something is perfect, it may be unclear, confusing, or pointless for your readers.  Sometimes you have to change something to make it better.  And there is no shame in that.  No one is perfect, and criticism is a tool to help make you improve, not bring down your self-esteem.

Gamble-  Real simple.  Take chances.  I know that after I went to the lunch with him and my peers he gave me some very important advice.  I have been writing for newspapers for what seems like a lifetime now, and he said if you have the background, try to make something of it!  Why not send your work our and see if you can do some freelance?  And you know what, he's right!  What's it going to hurt?  Why not take a chance, because how will you ever know unless you try!  I actually went to a source I know, and they are getting me in contact with editors and what not as we speak, so that's proof that there are people waiting for your work, you just have to take a chance!

List it-  Michael Sims made a very good point with this part of his speech.  He commented on our resumes and how anything we do can be useful.  List what you've wrote.  List what magazines, newspapers, yearbooks, etc. that you've worked on.  Don't cut yourself short!  He said something along the lines of the best part is being able to cross something off your list, and if you think about it, he's right!  Because if you can cross something off, that mean's you've gotten more experienced and more work opportunities, and how could that not make someone happy?

I would just like to say that if you haven't had a chance to hear Mr. Sims speak, and you get the opportunity to, DON'T MISS IT. He is a very humorous and intelligent person who knows a great deal about the writing field.  It was very imformative and it helped me a lot to hear his thoughts on agents, publishing, book proposals, etc.  Thanks for coming to SHU Mr. Sims! :)