Tuesday, January 20, 2009

On Essays (Because we just love them...)

Hint: Catch the sarcasm?

(Hey, here's a song to listen to. Lovely, no?)

For my Pre-AP English 10 class (I'm still not used to calling it Honors English), we're beginning essays.

Now, I have had extensive training in this area. Anyone who has ever heard of or been taught by Mrs. Cindy Arnn will understand immediately when I say this. For the better parts of my sixth, seventh, and eighth grade years, I did nothing but write essays and study the intricate clockwork of grammar.

Lately, I'm starting to wonder if Mrs. Gillmore hasn't been channeling Mrs. Arnn. It seems I have skipped from one essay-crazy teacher to another, with the exceptionally refreshing respite of Ms. Peugeot in ninth. Don't get me wrong, all three were/are good teachers.

It's just those dang essays. I can't escape them. Resistance is futile.

I would so much rather just write a short story. That way I could expand on my own personal style, rather than conforming to a very specific outline. I've conformed enough, I think. It's individualism and voice that make a writer's work, not strict guidelines. When you write about something you care about, you want to be able to express yourself in any pattern or manner, any form or unconformity.

Of course, there is a necessity to this sort of writing. Essays in the typical outline and rigidity lay out the paper so that a person can clearly see what they've already said and what they intend to say. It's easy to start rambling in a more free-style paper or story(like I tend to do in blogs). It's harder to get away with slipping in random things into the main idea: dangling ideas, unnecessary comments, and other such offenses. Outline-conformed essays and paragraphs teach a writer to really pay attention to what they're saying. Well, they're supposed to, anyway.

But in the end, even though essays do have some up points, I still can't stand them. And that's really simply because they aren't much fun. It's always been a bit of a dream of mine that an English teacher would just tell us to write a chapter a week for her and compile a novella, or a short-story a week and build up a collection. I always have written better when I'm on a deadline set by someone else and they're expecting something worth reading at said deadline.... That doesn't necessarily include assignments.

Out of the three most major English teachers I've had, I have to say that Ms. Peugeot was my favorite. More than anything else, she put the emphasis on creative writing. She covered grammar and all that, but she let me write. Not in a 'forced me to put words on paper about something that didn't matter to me' way, but in a very nice 'encouraged me to paint a picture in words' kind of way. I rather miss that. (And no, I didn't get put in Honors English last year, but I was more than happy with Ms. Peugeot.)

And see, look, I've been rambling. But as how 90% of what I blog is written (or typed, if you want to be particular) for the sheer purpose of a good ramble, I deem that perfectly acceptable. =D

Here's another one just for giggles. Ignore his weird hat, and I dare you to try not to dance!

Wednesday, January 14, 2009

Because I have little else to do...

There isn't a word in the dictionary I hate more than zephyr.

Say it. Spell it. Think about it.

Stupid word.

(And no, I do not mean Zephyr. I mean zephyr. The word, not the name.)

Horrid, isn't it? It tastes strange on my tongue. And really, that probably isn't a proper reason to hate something, but if I'm allowed to say "I hate potatoes", then I should be allowed to say "I hate zephyr" for the same reason. Even if I don't actually hate a thing, I'm allowed to say I do just because I strongly dislike it. Isn't it interesting how people so often misuse the word hate? Hate is a passion, a consuming fire. It's bloody hate! It's wanting to kill and maim and destroy, it's wanting revenge and suffering. It's an obsession of angry hearts. And people say "I hate broccoli."

And really, I don't know why I chose to post here today. There are four other sights waiting for updates and editing, and I come here, where probably two people at the most will read this and most likely neither of them will care to finish it.

But that's alright.

I dislike (and it amuses me how I typed and had to erase 'hate') how people often say that no one can write for themselves. True, plenty of writers write for the money or the popularity (I won't say any names, but 'vampires' should be a big enough hint...). But then you can read something else and see such an emotion in the words that you feel as if you're intruding on a private, intimate moment. And it's alright, because the writer wrote his or her feelings and then opened their heart to be seen by anyone who cares to look. I daresay that those moments were written purely for the benefit of the writer, and then shared in order to benefit the world.

What really bothers me, though, are signatures- the ones on checks and formal letters. They all look like something a two year old would leave on the wall in permanent marker. The purpose of a signature is to prove your identity. If the signature is ineligible, it's purpose has been defeated by its existence. That should by rights create a paradox!

Monday, January 5, 2009

Friendship in Julius Caesar

A true friend is a weapon and a shield. A false friend is a deadly poison in the cup.

Julius Caesar had his share of both. There was the friend that would stab him in the back... literally. And then there was the friend who would start a war to avenge his death.

Through Brutus and the conspirators, Shakespeare represents friends who were not loyal to any but themselves. Through Antony and Octavian, he shows loyalty that lasts until and after death.

Leadership in Julius Caesar

In The Tragedy of Julius Caesar by William Shakespeare, there are several examples of leadership.

Cassius, a shrewd general of the Romans, leads Brutus to believe that Caesar is too powerful and must die for his ambition. Leading Caesar into the hands of the conspirators, Decius provides another example of leadership. Antony even leads the audience at Caesar's funeral to turn against the conspiritors.

Any ability can be used in a good or bad way. As a weapon, leadership can be used to right a wrong, or to save lives. It can also be used to take them away. Using leadership, the characters in the play displayed this fact acutely.