Tuesday, January 20, 2009

=]


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Meet my great-uncle Wendell.
Weeks ago he was injured in an accident: crushed by a tree.
Doctors told him he would never walk again, assuming he survived.

He proved them wrong.
He's chasing them around the hospital in his wheelchair now...and he's learning to walk again.

Just another case to prove that no one should ever abandon hope.
=]

Wednesday, January 14, 2009

A response to Twilight haters:


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Ahem. *takes out soapbox*

 Today in my first class, Principles of Literary Study, we were having a conversation about what it is that constitutes a piece to be qualified as Literature. (With a capital "L.") My definition, which is similar to most of the other ones proposed, is this: Literature is a piece of writing that doesn't end when you stop reading it. It is, in two words, haunting and profound. It has a meaning that is deeper than the meaning of a flat and simple story. It is something that alters how you look at your life, and something that is well written, perhaps conveying its message through symbols or allegory.

One girl spoke up to say that there must be lines drawn on what is considered Literature, because there are some that would call Twilight Literature, and it is (and these are not my words) "the worst writing I've ever seen." Another quickly chimed in with similar disgust.

I was more than a little annoyed.

I am, yes, a hard-core fan, but even objectively it is clear that this series is nothing to scoff at. It, as well as series such as Rowling's Harry Potter, have literally saved a generation of readers. Plenty of young adults and children started to appreciate writing again because of these highly popular novels. They are certainly examples of writing at it's most powerful, if not its most complexly penned.

But to refer back to the definition, these books most definitely fit it. They tell a story which speaks to many young women of today's society. In this fast paced world of women's rights activists and the constant debate of a woman's place, it has become almost frowned upon for women to feel comfortable being housewives. This is a sad fact. While it is indisputabley wonderful that women are given the oppurtunity to explore any field they desire, it's a shame that homemaking is a skill and value that has become all but lost in American society. Meyer's series exhibits a strong female heroine who chooses, though she knows the stereotype she faces, to marry someone she loves at a very young age. This can be said to serve as an example, showing young girls that while they have numerous options they should not rule out this one merely because it is "old fashioned."

The novels are also a clear example of a "haunting" tale. They have gathered quite a following of dedicated fans and supporters, and are not easily forgotten. I have read the series no less than seven times and still find it fascinating. Meyer has a way of making readers fall in love with her characters that cannot be questioned. Even the young lady that complained about Meyer's writing style admitted that she was attatched to the characters themselves.

I cannot understand how a piece of writing nationally hailed as a great work of fiction, can be called "bad" writing.  Saying it isn't to your tastes is one thing, but calling it all out "bad" is another entirely. It is true that Meyer uses a common voice, devoid of complicated metaphores and symbols, but this in itself is part of what makes the novels so compelling. The plot speaks for itself, not relying on flowery figures of speech to make its message clear.  The beauty of the love in the books draws readers in. For evidence simply consult any best seller list or turn on any news station.

One might also remember that Dickens' style of writing has been complained about for years. It was his story-telling that kept his words alive, as he wrote his great works for publication in installments in a column. Also, in Dickens' day his speech was not all that uncommon. Sure, it wasn't exactly street lingo, but it was understood by the general public. Meyer's is the same. The language is simple enough for the average American to grasp, but isn't what one would call elementary either.

If, by some small chance, there is anyone out there who hasn't yet been exposed to Meyer's work, you can see her web page here.

Tuesday, January 13, 2009

A Book of Note

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This Christmas, like most, I recieved a gift card to a bookstore. I'm a very booky person so I loved it. I immediately spent it, and one of the books I chose was The True and Outstanding Adventures of the Hunt Sisters by Elisabeth Robinson. It was incredible, and just what I was looking for.

The book is entirely composed of letters, which I found fascinating.  Contrary to what you may first think, the reader doesn't really miss much information from this point of view. In fact, I think it adds even more insight into the narrator as it shows the audience exactly how she is percieved by those around her.

The main character, Olivia Hunt, is a movie producer, a daughter, a friend and pen-pal, an ex, and most importantly in this novel, she is big sister to Maddy, the baby she was allowed to name. The novel follows Olivia through her effort to make a new version of the movie Don Quixote which she feels is pure genius, but which studios pass up as too expensive and depressing. It also watches her fight to save the life of her sister Maddy, who is struggling in a downward spiral with Leukemia.

Readers watch as Olivia's previously full and adventurous life seems to fall to shambles around her, and then witness the bravery and strength of the human heart as she carefully picks it back up again. Robinson has crafted both a light and uplifting read, as well as one that will pain your heart. It is truly a book that could be passed round a circle of friends for years, and with but one caution: snuggle into it with a blanket and a plate of cookies. You won't want to put it down.

Another First Day

Well. Today was the day. I was so anxious that I woke up at 3:40a.m. and could not (despite desperately wanting to, and shoving my head under a pillow) get myself back to sleep. I woke up, dressed, went out for pancakes with Kyle, said my goodbyes (a bit tearful), and jumped in my car, college-bound.

It was not an enjoyable trip. The radio was not friendly. There were either stupid talking radio hosts or commercials the entire way. In the end I resorted to replaying my well loved Twilight soundtrack. I think I've memorized nearly the entire thing now, or at least my favorites anyway. Then, half-way back to campus, I realize I left my class schedule and have absolutely no idea where I need to be at 9:05. This resulted in a few phone calls until I reached Kyle and made him look it up for me.

But then I arrived at my first class. Something incredible happened. I was shocked for the first time in a classroom. My nine'o'clock is "Principles of Literary Study," a gold mine of fun for English majors such as myself. My professor is, so far, amazing. It's like he speaks directly from my heart, which is odd. There aren't many people in the world that share a passion for books and the written word to the extent that I do. I am in love with this class. It's incredible.

The three classes that succeeded that one were decent, and I had a friend in each and every one. It suffices to say that I am pleased with my day. I was pleasantly surprised. And while it will probably be a considerable amount more work than last semester ever dreamed of being, I think it will be rewarding enough to be worth it.

On another note: I went to a gym today. This will shock those of you readers that actually know me. I'm not athletic at all. It was really Kylie's idea, but it turned out to be fun. We're planning to make it a routine, our attempt at distracting ourselves from missing our boyfriends, both of whom live a city (two in her case) away. It worked...for about an hour or so. Then it was back to missing them. But hey, there are phones right? We'll survive.

I'm a bit disgusted with myself on one point, though. I didn't find that job. I
am looking, it just isn't exactly going as I'd planned. I didn't figure our nations rapidly failing economy into the equation and it seems it carries more weigth then my determination does. Oh well. I'm trying. It's the best I can do.

Until next time...I'll just be roaming campus and doing homework. Best of luck to any other college freshman out there trying not to drown in a massive sea of textbooks and midterm regulations.

Friday, January 2, 2009

Starting Over, Once Again

Just when I am getting one year under control it's time to start another one. I can't complain though. I love my hectic life. I have only one more week until the spring semester of college starts, and only one more day before I have to start a desperate hunt for a job. I don't mind. I like being busy. I will miss the extra freedom I allowed myself to have last semester though. I didn't want to overload myself and work through my first semester of school...but I think I made myself a little spoiled. I know I'll view those first few weeks of a busy routine grudgingly, but after I get into the swing of things I'll love it. I adore the feeling of being productive. That's actually why I like blogging here so much. I like the feeling of accomplishing something that others can observe.

It seems as though today everyone is talking about their New Year's resolutions. I don't make them. For me, a New Year's resolution has become a goal that I say I need to accomplish, but by acknowledging it, admit that I probably won't. Instead of wasting a perfectly good piece of paper on a useless list of tasks I'll ignore, I've decided to pick one goal to work on at a time. Currently, I'm going to find myself a job. I'll figure any other problems out later. This one is imperative. I need to start taking care of myself rather than depending on other people for support. I know I can do this, and so I am going to. The hunt is on tomorrow.

I have also officially decided that it is probably best for me to change my major. Much as I'd like to believe that I could bear teaching a room full of irresponsible and immature high-schoolers every day, I know that this is simply not true. I have a passion for literature and writing that I want to share with people who appreciate it, not with kids that would just as soon drop my course at the first opportunity for some easy-A-elective. I think I want to major in Literature, maybe with a Creative Writing minor. I'm not entirely sure what I'd do with that degree, maybe become a college professor after a few more years of book-hitting, but I'll figure that out later. A professor of mine whom I particularly admire said that if you choose a major that lets you follow your interests and passions you can't go wrong. I really hope he is right...and I think that he is.

A happy New Year to anyone reading out there, and a wonderful new beginning for anyone that needs it. I wish you all the best with your resolutions. Hopefully you do much better with yours than I do with mine. =]