Month: September 2016

Video Script

Due to some troubles with posting a video, I’ll be posting the short script instead. At least for now.

“We had a peer review of our literacy narratives’ and the basis of what my peers told me was to expand on the points that I made in my reading and writing history. They want more detail and connections throughout the text.

Most of what I heard was that the beginning and the end were strong. And that led me to believe that the middle and where I talk about my old teacher need to be explored a bit more and turned into a more story like setting.

Honestly, when I was initially writing, I debated cutting out the teacher section. But I find that he was an influential part on the writing side of my literacy history. My aunt was the reading but he was the writing. It wouldn’t feel right to cut that side of the story out. So I’ll go back and look for ways to connect it more and create a better flow throughout the piece. Maybe he doesn’t need such a large portion, but I think it’s an important part that needs some recognition.”

Part 7

She was young. Not even 50 yet. Maybe not even 40. She had crazy long blonde hair that fell to her waist. Her eyes were blue and warm. Her glasses were all different forms of funky, the lenses ranged from pink to purple. And she had a smile that warmed your heart. And I didn’t know her for long. But she is part of the reason, I am the way I am. This woman, I know she’s important to me. But her face and even her voice evade me. There are things that when I was little, I refused to understand. And even now, I cling to the allusion that everything will be alright and avoid the big questions of life. Because I am happier pretending that it is all going to be okay. That I didn’t lose this woman to cancer, that I don’t remember anything at all. And that the truth of everything I knew was sugar coated and told with childcare gloves on. When I was little, everything was picture perfect. To protect me, my parents shielded me. But I find that because of that, I often lack empathy. That I lack understanding. My parents who didn’t want me to grow old too fast, aided me in never growing at all. Which is probably why I hold onto treetops. I hold onto this magical place where everything was perfect and magic existed. Because now, it doesn’t exist. It can’t exist. And sometimes I wonder if it ever did.

Part 6

It’s quiet out. I can only see from the light of the porch. And of the soft glow seeping out from the screen door. It’s quiet inside the cabin. Only the chirps of crickets and other bugs can be heard tonight. Pine needles litter the forest floor, turning it orange. It’s cool out. I’m snuggled up against my aunt. On the other side of her is my sister. In a clear crisp voice, my aunt breaks the silence of the night. It starts out with the first line, and is followed by another. And then another. As she talks, magic starts to fill the air. Sparks of excitement and mystery. It’s brilliant. As she speaks, the magic is released. A new world is thrusted upon us, holding out a hand. Magic, I believe, does exist. How can it not? In this moment, it’s all I see. The world is infinite and I have discovered that there are no limits. All because of my aunt. And her power to release this new world. What kind of talent does that take? To bring people to a new place, simply with their voice alone? My young mind cannot accept anything less than magic exists. And to this day, a young part of me yearns for it to be true.

Part 5

How times have changed. Nowadays, one book isn’t worth much. A decade ago, they had alarm systems in the library and an overdue book was no laughing matter. Now, the only books that matter are the ones that you treasure. For some people that means the book itself, and for others it is the content of the books. Personally, it’s a little bit of both. Looking at a cover, I can recall most of the details of any story that I’ve read. The words are all familiar and the details unchanging. But the books that I’ve read are also familiar. My books are all well-loved and worn. Food and drinks spilled on them, they are broken in. But for the books that my aunt read to me, it was her voice that mattered. She is the one who brought the story to life. Her colorful voice poured out the words and now as time passes by, her voice fades. And unlike books, I can’t revisit her voice and refresh it. My memory is only so good. And with time, it disappears more each day.

Part 4

“What do you mean, I was only 3 or 4 years old?” I could have sworn that I was older. In the pictures, I thought I was older. No wonder the memories escape me. It was 15 years ago that I went there. Strange how that seems like it should be nothing looking back. Experiencing it though, it feels like an eternity. 15 years ago. I was sitting out on a tiny porch with my aunt and my sister, reading a book. My parents could have been there or they could be somewhere far away. Funny how some things are held onto. And scary how some things fade away so easily. How many small details of this supposedly important moment have I forgotten? How many big details?

Part 3

Writing it down, over and over again. There is no end to it. It just keeps on going. Close your eyes. Look back in your mind. See it. Capture it. Try to remember. I can’t though. Trying to think about my sister who I know was there. Yet I can’t remember anything about her at that moment. Was she looking at the pages? Or was she staring off into the distance? Were her eyes closed? This is one moment that I have held onto for years. Over a decade now. And yet I can’t remember my sister. She’s just gone. She doesn’t exist. It’s strange how that works. Was she even there? Everyone tells me that she was there. She even shares some of the memories with me. Yet she isn’t there in my head. In my head, it’s my aunt and me. Regardless of the pictures that tell me otherwise. It’s just me and my aunt. I have no memories of anyone else. I use logic to muddle my way through most of it. The second book, I know we started it there. And I know we borrowed it. So someone else had to be there. I know that we spent a lot of time on a boat, but neither my sister, my aunt or I could drive one. So someone else was there too. But who? I don’t know. I can’t even remember my sister being there.

Part 2

What is there to say? The bugs that hung around the lights were big and tiny. Most of them were moths that just fluttered around harmlessly. None of them came near us. We were sitting curled up together in a position that allowed all of us a glimpse at the pages, at the words that covered them. IT was a warm night, not cold enough for a blanket but not warm enough to be left out in shorts. We were already set for bed, in our pajamas.

Fireflies lighted up the trees out in the distance. If I looked around, I could spot the main house. Their lights were on. If you listened quietly, you could hear their murmur.  But not much else. Maybe the chirps of crickets or the coo of an owl. Most of what I remember, I’m not even sure that I remember. The grain of the wood on the porch comes to mind in detail. It was just a small porch. Big enough for a seat but not enough for a grill. It was plain with no overhead protection. Maybe there were railings. Probably not. It was only a foot off the ground. Pine needles littered the ground. It was orange in some places. And in others it was dirt. Out where the trees were cut down, that’s where the grass was. But I liked it better in the trees.

If you looked straight up, you could see it. The night sky. Some nights the moon was there, shining bright. Other nights, clouds covered it and casted an eerie glow on the cabin.

The pain of recalling the past, it isn’t because it’s hard to relive them. It’s because you realize how much you don’t remember and you have to admit you’ve gotten it. That the memory is gone in so many ways. That the important bits aren’t there like they used to be. That fact and fiction start to blur together.

On Looking and Looking Again… part 1

There it is again. The soft murmur of words. Being read over and over again. Maybe they have meaning. Maybe they don’t. I don’t know. I stopped listening to the words as a whole a long time ago. Now they just rush over me and recede, like waves. The quiet tide of her voice, soothes me. My sister is staring at the pages too. But she isn’t speaking, her eyes are glazed over. She’s listening. More than that, she’s hearing. I’m not. There’s too many things to look at. The trees. The night. The light that we’re reading from. The owls. The owls. They are still there. They’ve been there now for a while. Making a chilling sound, waiting for the right time to strike at whatever meal they want tonight.

Magic still existed back then. Hogwarts was still a real place. But it was so far away from me. I still don’t remember anything from the books. The words just washed over me. My aunt devoured the books for us over the short week that we were there. She borrowed the second book from the main house and devoured that one too. She made a funny voice for Dobby. I can’t remember anything else. But her voice. The owls. The porch light. And the trees that seemed to glow in the night. I remember that I believed in magic. In possibilities. Now I’m not sure. Maybe this is all just to feel close to her again. To spend time with her spirit as if it were still here. I don’t know. But she’s gone now. And so is her voice. She stopped reading halfway through the fourth book. Maybe I’ll never know the ending. Maybe it was supposed to stop there. But that’s when the magic stopped. And I couldn’t finish it. Maybe one day, I’ll go back to the owls. Back to that place, and she’ll be there. Probably not. Magic doesn’t exist anymore. At least, not for me.

Prewriting Previews

Prewriting is both freeing and frustracting. I enjoy it because it leaves you free to do what you want. You don’t need to connect paragraphs and thoughts. You can pick up at one place and then drop your thoughts and move on. You’re allowed to be chaotic. But that’s also frustrating because all of these ideas that are being generated, how are you supposed to connect them later on?

I’m a personal fan of just making bullet points or making a web of things that would like to be included and then just start writing. A lot of the prewriting that I do, I tend to do it mentally. I’ll add a couple words onto a list and then go back and expand them. After I’ve found all of the thoughts that I like, I’ll start to form a rough outline for how I want the story to progress. At this point, I’ve only just started to expand on my thoughts and haven’t formed an outline or deepened most of my thoughts on the topic.

This week’s literacy narrative sneak peaks:

1. Ever since I was little, I was making up stories in my head. Whether it was with my toys or with my mind alone, stories were always happening all around me.

When you’re young, creativity has no limit. The shapes in the clouds could become this epic tale of courage, or the ants on the ground could become the ones to save the earth. There’s no end to it. When you’re little, everything has a story and I always took the time to hear them all.

When I knew how to write, the stories started to come to life. Of course my diction was limited and unrefined. And most of my stories never got beyond the introduction or the first few pages. Writing takes time and determination.

The first serious story I attempted, only made it to about 40 pages in an old note book. The next big one was to 10,000 words on the computer. And now my newest record of 33,000 words.

Time and time again, I seem to come back to writing. I can’t escape it, there are stories that I want to have written down, to see the ending to. But the words always seem to run dry. How does one find the descriptions to what they see? A picture is worth a thousand words? How it that possible? There is only so much that can be said without making the piece dry and lifeless. There should be mystery left to what is seen.

 

2. I remember when the rules of writing were lifted. Ninth grade. In my opinion, that was the first teacher who really taught. He took the old rules and restrictions, and tossed them out the window. Of course, none of us fell easily. But he didn’t give up either. He would throw strategy after strategy at us until we didn’t know the rules anymore. And by the end of it, all of us were surprised that we hadn’t realized it long ago. Writing is a freeform sport. There are no rules and guidelines that have to be followed to make a moving piece. And no real writer ever actually bends to the 5 paragraph essays that they smother us with early on.

We are free to write how we please. Elementary, middle, and high school are unfortunate places that don’t cultivate writing more. For the first few years as writers, they force us into molds and chip away at anything that falls outside of it. We write to please an audience instead of ourselves. Words are meaningless unless they have conviction. But how did we ever have conviction before we were allowed to be free?

Reading Superman and Me

image-1One of my favorite things about great writers is that you don’t even notice that you’re reading. It comes as a shock when you reach the end.  At points in this reading, I had to stop and just appreciate what this writer was capable of. He explores many points of this story, and is very open with his own short-comings. The attention to detail is excellent.  The opening sentence just reels you in. The entire piece is very creative yet feels so image-1-1honest. The writing doesn’t stick to just one piece of the story. It moves around and jumps from point to point. Actually it glides more than anything. And while he raises many points, he’s not afraid to backtrack and explain other details further. The writing is very fluid.

It’s easy enough to have a conversation with him. Which is what annotating is all about. Reading can be more than just a one way street. Annotating helps to achieve a deeper understanding of where the author is coming from and where he is heading.