Yena's Blog
Sunday, November 23, 2003
  Theo Hummer and Herman Cleo's Reading

Theo Hummer is a poet who read us three of her pieces. I very surprised as to how the pieces were presented. The first poem was about her friend and her leaving each other. It was called "Embalm." It was read like dictionary entries, where she said a number before reading from the poem. There was also another person reading the poem. After the author read one part, the other reader would voice in another part. But I wasn't moved about how she read them. I thought she might have been able to capture the reader more by some better inflections in her voice. It was a long poem and I wouldn't have captured the theme of poem if she didn't tell me prior to reading. The only part I really got was the several repititions of "Montana is a huge place and one man is nothing lost inside of it." A slower reading would've been more effective.

As an introduction to her second poem, she read two pieces from a husband and wife couple. The husband was a poet and the wife wrote a memoir. Theo said her poem consists of quotes from these two works and other works we may have read. This reminded me of the piece by Ammiel Alcalay. Again, Theo had assistants. Four other women, stragetically placed, were reading as well. It was interesting to hear the women's voice resound in the room. It was like they were conversing among each other. It would be interesting if we can do the same for Ammiel Alcalay's piece.

Her third piece was a "choose your own adventure" poem. It was called "Parrot's Bride." I didn't quite understand the context of the poem but it was interesting how the choice to "see the king" and the choice of "love" was under the same section.

The second reader was Herman Cleo, who wrote "Losing My Spanish." He was an excellent reader, very passionate and really captured the narrator's character. But he read really fast, I guess its a accentuates the Spanish language. Also, there were many Spanish words. I couldn't visualize exactly where the character was, because sometimes I don't know if what he is saying is actually meant to be happening or if its an exposition. There was also a repition in Spanish in the novel that almost made it sound like a poem.

It was a very relaxing experience, a great calming study break. They even provided snacks.  
  In response to Ari's blog about his ideal audience.

Maybe what we're all looking for when writing is acceptance. That is why we seek to write for audiences who has experienced what we have or aim for audiences our own age and at our own social level. I really cannot fathom having a professional writer or even some random English teacher to read my work because there would always something terribly wrong with what I write, either the ideas do not flow very well, or the words used are not compelling enough. When our goal is to satisfy our readers, we don't seek to extend beyond our "comfort zone" to critical readers who challenge the validity of our work.

And so Ari, I think I do know what you're going for, although I might have interpreted it slight awry from what you were orignially thinking. I don't think there should be a definite answer to this question.  
  My Ideal Reader

I haven't really given thought about who my ideal reader is. It depends on what I'm writing about. But I suppose there is only one person who is my ideal reader. She is my best friend, whom I've known since high school. Some times, my writings reflect the events in my life, my personal history that I have already shared with her, she understands the different perspectives that I'm trying to view my own life. Perhaps I can say that my ideal reader is someone who knows some of my background, who would understand what the more "personal" meanings to words are. This way, they may regard it not as just some random author who is writing about love or life or death, but that they can put a name and history together with the piece.
 
  In response to “Ozymandias” by Percy Bysshe Shelley

The poem, although the narrator is speaking, is viewed from the traveler’s description of what he saw in the desert. His account seems to me of someone who is well acquainted with the history of the statue and the sculptor. Why didn’t the author just start out telling the story? Why was the traveler inputted and what effect does it have on the story?
I suppose having the traveler there puts us on the same perspective as the narrator. He (or she) is like who hearing it from this mysterious person. It’s giving the reader a more agreeable approach in that we’re at the same level of the narrator receiving the information.
The poem paints a vivid picture for us. We can imagine the legs and the head in the sand. The king, Ozymandias, was sculpted with a sneer on his face, telling us he was probably a brute ruler. He had a great empire and controlled vast lands as the words on the pedestal suggested. The inscription brings us back in time, and into the courts of the king when he thought his glory would go on forever. The ending words of the sixth line of the first stanza, I found as a play on words. “Read” is a pun for “red.” It further accentuates the "passion" of Ozymandias for his empire.
In the end, however, there is a spin, a sort of irony. Ozymandias's statue, that boasts of greatness has fallen into the desert. There is nothing around it for miles, and thus nothing to recognize the great things that he had. There is an obsolete feeling. Now the traveler gives another effect. He is one of those rare citizens of the ancient city that was under or was affected by Ozymandias's rule and telling stories of him was customary. Maybe the statue doesn't exist but it is story used to dispaly Ozymandias's demise.  
Tuesday, November 04, 2003
  Faila has her own room in the one story house she lives in with her aunt. The sturdy wooden door to her room is coated with a shade of dark rose to go with the happily colored wall papers of the hallway. Directly across from the door were four floor to ceiling windows that over looked the property laid with grass.
The walls of her room was painted a soft cream and along each wall, if there weren’t portraits of her mother, there were paintings of Calla Lilies. Each portrait was protected by a glass frame with an elaborate gold rim. On the far side of the room stood a full sized bed. The sheets were white with subtle entwining Ivies delicately embroidered with white thread. There were night stands on either side of the bed. Both supported beautiful antique lamps draped with pale yellow lamp shades. Crystal droplets dangled from the bottom of the lampshades.
The other side of the room was occupied by a desk. Faila often left her laptop on all the time even when she’s not there. Beside the laptop was a glass paper weight. Inside the paper weight was a blue flower dappled with ink. She always wondered how the maker got that in there. On the other side of her laptop was a stack of Vogue magazines and Ethan Allen catalogues from the past year. They were separate from the other readers on the book shelf. There was also a wide collection of classics and other magazines she subscribed to. On the same wall of the door were two wardrobes. On top of the wardrobes draped the leaves of potted ferns. Against the wall in between the windows were Peace Lilies in ceramic urns.
The waxed wooden floor gave the room a finishing clean classic feel. To keep a little warmth in, a cream rug was placed in the open area of the room.
 
Tuesday, October 28, 2003
  My house is a single family house attached on both sides to houses that are similarly built. The house is brick, with a stoop, a front garden, and a driveway and back garden that you have to either go around the alley way or through the house to get to. The block was once dominated by young girls playing freeze tag, soccer, ran races and rode bikes. We were pretty diverse: two Indians, an Hispanic, a Filipina, and three Chinese girls. But a few years ago little boys took over as the girls went their separate ways to live their lives. And now, I don’t know whose children they are that are playing around the block. My neighbors are mostly Asians. My aunt and her family live on the same street as our family. There are maybe four out of the twenty that are non-Asian. But noone ever gave much thought to what race or ethnicity lived in the block. Although I think everyone would take notice if an African American family were to move in. I have never looked much into the history of my town. I think it was fostered as a residential area outside an enormous commercial city. But the town incorporated much of the commercialization aspect in that businesses spurted to convenience the inhabitants. I can walk five minutes during any time of the day and any day of the week to get what I need without climbing any hills. I think the fact that it was a residential area with houses and not apartments made me more mild than those who came from the city I am from.  
Monday, October 20, 2003
  My past assignments have mainly been written in poetry form because it is much more flexible. I have attempted many times to write a prose or fictionaly piece, but the task was difficult when motivation was not with me. When my mind is clear and inspiration comes, ideas flow much more logically and easily from my mind to the paper (or the computer). Attempting to write in prose when my mind is jumbled with the day's events was impossible. I found myself writing off track from the original purpose. However with poetry, when I'm not necessarily bound to conformities of sense and logical sentence structures or ideas, my words come out more direct and strong. The overall effect is much more powerful. Sometimes I've taken what I've written down originally meant to be prose and rearranged it to make it more of poetry. However, sometimes, I find writing prose more effective. A topic very vivid in me would be written in prose since it would probably require more detailed images and analogies. What I find very interesting is that I would rather read prose and fiction than poetry. Possibly because it is more logically structured or that I expect it to be logically structured so that my mind catches quicker than I would with poems.  
Wednesday, October 15, 2003
  In reaction to Franz Kafka's "Before the Law," the content of the first sentence was unexpected. I interpreted the title in correlation with time but the first sentence suggests that it actually means in front of. But maybe it does have a lot to do with time since the man spends most of his life imploring the doorkeeper to let him in.

As a whole this piece seems to be a struggle within this man to find justice in the world. And even to his death he cannot find it. In his early years he has great hope as it has suggested: " 'It is possible,' says the doorkeeper." The doorkeeper represents the obstacle to the man's search for justice. The detail of him from the country, suggests that the man is not sophisticated, and he is passive since he would rather beg for admittance than fight the guard to get in. In the man's older years, he "does not know whether the world is really darker or whether his eyes are only deceiving him," He is obscured and conflicted between whether the world really offers any justice or is it he that is blind to what exists around him, for he has found no true resolution to his problem. And we learn that it is a struggle within him because noone else has come to the gate.

The way this piece was written was very powerful. It is written like story one that is told by grandparents to their grandchildren to teach them a lesson. It is written in such language that you know instantly there is a deeper meaning to the story. And it creates a mystery for the audience to ask what the doorkeeper represent and what the man represents. And since this piece was not originally written in English, a person of its native country might better relate and better solve this mystery better than I can.  
  Mysteries are pleasurable for the mere fact that they create suspense. It keeps me on my toes and are captured by the storyas each clue is revealed until the mystery is resolved. I try to be a detective in my own mind in which I assume a responsibility of sorting out the clues. I am attentive to every detail, because anything may be a clue.

I am also fascinated by the ingenius it takes to write mystery. The author needs to execute the sufficent amount of clues at the right time. They also need to decide whether or not to do it explicitly or implicitly. All these things make a difference. It is the element of timely suspense that makes a good mystery movie. If clues are unraveled too quickly, the audience may not capture the essence of the plot. If they are revealed too slowly, they may lose sight of the first clues. Precision is key.

I find people very mysterious sometimes. The most formidable clue about their personality is their first impression on me. But sometimes first impressions are deceptive. It is hard to collect all the clues about a person, because many times they clash and counter each other. And human beings are subject to change without anyone noticing. The mystery will probably never be solved. 
Wednesday, October 08, 2003
  In a literal sense, Love is "strong affection for another arising out of kinship or personal ties, " and Story is an "account of incidents or events." So when we tell a love story, we basically giving details about what happened during our affection or someone else's affection. The problematic part of telling a love story however is where to start. When I was writing my love story I was between whether to begin focusing on the main character who is telling the story before the affection was present, or to jump right into it. It is also confusing sometimes as to when the affection started. Many times the exact moment of affection is not identified and thus it is up to the audience to take the serious of events and interpret when the affection started.

Love stories are told because it is a universal topic. It is a topic anyone can relate to. When I read a love story, it probes my emotions and when a story achieves this, a reader can indulge him or herself into the story. When we read love stories, the language is less apparent. We are more interested in the plot, climax and outcome. But language plays an important part in love stories in that they convey different tones that may divert our emotions when reading. You can read two stories about the same subject with the same plot but choice of words may alter emotions.

Love does not always have to be a story. You obviously don't need to tell yourself a story to prove your affection. But the most effective way to present it to other people is by telling a story, and possibly a way of providing evidence to the question of "How do you know you really love him?"

From all the books and stories I've read across many different genres, each one of them does have a form of love. However the love varies in degree between the stories.  
Tuesday, September 30, 2003
  One of my favorite pieces of music is Canon in D Major by Pachebel. It is a classical piece composed by Johann Pachebel, a German organist in the late 17th century. I first heard this piece during my freshman year at a friend’s room. I’ve listened to this on many occasions, usually when I’m by myself or in the car. It brings up joyful and sorrowful feelings, its just peaceful. I don’t associate it with any memory. The piece more prompts my imagination, to think of what can be or fantasize about what can’t.  
  The best time to write is right when I wake up in the morning. My thoughts come more fluidly. Where I write would depend on what I’m writing. When writing a creative piece, I stay in my dorm room by myself, with no human distractions, but I let all the sounds outside meld in with my thoughts. When writing a technical paper for a class, I do it in the library, or else things in my room would distract me. When writing a personal letter, I do it in between classes or sometimes even during class. This is the only genre of writing I do with the classic pen and paper. My thoughts are usually all over the place because I can’t go back and insert what I wanted to say into what I have wrote prior. I think if I were to write all my papers with a pen, they would be a lot shorter and precise, just for the fact that the muscles in my arms are too lazy to write more long, elaborate sentences.  
  Firelight
Edwin Arlington Robinson

TEN years together without yet a cloud,
They seek each other’s eyes at intervals
Of gratefulness to firelight and four walls
For love’s obliteration of the crowd.
Serenely and perennially endowed
And bowered as few may be, their joy recalls
No snake, no sword; and over them there falls
The blessing of what neither says aloud.

Wiser for silence, they were not so glad
Were she to read the graven tale of lines
On the wan face of one somewhere alone;
Nor were they more content could he have had
Her thoughts a moment since of one who shines
Apart, and would be hers if he had known.


Even As I Hold You
Alice Walker

Even as I hold you
I think of you as someone gone
far, far away. Your eyes the color
of pennies in a bowl of dark honey
bringing sweet light to someone else
your black hair slipping through my fingers
is the flash of your head going
around a corner
your smile, breaking before me,
the flippant last turn
of a revolving door,
emptying you out, changed,
away from me.
Even as I hold you
I am letting go.

The resonances, conversations and connections of these two pieces revolve around the subject of love. It was difficult to realize any comparable resonance unless I read it out loud. The first poem is has a faster paced. It requires a louder voice when you read it. The noticeable piece of the poem where is slows down is at “no snake, no sword.” Even the word choices of the first poem reveals a more intense sensation, such as “obliteration,” “firelight,” “graven.” It sounds like something is bursting and exploding and we can almost hear it. The second poem however, reveals a more soothing, lustful experience. The words used here, “dark honey,” “slipping through my fingers,” “flippant last turn,” makes you think of something melting.
 
Engl.280

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