Thursday, October 18, 2012


“The conscious mind seems to block that feeling of oneness so we can function efficiently, maneuver in the world a little bit better, get our taxes done on time.”

I like this quote because it gives a little insight onto the human nature of thinking about “just you.”  We focus on ourselves in our daily lives, for the most part, making our selves our own top priority.  We have friends and family that we care about and this doesn’t necessarily apply to them but when you meet a stranger or you see someone on the street, for the most part, people don’t care. We loose a feeling of connection with other people.  There’s no empathy.  I don’t necessarily think this is a good or a bad thing, but that’s the way it is.  But to be a good writer, you have to be able to put yourself in other people’s shoes.  You have to be able to think what they’re thinking and feel what they’re feeling so you can express it on paper.  And that for the most part, with most people; is lost.  I think to bring it back all you have to do is care.

“But it’s even possible to have this feeling when you see - really see – a police officer, when you look right at him and you see that he’s a living breathing person who like everyone else is suffering like a son of a bitch, and you don’t see him with a transparency over him of all the images of violence and chaos and danger that cops represent.  You accept him as an equal.”

I like this quote because it’s a continuation of the last quote.  “To look tenderly and with recognition (of life, living, breathing, own agenda).”  You can do this when you look at anything really.  The author explains how it’s easy to look at certain things in this manner; your baby, a cute animal, something of that sort, and feel connected.  But it’s a lot harder to do it with other things.  And that’s where we loose our sense of caring and become apathetic.  We have to look at something and actually try to see them for what they are.  Think about what they’re going through and how they’re feeling.  It might not come naturally, especially if it’s not someone you know or care about.  You have to do it purposely and want to do it.  If you do that, you’ll start to see more than meets the eye.  You’ll realize that’s more than some random person.  That’s someone’s father, mother, son, daughter, friend, etc.  You’ll realize they have their own life and their own story.  You’ll realize they’re a person just like you, and you’ll feel connected.  I like this because I’ve always been a strong believer on looking at people for more than the obvious, to try to put yourself in their shoes.  I know everyone has their own personal story, and I could never know it by just looking, but just realizing they a person has their own story and problems goes a long way in itself. 

“There is ecstasy in paying attention.”

I like this quote because it reminds me a lot of the art class I’m taking.  Art 1000C: the Creative Process.  The class is all about experiencing things rather than just viewing or hearing them.  To experience everything (it almost makes me think of being on drugs-which I don’t do I might add) takes everything to a different level.  There’s a difference between simply going to dinner and simply eating and experiencing it all.  It’s something else to really feel the music in the restaurant, the d├ęcor, the mood, to really smell the smell and to really taste the food.  It definitely does make it a completely different experience, possibly bringing you to ecstasy.

Tuesday, October 16, 2012


Writing essay #3 was enjoyable.  I really enjoyed the up series.  Personally; even though it was meant to be enlightening and though provoking (which it ways), I though it was simply entertaining above all. 
            I’ve mentioned this before but I disagree with the Jesuit maxim the series is based on.  The Jesuit maxim can be taken many different ways but I do believe the directors intent with the series was to show that one’s social and economical backgrounds define their lives and restrict them to the social class they where born in.  I’m against that for very personal reasons; I do not believe in any sort of predetermined future (destiny, fortune, etc) and believe that we make our own life.  Through hard word and dedication we can accomplish any realistic dreams. 
            Writing the paper wasn’t hard.  Since I feel so strongly about the Jesuit maxim was wrong, I knew the intention of my paper as soon as I read the assignment instructions.  Tony, being my favorite character, and being a perfect example for my paper; was the natural choice.  He was born into the low class, attended public school (dropping out at 15) and still made it out of the East Side of London.  He set realistic goals for himself and accomplished them.  He has a nice house and makes enough money to support his family and be comfortable.  He disproved the Jesuit maxim.
            If I could revise my paper, I would go into more detail on what I personally believe to be the directors’ intent.  It would give more insight as to why I went the way I did with my paper.  And it would give insight as to why Tony was the natural choice for my paper.  


The up series is a series of videos that follows a group of 14 children from ages seven to 35 at seven-year intervals (starting at seven).  The director meant the films to be a message about how the different social-economical backgrounds in England could pre-determine a child’s life.  He took children from all different backgrounds, some rich, some poor, some in private schools, some in public schools, some girls buy mostly boys, and even one orphan.  He followed the children’s lives and documented their opinions and their progress through their lives.  The films were very interesting to say the least; in general, even if you didn’t get the message the films were trying to deliver.  It was interesting to see these children progress through life and see where they ended up.  Though everyone’s background has an effect on their lives, I don’t agree with the fact that it determines ones life, thus I disagreed with the directors intent and even think the films contradicted his theory.  Not all the children ended up where you would have though they would have ended up if you where judging them from seven years old.  All the children went through some change in character and though they maintained some characteristics they had at seven, by 35 they where very different than at seven.
            My favorite character was Tony.  And in reflecting on the series, I feel the need to mention why.  I feel I can relate with Tony.  He reminds me of many men in my life, he might even remind me of myself (but that’s a bold statement on myself).  Tony was born in the low class, far from rich.  Growing up he knew what he was missing (materialistically).  He also seemed to know that he had limitations in life because of where he came from.  He knew he wouldn’t grow up to be the President or a rocket scientist.  But despite that, he was always a realist and set realistic goals for himself.  And most importantly, he accomplished them. 
            One thing I’d like to mention is that I feel the director left out a huge factor in a child’s life: parents.  The children’s parents were not even mentioned until much later on in the show.  If I have to be honest I’d say that my parents had more on an impact on my life then my environment.  They gave me a view on my environment and helped me form an opinion about it.  They made me realize it wasn’t a dead end street and I could get out of it if I wanted to.  I’m sure the children’s parents had an equally important role in their lives (whether good or bad).  Excluding the parents from the show was unfair to the children as it would have given even more insight as to why the children act the way they do, have the opinions they have, and the ambitions (or lack of) that they have (a good example would be Suzie; when we later find out about her parents we gain insight and empathy with her, it explains her childhood and adolescent years). 
            Manslins review agrees with my view on the film.  He states that even though there is some truth to the Jesuit maxim, it’s also contradicted in fascinating ways.  He gives a few examples of children who contradicted the Jesuit maxim with their changes in personality and the directions their lives took.  I like his review, because it backs up my claims on the film.  I do agree with her assessment that the characters are drooping; only because as the characters get older, they loose a lot of the charm they had as children and also, as they begin to settle down, they become much less interesting.  But such is life.
            To be perfectly honest, I’ve always had a problem with generalizations of any kind.  I’ve always been against stereotypes and any belief that your life is predetermined for any reason (destiny, fortune, etc.).  So naturally, I would disagree with the director’s intent to show that one’s social-economical background would predetermine their lives.  If there where any truth to that, then I, the son of first generation immigrants, who lived in a one –room house most of his life, has no business at St. Johns.  I should be working at some dead end job or some sort of manual labor right now.  I should have no aspirations or ambitions to change my situation.  Therefore I’ll have to admit that I watched the series biased, always looking for an opportunity to prove the Jesuit maxim wrong. 

Thursday, October 4, 2012


"Give me a child until he is 7 and I will show you the man."

My mission statement for essay #3 is to show that the above statement is true in a sense, but not entirely.  No one can predict the future, thus no one can take a 7 year old child and predict what their occupation will be.  But at 7 years old a person will develop some of their characteristics and personality traits that will define them for the rest of their lives.  These traits will decide how the person will react to situations in their lives such as failure, success, love, etc.  A persons social and economical background will always have a limit (or lack of) on the opportunities that present themselves for that person but their character will decide how they handle their lives.  I will use Tony to prove this.  Although his life did not pan out like he hoped, or like most predicted, he is still the same person at heart.  He lives a very different life now (married, children, cab driver), but he is still the same bold, daring person he was at 7 years old.

Monday, October 1, 2012

"Telling The story, Telling the Truth" and "On Voice"

“When you read aloud, extraneous material falls away.  Voice is-as the word itself tells us- the way a writer talks.  You are speaking to your readers.”

I like this quote because it makes a good point about developing your writing voice.  When you read a good article, or a good book, or a good blog, you enjoy it because it “speaks to you.”  It’s not like reading a textbook where you simply read the material and try to learn what you need to learn.  No, it’s more.  The text speaks out to you like someone’s telling you a story.  And if you read your work out loud; as the writer here mentions, the extraneous material falls away.  You should be able to tell what you need and don’t need.  I can think back on reading my favorite books and I realize how the books kept me intrigued because it was like they where spoken to me.

“My desire as a writer is to make it impossible for the U.S. reader to ignore Latin America.  I do that by telling stories.”

  I like this quote and the insight the writer gives on how detailed stories can really get a point across a lot better than a newspaper article or a report on the news.  She goes into more detail throughout the article but I think her point was that when someone watches the news, there’s really no empathy.  I could turn on the news or open the newspaper and read about an earthquake in Haiti, or the atrocities happening in some war-torn country, but that would be about it, I would just read the article or watch the news report.  I wouldn’t really get a feel for what’s going on, and frankly, if its not affecting me directly (which it probably wouldn’t), I probably wouldn’t care much for it.  But to read a story with detail, a person’s story, to learn their person hardships, and share their experiences and feelings through a good book is very different.  I remember learning about the Holocaust in school.  Learning the facts about the war, the casualties, Hitler.  But nothing really hit home with me like reading “Night,” by Elie Wiesel, or “The Diary of a Young Girl.”  Books like those will grab your attention and really give you a feel for what the author is trying to get across. 

 “Writers must give themselves that freedom to fail.  As a dancer I learned that unless I jumped as hard and as high as I could until I fell, I hadn’t found out how hard or high I could jump.  Risk-taking and failure is important.”

I like this quote and I think everyone should be able to relate to it, and not only when it comes to writing, but life in general.  I would never have known I could dead lift 405 lbs if I hadn’t tried lifting past what I knew I could lift.  And I know 405 lbs is the most I can dead lift right now because I tried to lift 425 lbs and failed.  With anything in life you have to push yourself past your limit to find out what your limit actually is and to get passed it.  Writing is no exception.  I think it’s a general conception that writing is hard.  If it where not, we’d all be writing novels like “The Great Gatsby,” or “The Catcher in the Rye.”  Because of this, I think there’s a general fear in trying to really write.  You won’t find out how great of a writer you can really be unless you dare to find out.  


This is reflection on writing essay #2:

Writing the second essay was interesting.  One doesn’t usually sit down and think about their life and how certain events led them in certain directions.  It’s not exactly dinner table conversation.  So it was really interesting to sit down and really think about that and realize what an effect the things we’ve lived through have on us.  The more and more writing I do, in this class as well as outside of it for other classes, I realize how much of an effect our time, our childhood, etc has on the type of person we become as adults.  And having this type of reflection really helps you undertand your self and get to know yourself as a person a little better. 
For the 2nd draft, I added a lot of things.  I went into a lot more detail than the first draft.  This made the essay better, a lot more interesting.  It also helped me paint a better picture of exactly how I was feeling at these points in my life, making it easier to understand how these events led me in the direction that they did.