Archive for April, 2008


Musing

Originally Posted Here: http://colorinschool.livejournal.com/3403.html

  • Apr. 29th, 2008 at 12:19 AM
Hope

Have you ever had a moment where you felt outside of yourself in some regards, as though, for a fraction of a second nothing at all mattered and everything made sense? And after that glimpse the world goes back to normal? I kind of had one of those tonight. I have a friend in Iraq. This is his second tour of duty in Iraq, his third in the war. (His first was in Afghanistan.) He shipped out back in February and I’ve not had a chance to talk to him since. Today I remembered that he has a MySpace page (and by default remembered that -I- have a MySpace page) and went over to check it. He’s made a few blog entries since he’s been there and he seems to be doing okay, or as okay as one can in a war zone. But I suppose, as my thoughts lingered on the end of the semester and the last projects I have to finish, and as everything was a kind of jumble of information, I had one of those moments I mentioned and this was the thought that went through my head:

It does not matter what you politically believe. It does not matter if you think the war is a hoax or a sham or a really bad deal. It does not matter which politician wins the election. It does not matter what grades appear on your transcript. What does matter are the people you hold dear. What does matter is that a friend I love dearly is in a war zone and there’s not a damn thing I can do to make that different; I cannot wish him home.

And from those thoughts, others came…

What matters is that my friend has two small children who deserve to know the amazing man their father is. What matters is that there are thousands of other people like my friend who are in war zones every day fighting for something and what matters is that we remember them. Long after the politicians have quit arguing, long after the cameras have gone home, there will be people who remain in those war zones who will still be fighting for something. And while it’s so easy to say “this is a bad war” (and is there really such a thing as a good war?), it is also important to say “but I stand behind my troops.” Why? Because they are doing something that most of us could never dream of doing and they are doing it willingly, because they believe in something and understand that there are people who are soldiers and people who are not. They understand that war is not pretty, it is not easy, it is not understandable in a fifteen second video clip on the nightly news sandwiched between this murder and that crime, or worse, shoved to the end of the broadcast all together.

People don’t want to hear the number of soldiers who have died; I know I shudder every time I do. Yet even as I have that moment of pain for the ones lost, I also take a moment to have a thought and a prayer for those who remain. War is not pretty. War is not easy. War is not a game that can be turned on or off with a click of your computer mouse, your remote. Long into the night when you are tucked safe in your bed, the war goes on. Long into the night when your children are well cared for, there are soldiers fighting to help other children, children you’ve never heard of, whose names you cannot pronounce. Far removed from the war zones it is easy to tune it out, to pretend that it is, in some way, someone else’s problem…and maybe it is.

And I’m not saying that we should all inundate ourselves with the things our soldiers are facing day-in and day-out because I know how damaging that could be. I’m not saying we all should rush to the nearest recruiting office and go join up, whether we believe in the cause or not. What I am saying is that we need to remember that war is not fought by characters on a screen but instead by real people – people like my friend – and maybe once in awhile we need to say a special prayer, light a special candle, or offer a special whisper of thanks for the ones who -can- be soldiers, who -can- fight the fight, and who -can- carry on.

It almost seems ironic that in my American Studies class we never really discussed the war in Iraq; yet it makes sense. It is a subject that is so filled with emotions: vehemence and apathy and rage and hate and fear and insecurity and uncertainty and a thousand others besides. It is a subject that many shy away from wondering what can be done. I know I don’t have the answer to that; I don’t even propose to have the answer to that.

No, what I have the answer for is simple: whether you know someone there or not, the next time you hear about the war, take a moment to say a quiet “thank you,” to say a quiet prayer, to do whatever it is that you would do to honor someone, to wish someone well, to wish someone safely home again. Take a moment to quietly praise their bravery, their courage, their strength. Take a moment and hug your loved one’s closer. Take a moment and let all of the politics and the vitriol and the negativity go and for a moment remember that we are all here on this planet together as humans and that every life is precious and that somewhere a soldier (no, not just a soldier) – that SOMEONE is doing something that you or I might not be able to do.

Take that moment to not be a Democrat or a Republican or a Christian or a Muslim or a Hindu or a Feminist or an Atheist or a Mother or a Father or a Daughter or a Son or a Brother or a Sister and instead simply be a human in the human race and celebrate the other humans who are alive as well. After that moment, feel free to pick up all of your labels, all of your titles, all of your politics, your religions, your fears, your hopes, your dreams and carry on living, carry on doing what you do.

This became a lot more existential and meandering than I aimed for it to, but for once I just kind of let the words go where they wanted. I’m definitely not looking to start a political argument with this entry; there are plenty of places where a person can do that. Instead, I just started to put words to paper without some lofty goal in mind, without having to frame it for this professor or that class, without having any real expectation of it even being read – writing to ease the soul and gratify the spirit. It’s been awhile since I just sat and wrote. I should get in the habit of doing that more. 🙂

To my heart-friend who occasionally faces off with prairie dogs, remember that you’re never far from home when you’re in our hearts; remember that we love you and support you and miss you and pray for you and hope for you and wait for the days that we’ll see you home again. Thank you…

Little Dorrit

Originally Posted Here: http://colorinschool.livejournal.com/3122.html

  • Apr. 26th, 2008 at 2:41 AM
Fountain Pen

As of tonight, I have officially finished all of my work with Little Dorrit. This book has at times been the bane of my existence simply because I kept having trouble meeting deadlines. But now, all of the assignments for it are completed and turned in and that is a rather huge relief off my shoulders. It is not a bad book; in fact, there were points that it was very enjoyable; however, it was a very long book and I think I’ve found spreading the book across the entire semester to make it seem even longer than it actually is. I don’t think I’ll ever try that particular style of class again because I had more trouble with it than almost any other. Granted some of the times I had trouble getting the reading for that class done were times I was trying to get all of the work for another class done, but it still was problematic. The weekly deadline at the same time every week tended to cause me the most trouble.

I figured out that I had better luck with online deadlines that occurred on the weekend as opposed to those that occurred midweek. All in all, what this particular part of my 19th Century Brit Lit class helped me figure out was that I was not suited for that type of class. I either need a class to be wholly online or wholly in-class. The half and half does not work for me and was too difficult to process at times because I would occasionally forget about Wednesday’s work being due simply because I would think “Okay I do not have to be in class again until Monday,” only to later remember that “Oh no!! I had homework!!” It has been a learning experience and I have learned that Dickens is not the most horrible, awful writer on the planet…but I don’t think I’ll be rushing out to read anything else of his anytime soon. I think I’ve had enough Dickens for the month (and maybe the year)!

What finishing up the novel and all the work that has gone with it also really illustrates that the end of the semester is here. I keep saying that and thinking that, but it is not quite hitting home yet; tonight brought the first time that I realized how close to the end we really are and it was a bit of a shock. I think when the semester is over and I’ve had time to breathe a bit, I’ll have to go back and examine how the entire thing went and perhaps even blog a bit about it!

Originally Posted Here:

  • Apr. 23rd, 2008 at 12:09 AM
Writing

I had meant to post this sooner and forgot! However, if you’re in the Kennesaw area tomorrow and are looking for something to do, the English Department at KSU are sponsoring the second annual Shakespeare’s Birthday Celebration. From 10am-3pm tomorrow, people will be reading all of Shakespeare’s sonnets. There also will be cake around noon! (And who doesn’t love cake?) I will be there pretty much all day. I have to get there around 9 (o_O!!!) because I am reading sonnet 19 which falls into the early set. I also will be in costume because really, how can I possibly turn down the opportunity to parade around campus in costume? I think it’s going to be a lot of fun; at least I hope so!

And for the curious:

Devouring Time, blunt thou the lion’s paws,
And make the earth devour her own sweet brood;
Pluck the keen teeth from the fierce tiger’s jaws,
And burn the long-liv’d phoenix, in her blood;
Make glad and sorry seasons as though flee’st,
And do whate’er thou wilt, swift-footed Time,
To the wide world and all her fading sweets;
But I forbid thee one most heinous crime:
O’ carve not with thy hours my love’s fair brow,
Nor draw no lines there with thine antique pen;
Him in thy course untainted do allow
For beauty’s pattern to succeeding men.
Yet, do thy worst old Time; despite thy wrong,
My love shall in my verse ever live young.

Original Comments:
(Anonymous)

Apr. 25th, 2008 06:59 pm (UTC)
I saw that sign the other day “Happy Birthday Will!” I think it said.. Do you know how old he would have been?
I saw the event in passing – Now I wish I had time to stop! I would have been interested in hearing your sonnet.. and other readings.. as well as everyone in costume!!

Also, I wanted to say it looks like you are keeping up very well with your blog! Alongside your classes and your daughter, it’s nice to see you’ve still set time aside to keep us updated =]

Link | Reply | Thread

colorinschool

Apr. 28th, 2008 07:43 am (UTC)
You should have stopped by! It was tons of fun!

And this year was Shakespeare’s 444th birthday! Wow!

Thank you so much! I feel like I’ve totally been a slacker on it so it’s nice to hear someone thinks differently! Thanks for reading!

 

End of the Semester

Originally Posted Here: http://colorinschool.livejournal.com/2701.html

  • Apr. 21st, 2008 at 3:29 AM
Fountain Pen

The end of the semester is upon us and I cannot believe how insanely busy it has been. I don’t know why I’m all -that- surprised since the end of the semester is always like this; however, I think, as is the case with many things, time had eased the memory a bit! I’ve had major project after major project due, and of course, there’ve been twelve million things going on at home that require attention as well (like refrigerator shopping!).

While all of the projects have been learning experiences in their own way, I think some of the most important things I’ve learned have been on a more personal level. For example, I’ve realized that this blog has been far more stifling than I expected because I limited myself a bit too much in topic. I think after the semester, I will open it up a bit more and since I decided that, I was able to make directional changes with the web content project that I had due for the same class my blog is for. I think it made for dynamic changes and left me a fair bit of flexibility to decide whether or not I want to go both the web site and the blog route or just stick to blogging.

My 19th Century British Literature class is what you call a hybrid class, meaning that we have one day in class and one day we have an assignment due online. At the beginning of the semester, I thought this would be a great setup. It turns out, I was wrong! The fully online class worked out really well for me as the time frames to turn things in was much more flexible. The hybrid class was reading intensive and while I do not think I would want to try to read Little Dorrit in a week or two, breaking it up over the entire semester did not work out well for me either. I missed several journal entries and had trouble keeping up with the book itself.

I’ve yet to decide what it actually was about the hybrid class that made it seemingly impossible to manage, but it was a lot more difficult than I expected and much more difficult than the fully online class was in terms of getting the work done on time. I think I may avoid hybrid classes in the future; at the least, I will avoid hybrid classes set on such a rigid schedule.
While I’ve struggled all semester with trying to sort out a full time course load, as we near the end, I think it was a wise decision to make. I’ve had such a varied mix of classes and topics this semester and yet I’ve constantly been able to make connections that run through all of them and that has been a fascinating and occasionally eye opening experience. We still have a couple of weeks left, and I am likely to be running about like a chicken with my head cut off the whole time; however, as we get to the end, I think I’ll survive it and that’s pretty important. 🙂

A Little Quiz and Answers

Originally Posted Here: http://colorinschool.livejournal.com/2300.html and Here: http://colorinschool.livejournal.com/2536.html

Editor’s Note: I’m modifying this a bit because the original post used a Livejournal poll. I’m just going to omit the poll section and list the questions and options.

  • Apr. 4th, 2008 at 11:00 PM
Fountain Pen

1. “Princes, you know, stand upon stages so that their actions are viewed and beheld of all men; and I am sure my doings will come to the scanning of many fine wits, not only within the realm, but in foreign countries. And We must look to persons as well abroad as at home. But this be you assured of: I will be most careful to consider and to do that which shall be best for the safety of my people and most for the good of the realm.”

2. Anne liceat invites in servitutem dare?

1. Who said the above quotation?
     a. Barack Obama
     b. Dr. Martin Luther King, Jr.
     c. Queen Elizabeth I
     d. King James
     e. Geraldine Ferraro
2. Do you have any idea what this question means in English? Bonus points if you know what it is from.
Bonus Question: Do you know what April 4 is the anniversary of?
There’s no pass or fail on this quiz, simply me being curious. 😛 I’ll give the answers in a future post!
  • Apr. 12th, 2008 at 11:11 PM
Writing

I have to say that I am a bit disappointed that no one played in my quiz game! However, as promised, here are the answers.

The quote, “Princes, you know, stand upon stages so that their actions are viewed and beheld of all men; and I am sure my doings will come to the scanning of many fine wits, not only within the realm, but in foreign countries. And We must look to persons as well abroad as at home. But this be you assured of: I will be most careful to consider and to do that which shall be best for the safety of my people and most for the good of the realm.” was said by Elizabeth I in one of her speeches. This particular one, number 17, was her first reply to Parliamentary petitions urging the execution of Queen Mary in 1586.

I think this is a very vivid example of what an astute politician Elizabeth was as well as a very good example of how well she knew how to use words to her advantage. The other thought that made it very striking for me was that in an age well before the television or the Internet, she already knew that foreign eyes were watching her and what she did. I think it is something that politicians today could well take note of, for while it might seem obvious that all eyes are on them, sometimes it seems like they do not much care. Elizabeth was careful in both speech and action because she learned at an early age how to play the “politics game” at court. There are a lot of things that she said that politicians today and all leaders today, whether they are in politics or not, could certainly learn from.

The question Anne liceat invites in servitutem dare? mean, roughly, “Is it moral to enslave others against their will?” I heard this quote at the 4th Annual Student Leadership Training for Peace that was held at KSU on 4 April 2008. This was a very thought provoking conference and one that very much could have its own entry. The question above was the Latin essay question at Cambridge University in 1787. The man who won the essay contest that year was Thomas Clarkson who would become one of the first advocates for ending the slave trade in Britain. (One of the main topics of the conference was modern slavery and the slave trafficking still going on both here in our own country and around the world.)

April 4th is the anniversary of Dr. Martin Luther King Jr’s assassination.