December 2010 Archives

Blog #5

The piece that most grabbed my attention in this course came early on in the semester; Margaret Atwood's "Happy Endings" was both painfully honest and sarcastically entertaining. There were a few elements of the story that drew me in. Firstly, I think the subject matter is incredible. In my experience I've seen best-selling books deal mostly with only cheery, romantic ideals. Atwood clearly differs from this norm, giving us a chance to see into her cynical, yet truthful, thoughts. Another unique aspect of the story is her style. The characters are not developed. The plot is multi-faceted, yet essentially worthless to the final purpose of the story, which is to say that there might just be no point to a lot of our mindless bantering and selfish daily struggles.
For my final project I've been researching Kathy Acker, another author who writes outside of the socially endorsed box that is modern literature. Being exposed to the broad spectrum of authors in our class has allowed me to see I'm most drawn to those authors who write without regard to classic tastes or convention. I think by allowing themselves to break some of the rules that are taught in Creative Writing 1001 type courses, there are writers who can expand beyond what can be otherwise a dull reiteration of stories already told. I'm drawn to the eccentricities of individuals unafraid to shy away from their real stories.

Final Blog #5

Looking back at the semester and all the readings and issues we have covered, I can honestly say that there were many readings that spoke to me on levels I did not anticipate them to. Some struck me as controversial, others as romantic, there were even a few that I believe will stay with me forever. My all time favorite piece we read this semester was "The Poetics of Sex" by Jeanette Winterson. Her language made me feel so romanticized and almost as if I were in a dream-like state reading it. I absolutely love the way she paints her words on the pages for her readers to interpret and dive into. This piece also really magnetized me because I am a sucker for just about anything that has to do with love and the hardships that come along with it. She was not afraid to discuss the good and bad aspects about her lover and their relationship, and she made it a point to mention that she did not care what anybody else thought about it. I have become a huge Winterson fan now thanks to this course. I cannot wait to read "The Passion," "Oranges Are Not the Only Fruit," as well as "Sexing the Cherry."

It is still hard for me to believe this semester has already come to an end. This course has been a pleasure and I am very happy I have taken it!:)

Final Blog Entry #5

I can't Believe its over. Skimming through the course packet and looking over all my highlights and notes still doesn't make it real. We covered a lot of material in this class in comparison to my other classes this semester. I have to say that the first half of the semester's readings drew me in the most. My favorite piece of this whole course was without a doubt "The Semiotics of Sex" by Jeanette Winterson. I can still remember literally yelling and screaming in my apartment as I read aloud to myself. This reading pulled me away from the fictional stories I usually am drawn to. I don't think that any kind of writing is more enlightening or illuminating than the other, I like picking through fantasy for hidden messages. Jeanetter Winterson blew me away with this essay as she relentlessly spoke her truth. Some highlights for me were:

"What you fuck is much more important than what you write.This may be because reading takes more effort than sex." ..."Learning to read is a skill that marshals the entire resources of body and mind".... "Art is the realization of complex emotion"..."The convenient lies fall; the only boundaries are the boundaries of our imagination."

These are just a few of the quotes I have used throughout the semester to inspire my own reading and writing habits. Though I am not sure I have used them well. There is always tomorrow I guess. I have changed my reading habits in the sense that I think about who the author is but I also try to forget. I love knowing how to position myself as "the reader" and the author as a "person". But I also love trying to forget about all of this and reading the text out loud as if the thoughts came out of my own head. It makes it a but more painful when the topics are heavy (and most of them were) but it also helps me to be honest when reflecting on the meanings afterward. Its easier to miss meaning because we don't like the style a writer uses or the the dialect they communicate in. But that is the beautify of what we are practicing. Its not a skill many people are even aware of, and if they were it is not one many would strive to work at.

Jeanette Winterson used a quote in her essay that I will keep with me for the rest of my life. I know this will always be a truth for me. Someday I will go to graduate school (maybe) and I will critique authors like Winterson and Lorde and I will attempt to disagree with their thoughts and theories as I develop my own. But this quote will stand like a pillar that all the other thoughts will have to learn how to live with... like dancers rehearsing in a new studio/stage, adapting to the space & changing their choreography to fit the bigger(or smaller) floor. I will end my final blog with this quote. My pillar.

"What would happen if one woman told the truth about herself? The world would split open". -Muriel Rukeyser

Final Blog

When looking back at all the readings from the semester I have had a lot of mixed feelings about the pieces. Some were hard for me to read and others were easy and those were the ones that stuck out to me. If i had to pick a favorite it would have to be Embroideries. I liked how this piece had so many different things going on at once. i also liked how they talked about so many different topics in a short period of time. No body held anything back and they all told it how it was supposed to be. This piece made me laugh and kind of disgusted me at the same time. I have learned from being in this class that i am not the best reader, i am more of a hands on learner and when I read i just do not understand as well as i could. I feel i already knew this but it was something that made this class a little harder for me. I know this is late but i thought i should get my point across still.
Kristina Korsunsky

Blog 5

After re-reading "Word Warrior" by Jennifer DiMarco, I decided that it is my favorite piece from this year. Before taking this class, "A Story of an Hour" by Kate Chopin would have been my favorite piece. I really enjoyed DiMarco's piece because it made me uncomfortable. I believe by becoming uncomfortable through reading, I grow intellectually and socially. My views are broadened, and by understanding why writers write, whether women or men, can be important to their works of art. I believe this course has really help me broaden my views of women writers. I entered this class hoping that it would make me uncomfortable and would show the views of other people that I have not been exposed to. This course has accomplished my goal, and I am excited to read more books from the authors we have studied, and I may even explore poetry, which I have hated reading in the past.

Blog 5

There are so many readings from this semester that I just love! If I have to choose from the top two, I love reading "Word Warrior" from Jennifer DiMarco.I just love how DiMarco make words as a way for people to escape into their own little word and I just love love that idea. I feel like that idea of sharing your world with words make it so secure and make it your own. I love her quote, "I reclaimed my power, my energy, and my life with a passion". I just love how amazing writing can make a person become a survivor. It is as if words are your silent angels that always help us and help define us as individuals! I just love this reading the most for this semester. Another reading that I just love is "Writing in the Language of Others" from Assia Djebar. I think that this story totally define who I am as an individuals, that I am a Hmong girl with both language and learn to accept that I am not totally Hmong or American that I am actually sometime a American Hmong and sometime a Hmong American girl. This story help me soo much, "Living in two cultures, Straddling two memories, two languages..." had help me so much in helping me shape myself. To me this class is all about finding yourself through the reading of others! I just love love this class!!!

Blog 5

I truly loved so many of the readings this semester. It is hard to pick a favorite! I don't believe I can choose between Margaret Atwood's "Happy Endings" and Jennifer DiMarco's "Word Warrior". "Happy Endings" had my heart at "Remember, this is Canada. You'll still end up with A..." Atwood's sarcasm, witty remarks, and Canadian-ness (I am biased) made her story a joy to read, and consequently has motivated me to pursue reading more of her work (23). DiMarco's "Word Warrior" was an equally rewarding read. I feel as though the passion of her words seep out of each page she writes, her message inspires, and her desire for change is both beautiful and contagious.
This semester, I participated in my first intentional "close reading". Although I have noticed patterns in word choice in prior literature I have read, when we did an in-class close reading of Kate Chopin's "The Story of an Hour" I realized I have not read as close I thought. I feel that, from this course, I have learned a new "tool" for reading, or at least broadened my horizons a little. Also, I have realized that I look for the same things in literature as I look for in a mate: passion, a sense of humor, and a connection.

Poetics of Sex

I most enjoyed the Winterson piece, The Poetics of Sex. I'm not sure if I have ever read anything like it. I was immediately drawn in by the intentionally mundane and idiotic section headers like "what do lesbians do in bed?", because I have often found myself clenching my teeth at such questions. She turns it around and writes pages of beautiful and personal prose. She deals with a relationship with a woman, but manages to keep it deeply rooted in her relationship with herself as well. It is not a dissection of a relationship, but rather an exploration of herself and of the way she fits together (or doesn't fit) with another person. The Poetics of Sex broke a lot of writing boundaries for me, as well as restrictions of what is socially acceptable in writing. She manages to be vulgar without being crude, she accomplishes beautiful personification and metaphor, but without being too flowery. And in the middle of it all, she writes one of the most wonderful sentences I have ever read: "I want to leaf through you before I read you out loud."

blog#IDontEvenKnow- Leah Vogel

Typically I would try to conceal the idea that Embroideries is my favorite piece only because of the pictures, but let's face it, they make the novel. I wouldn't call myself a fan of graphic novels in general, but Marjane Satrapi does a fantastic job with it. The drawings allow a certain directness that gives Satrapi a lot of freedom in that way, she isn't obligated to fluff up her words with metaphors orexplanations for me to understand what she is trying to say. I admit I've never had much tolerance for poetry, most I've the time I'm more of a "let's get to the point" kind of person. Not that I can't appreciate quality symbolism, but I really do like how she utilizes the illustrations. In could be the art major in me coming out, but I believe that anything words can do pictures can do better, if you have the patience to look long enough.

Final Blog

Looking back on this semester, there were many readings that interested me. I really enjoyed the unit on Motherhood as many of the readings brought up some raw emotions that don't typically get associated with motherhood. I also had so much fun reading Marjane Satrapi's "Embroideries" due to the way she combined two different mediums to express her ideas on Iranian gender relations and opened up a dialogue that could be accessible to many people. However, if I had to pick one solid favorite piece that I have read multiple times, it would definitely be "Happy Endings" by Margaret Atwood. The dry and sarcastic way in which she presents he ideas was incredibly funny to me, but there were also some very profound subjects that she addresses in this piece. It also brought up some topics that I have often wondered about my own life. I have this deep seeded fear that I'm going to end up married with 2.5 kids living in the suburbs, which would be a personal hell to me. Seriously, even the thought of it makes me want to vomit. I have often wondered if this is a fear that other people share, and Atwood confirmed to me that I'm not abnormal for not wanting what America has established as "the norm." I would want to ask Atwood how she feels about marriage in general. Does it always have to end with "living (un)happily ever after" or is in possible to be married and still live an extraordinary. life full of excitement.

Looking at the class as a whole, I would have enjoyed having more blog posts. I loved being able to read other people's feelings about the pieces, especially considering that not everyone was very vocal in class. They often forced me to challenge my own views on the readings, and I did have a different understanding of some of the works based off of reading other blogs. Also, writing the blog made me really analyze why I enjoyed certain pieces more than others. Another thing I'd like to bring up, although we did try to remedy this in class, was that a circle seating would have been much more conducive to discussion. I know there wasn't a whole lot we could do, but I think I would have gotten a little more out of the discussions if we sat in a solid, tight circle.

Blog #5

Throughout this entire semester there have been many different pieces that have stuck out to me. However, the one that caught my attention was Jeanette Winterson's, "The Poetics of Sex." I had the privilege of learning more about Jeanette Winterson and her literary work. "The Poetics of Sex" uses metaphors that create humor throughout the piece to attack certain taboo topics. She is fearless in her writing and is not afraid to attack sensitive issues. Winterson uses physical characteristics in her writing to prove the characters actions. An intriguing fact about Winterson's work is that she often writes about her personal issues and personal battles she faces. It is interesting to me, as the reader, to experience her struggles through her writing. Through this piece, and examining the different type of writing language she uses, I looked for these different techniques in other pieces of work. I enjoyed learning how to think across texts, and pointing out the similarities and differences. It was interesting to see how different authors attacked issues and the different ways readers responded.

Blog #5

Of all the works that we read, the one that stands out the most is "The Bastard of Istanbul." I loved this piece because Zehila was so fierce and strong; she went against the norms of her society without shame. She did this without holding back. I loved her character; she came across very strong and independent, as well as stubborn and fierce. I loved her attitude and how she did everything so fearlessly. I really admired her for that, and even more for being scared, yet still having the courage to do exactly what she did.

I realized that I enjoyed reading things I could relate to, because it made it more real for me. I was able to put myself into the characters shoes and see it through their eyes, rather than having to try and imagine what it would be like to live so-and-so's life. It's also easier to empathize with the characters if I'm able to understand what they're experiencing. Overall, I enjoyed many of the works we read.

Final Blog-My Faves :)

My favorite readings this year were those which fell under the desire and sexuality category. I am very aware of physical language and sensory syntax, and therefore could interpret a lot of meanings from the pieces. Specifically, I loved "Cinnamon" by Elif Shafak as well as "The Poetics of Sex" by Jeanette Winterson. These politically fueled pieces surrounded by physical language illustrate situations which define people by their actions and not based on their internal substance, and the stories and people which exist beneath the surface. I am in support of diversity and alternative lifestyles and I think it is very important that word of these themes get spread in the mainstream ideology. I also find it interesting when authors write based on their own experiences. Marjane Satrapi's excerpt from Embroideries represented life experiences in another culture through humor and stories. I liked the illustrated versions of the stories which span cultures and are passed down through generations. The conversational tone to the piece made it easy to relate to and the illustrations gave the story life. Overall, I have enjoyed reading across cultures and getting a look into lives which I would not be able to without the kind of readings we experienced this semester.

Blog #5 - "Happy Endings"

My favorite piece this semester, hands down, was "Happy Endings" by Margaret Atwood. Atwood's quirkiness and sarcasm come through in this story in spades, and I just love it. I have an instant connection to the dry humor of it all. I think the connection stems from a feeling of kindred spiritedness with the story. The things I find most enjoyable in all forms of art is the combination of humor and morbidity. Injecting a lightheartedness into subject matter where humor seems misplaced is very entertaining for me. Margaret Atwood very expertly wields this juxtaposition in her writing. It is the exact right combination of salty and sweet, and yet she still manages to be thought provoking by challenging the reader at the end of the story to look at the "hows" and "whys" of the world rather than the "whats". It is beautifully profound in its simplicity. These are the types of things that I enjoy most about reading. Simple, yet perfectly apt. There's no need for long, cryptic, flowing prose that ought to come with a translator. Atwood illustrates that you can make a beautiful poignant statement without needing to sound pretentious or overtly poetic.

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