The Freakish Power of Storytelling - Free Post #2

Humans are naturally drawn to stories. For centuries we have gathered around one another and absorbed ourselves into the rich worlds and depth of storytelling.

It started with drawings on the walls of caves.

In turned into dance and oral sharing.

Plays captivated audiences into the life of stories.

Photography speaks a thousand words in each image.

Film sucks us into the hearts and minds of characters and allows us to explore vast locations and scenery.

But other than the purpose of being entertained, can storytelling really change who we are as a human being?

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Stories captivate us into the lives of others and bless us with the unforeseen ability to empathize.

They challenge us with new ways of thinking and therefore, have the ability to change us as a person.

After watching a few of my favorite movies, after the final scene, I normally feel speechless and in a sense - paralyzed. The stories and questions that have been presented to me have completely changed me as a person. 

An Important Lesson - Free Post #1

Everything happens for a reason.

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This is a fact that is hard to admit in our darkest days and most depressing moments of life. However, as I have experienced countless times, it is true. 

Whether or not you believe in God or a god who is controlling and determining what happens in your life, it is hard to deny the fact that your past experiences have shaped you into the person you are today. 

One of the most important lessons that I have learned is to always have hope. You cannot lost hope. Although at times it may seem like all hope is lost and there is no solution, you must always remain optimistic and trust that the dots will connect in the future for you. 

When you look back on your life, and the past years you have lived through, everything - no matter how good or bad that has happened to you - has undoubtedly made you into the person who you are today. If one of those things did not happen, you would be an entirely different person today. And that may not always necessarily be a good thing.

So never lose hope.

Trust in something, and believe that it will all work out somehow. 

 

 

Solitude - Analysis

SOLITUDE by Ella Wheeler Wilcox

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Laugh, and the world laughs with you;
Weep, and you weep alone.
For the sad old earth must borrow its mirth,
But has trouble enough of its own.
Sing, and the hills will answer;
Sigh, it is lost on the air.
The echoes bound to a joyful sound,
But shrink from voicing care.

Rejoice, and men will seek you;
Grieve, and they turn and go.
They want full measure of all your pleasure,
But they do not need your woe.
Be glad, and your friends are many;
Be sad, and you lose them all.
There are none to decline your nectared wine,
But alone you must drink life's gall.

Feast, and your halls are crowded;
Fast, and the world goes by.
Succeed and give, and it helps you live,
But no man can help you die.
There is room in the halls of pleasure
For a long and lordly train,
But one by one we must all file on
Through the narrow aisles of pain.

ANALYSIS

This poem touches me deeply as it explores the theme of the power of solitude and the pain of loneliness. 

The poet uses parallel structure throughout the poem as each line is grouped into a pair, with a compare and contrast of contrasting emotions and the result or consequence they bring. 

There is a huge difference in solitude and loneliness, and I find that most people are incapable of differentiating the two. The two different lines in each pair bring on the contrast between solitude (first line) and loneliness (second line). 

There is extensive use of literary devices:

- "the sad old earth must borrow its mirth" / but has enough trouble of its own PERSONIFICATION

- "sigh, and the hills will answer" PERSONIFICATION

- "but one by one we must all file on through the narrow aisles of pain" PERSONIFICATION

There is quite a bit of personification throughout the poem, personifying Earth as a person who accompanies you and shares your pain, and describing pain as something that we all must go through ("through the narrow aisles"). 

Lastly, Earth being mentioned in the first lines of each pair, emphasizes the feeling of wholeness and support when you are in solitude - almost like the whole earth is laughing with you and supporting you. But when you weep in loneliness, "you weep alone".

 

 

Persona Poem

As that gent did march through his past,
the conflicting mem'ries strangle that gent,
each demanding its owneth attention,
spitting and vomiting out the teen,

large and aggressive,
toweth'ring and high,
unsure of the reliability,
of what is real and what is not,

That gent wast did approach by a wench,
a wretch'd beldams the lady wast,
wielding a large sharp bodkin,
with the sharpness of a thousand fangs,

That gent hath opened his eyes
and did scream out loud

A Significant Memory

Scrambling down the halls of the commons,

Graspin’ my head through all the problems,

My life - a mess of warnings,

Trying to capture the enlightening moments,

A mess, full of mayhem and maniacs,

 

Pullin’ my head through the sense of anomaly,

Garnering my inner insanity,

 

White marble tables and benches,

Full of sophomoric sophomores,

Each one demanding my attention,

Loathing and consuming my inner belief,

 

My mind is ripped into two,

Like a violent rupture of an inner storm,

An earth shattering explosion,

Rippling through each part of my consciousness,

 

Anger and rage permeating through the walls of my brain,

Distaste and hostility wrestle for control,

As my mood swings violently back and forth,

Hopelessness fills my persona,

And I feel nothing.  

 

The Solitary Reaper

Behold her, single in the field, 

Yon solitary Highland Lass! 

Reaping and singing by herself; 

Stop here, or gently pass! 

Alone she cuts and binds the grain, 

And sings a melancholy strain; 

O listen! for the Vale profound

Is overflowing with the sound. 

 

No Nightingale did ever chaunt

More welcome notes to weary bands

Of travellers in some shady haunt, 

Among Arabian sands: 

A voice so thrilling ne'er was heard

In spring-time from the Cuckoo-bird, 

Breaking the silence of the seas

Among the farthest Hebrides. 

 

Will no one tell me what she sings?— 

Perhaps the plaintive numbers flow

For old, unhappy, far-off things, 

And battles long ago: 

Or is it some more humble lay, 

Familiar matter of to-day? 

Some natural sorrow, loss, or pain, 

That has been, and may be again? 

 

Whate'er the theme, the Maiden sang

As if her song could have no ending; 

I saw her singing at her work, 

And o'er the sickle bending;— 

I listened, motionless and still; 

And, as I mounted up the hill, 

The music in my heart I bore, 

Long after it was heard no more. 

This poem can be interpreted and analyzed in many different ways. I believe that the Solitary Reaper is an extended symbol of the loneliness and isolation that can lead to death. 

The solitary reaper is singing alone in the fields with only one man listening to her melancholic tunes. He voice was so beautiful, yet no one listened or was able to hear the beauty that resulted from the singing. It was a vague mystery as to what she was singing and whether it would ever end, but it did end once the man left. 

Whether the ending of the singing was a result of the man not hearing it anymore or the death of the solitary reaper is solely dependent on interpretation. 

 

 

The Art of Friendship

For my close friends:

The art of friendship,

gleaming and pierced with doubt and betrayal,

through all the times of hardship,

the disfigured trust is lacking portrayal,

 

If experience is anything to go by,

the art of friendship lies with selflessness, 

otherwise the blooming flower dies,

and a strong but destructive force permeates through the mind; restlessness,

 

If the foundation of the friendship is strong,

distance doesn't matter,

the everlasting and endless connection will be sealed with a bond,

but if not; the friendship will be weak like glass - ready to shatter,

 

If one chooses the be selfish,

the relationship doesn't flourish.

 

That is the art of friendship. 

 

The wounded wilderness of Morris Graves

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The wounded wilderness of Morris Graves
is not the same wild west
the white man found
It is a land that Buddha came upon
from a different direction
It is a wild white nest
in the true mad north
of introspection
where 'falcons of the inner eye'
dive and die
glimpsing in their dying fall
all life's memory
of existence
and with grave chalk wing
draw upon the leaded sky
a thousand threaded images
of flight

It is the night that is their 'native habitat'
these 'spirit birds' with bled white wings
these droves of plover
bearded eagles
blind birds singing
in glass fields
these moonmad swans and ecstatic ganders
trapped egrets
charcoal owls
trotting turtle symbols
these pink fish among mountains
shrikes seeking to nest
whitebone drones
mating in air
among hallucinary moons

And a masked bird fishing
in a golden stream and an ibis feeding
~on its own breast'
and a stray Connemara Pooka'
And then those blown mute birds
bearing fish and paper messages
between two streams
which are the twin streams
of oblivion
wherein the imagination
turning upon itself
with white electric vision
refinds itself still mad
and unfed
among the hebrides

This painting is fairly abstract and up for interpretation, so the poet had to be very precise in his language and use of imagery.

The poet uses diction a few times throughout the poem a few times; instating the idea of the "imagination", "electric vision", and "hallucinary moons" which help us understand the abstractness of this piece. 

The poet is also constantly stating what the painting is and is not, toying with our own imaginations as he writes. 

The poet's imagery is so vivid and descriptive that it actually allows us to understand and grasp what he is seeing as we look at the painting and read his poem. Most of the things he is describing is something we alone are unable to see as we gaze at this abstract piece of art.

The vivid imagery and details threaded into the poem give us a clear insight into the work of art.

Dogs Playing Poker Poem

DOGS PLAYING POKER POEM

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Painted in 1903 by C.M. Coolidge

The tension spreads throughout the room,

each dog glancing at the next,

paw to paw, face to face,

once a happy time, now amiss,

all but one is happy too,

searching for his existence in the face of decks,

remaining still but shaken at the core.

 

There hide disappointments in each little one,

looking around searching for the truth,

each one takes a breath, as the next,

but patience is of the essence.

 

He buried his face in his heart,

searching for his chip,

all was found but the core of the soul,

the game has taken its toll.

 

 

 

A Search for Understanding

August 15

Dear diary,

Today was weird.

It is a new school year, everyone is full of anticipation, excitement, and hope. The excitement of summer’s high reverberated throughout the room as each and every student tried to release their lingering tension. It was ecstatic. 

I was so excited, the room was filled with people I loved and had good friendships with. It was such a great feeling to be a part of an amazing class. 

As soon as I was filled with joy, however, hell struck me. My biggest nemesis, Lydia Myers, walked into the room. Why on earth was she in my class?

That destroyed my day. I’ll save why I despise her for another day.

Till later.

 

August 19

Dear diary,

It was an interesting week. High school is really different to middle school and I’m already feeling my stress levels hit the roof. 

Now to Lydia. Why do I hate her?

Well..

To be frank and honest, I don’t really know why. It’s almost like she always judges me and is always stupid. I know - not the best reason to hate someone. But it’s good enough for me.

She doesn’t understand me, she doesn’t even try. And that is incredibly frustrating. I have an amazing friend named Michael, who always does his best to understand me, and although he my fail at times, at least he tries.

Lydia doesn’t even try. She assumes things about me and always disregards my feelings. I’m quite a sensitive guy.

 

Last year, when I was getting food in the cafeteria, she purposely tripped me. I spilled my entire lunch on the floor and she walked away, pretending that nothing had happened.

It infuriated me. But that wasn’t it. She always gossips about me and says things about me. Last year, she told everyone that I took this girl into the bathroom and did stuff to her… I mean that is a baseless lie that anyone can easily makeup.

I hate her so much.

Till later.

 

August 21

Dear diary,

So I only have one class with Lydia, that’s pretty good. I only have to see her every other day, other than the occasional encounter in the hallways. 

I just hope that is all I have to endure of her for the next year.

Till later.

 

August 22

Dear diary,

Things are getting pretty weird. I’m feeling some sort of weird feeling in Biology class - the class I have with Lydia. It’s an indescribable feeling. It’s almost like I’m getting this weird atmosphere from someone in the room - almost like I get them. 

I’m trying not to overthink it, like I usually do, but it’s really getting into my head and it’s bothering me quite a bit. 

Anyways, I’ll see how it develops over the next few days.

Till later.

 

August 23

Dear diary,

Oh my goodness. It’s not going away. It’s actually getting worse. And to make things even more astonishing, I feel it even more when Lydia is looking at me. 

Ugh.

What on earth could this be? She keeps looking at me and I feel the power of her permeating through my mind, almost like I’m reading her mind. That doesn’t make sense, I’ll just stop. Anyways, I’ll see what happens, and of course I’ll let you know about it.

Till later.

 

August 24

Dear diary,

Ugh.

She’s so annoying…

She keeps giving me weird looks and glances at me across the room, like I’m calling her name - except I’m not. She sits about four rows in front of me in class, so I’m not sure what the fuss is about

Till later.

 

August 25

Dear diary,

So I was walking down the hallway to my first class today, and I bumped into Lydia. She didn’t say a thing, but she looked at me weird. I could feel like she was deliberately doing this - deliberately trying to embarrass me.
I forgot to mention, I was carrying a cup of coffee when she bumped into me. So yeah, I spilled my coffee all over myself. Normally when I see Lydia after she does some stupid thing to me, she normally will tease me, but today, she just looked at me weird. 

I’m so confused,

Till later.

 

August 26

Dear diary,

So I’m at home today, so I just thought I could briefly recap what has happened to me so far concerning Lydia. 

Lydia has been my little enemy since the fourth grade, when I accidentally hurt her during soccer in PE class. Since then, she’s had this little stupid grudge on me and doesn’t seem to understand anything I do or why I do it. I’m not the type of guy to hold grudges against people, but Lydia seems to just be tempting me to.

The past few weeks have been really weird because I’m starting to “get” Lydia a bit, but not much. It’s a bit intriguing because it feels like this is coming straight out of thin air. I’m not putting much thought into it, it’s just coming out of nowhere. I don’t quite get why out of all the people I can have a hunch on, it has to be Lydia. 

There is nothing I like about her. She has this silly long hair that goes down to her stomach and it’s this strange light maroon color. She wears glasses in class, but not when she isn’t studying - nerd. 

I keep asking her why she hates me, and all I get is a deadly stare. 

Anyways, that’s pretty much all I can encapsulate into one day of writing, I’ll let you all know how it is going. I’m really interested to see where this goes and whether Lydia is understanding me any better. I’m just a bit afraid to ask her and see if she is feeling the same way as me.

Till later.

 

September 10

Dear diary,

Okay, it’s been a while since I’m entered stuff onto here, so I’ll give you a run down of these past few days.

For the past week, I’ve been just sitting in class and hearing voices. But it’s not the sound of anyone talking to me, it’s the sound of someone just organizing their thoughts.

Strangely enough, it sounds like Lydia. But why though? I think I’m forgetting some important details, I’ll start taking my journal to class so I can actually write down things as they come along.

Till later.

 

September 11

Dear diary,

I’m in class now with Lydia as we work on our projects. 

She’s turning around to look at me. 

Wait. I’m going to try something. Right now, I’m asking her a question. No - more like thinking out a question but not asking her. Let me see how she will react.

She nods. 

Holy crap. This is unbelievable. I just asked her if she did her homework last night - and she turns around and nods at me! This is simply profound.

Now she turns around and looks at me, gazing into my soul. She looks puzzled. I think she is asking me something.

“Can you hear me?”, she telepathizes to me.

I nod and smile. 

Lydia’s face is as perplexed as mine is. We seem to understand each other quite a bit. 

Till later.

 

September 15

Dear diary,

Lydia is smiling at me each time I pass her in the hallway. It’s really weird. I’m not use to seeing her smile - let alone at me. I guess something about our telepathy enables this amazing exchange of emotions to occur. It’s so great. I feel as if by each passing day our understanding of each other increases.

Okay, so I did a bit of research on telepathy when I got home today, and I realized that most of the time it happens really gradually and is barely noticeable until the bond is almost complete. When this happens, a full understanding of the other person will fully occur, and an incredibly strong bond will be created. 

I haven’t felt that with Lydia quite yet, but I’m excited to see where it will go. 

Till later. 

 

 

September 16

Dear diary,

I ran into Lydia in the hallway again. This time she smiled at me, asking me how I was doing. I smiled back and told her that I was curious about what was going on between us. She wasn’t sure either, but she assured me that she also felt a bit strange - that I wasn’t the only one.

I looked into her eyes and felt a warm sensation rush through my bones. She was speaking to me, and I was doing my best to fully comprehend and understand what she was saying to me. At this very moment, it felt like I entered her mind. I felt things that I had never felt before. Not only did I start hearing things from what was going on in her mind, but I was also seeing pictures and visions in my head. 

I saw myself - except it was when I was in middle school. I looked around, gathering information as to where I was at this very moment. Things soon became fairly clear to me, this was the day Lydia and I had our conflict which tore our friendship into shreds. Looking at Lydia, I could feel a bit of guilt. Except it wasn’t mine. Why would I feel guilt from this moment? She was the one who hurt me. I saw Lydia walking towards me, and she was crying. 

A loud noise startled me - except that was from reality. It was the bell, signaling that I was late for class. I rushed out of my moment with Lydia, incredibly frustrated that our moment had ended prematurely. 

Till later. 

 

September 17

I was so incredibly frustrated that my moment with Lydia ended prematurely yesterday. It was like getting to the climax of a movie, and having the television shut off before you could see how it ends. My feelings gradually swung from sadness and isolation to frustration and anger. I wanted to know why she was crying and why I experienced an utter feeling of guilt and weirdness as I telepathized with Lydia yesterday. I don’t have class with her today - I don’t even think she is at school today, so that’s a bit frustrating. I guess I’ll have to wait till tomorrow, which is a shame because I really wanted to talk to her about it. 

Till later

 

September 18

School is closed today. 

Oh. My. Gosh.

The one day I really did not want school to close, it has to close. Why? I don’t freaking know. News around the neighborhood suggests that something silly like a fault power cable the tripped last night was the cause, and they don’t want to risk students at school when their is a crappy power cable that can explode at any time. 

I guess I’ll have to wait for another day. 

Till later.

 

September 21

I’m in first period now, and I have class with Lydia next. You might all be wondering why I don’t talk to Lydia outside of school if I’m so desperate to find out what is going on between us. 

Why don’t I text her? Because we don’t have each others numbers. We never saw the reason for it, since we hated each other so much with pure passion and hatred. 

 

SECOND PERIOD

Okay, I’m in second period now, after having talked to Lydia. I’m lost for words. I think I would’ve really enjoyed writing it all out as it happened, but this was a really important moment for me, and understanding it all and being in the moment with Lydia is a top priority. 

She told me everything. She never meant any harm, and it was just a bad day for her. She was afraid to talk to me, because she always thought that I was angry at her - which I was, but I don’t think that would ever prevent me from finding a reasonable solution with her. 

Till later.

 

September 22

I ran into Lydia in the hallway again - as always. She looked at me with a new outlook, something completely new. It’s like our relationship has been revitalized and reborn. She stared into my soul, and put her hand on me. She embraced me with affection. I tried to lean away as we were finished, but she grabbed my face and pulled me in and kissed me with lust and passion.

Telepathy has changed my life; it has given me love and understanding, something which I could’ve never gained with my weird and anti-social personality. When you are unable to resolute problems with simple means, telepathy provides a solution. 

 

 

 

 

Quarter 1 - Fiction Writing Reflection

I think one of the most valuable assets for this unit was to have feedback from peers on our fictional writing skills and stories. It was incredibly valuable to work in an environment in which we could receive feedback and support for our work. 

I think the most valuable thing I learned this quarter is the work on plot. It was incredibly helpful to see all the different types of plots and be able to experiment with them. 

I think one of my biggest challenges in this class is writing in a way that is not like a screenplay or a film writing style. I want to be able to write in the style of a novel as apposed to writing like a film script. It's one of my biggest challenges and habits which I really want to break away from.

 

The Perks of Being A Wallflower - Perspective Shift

In The Perks of Being a Wallflower, we follow Charlie - an introverted boy who is trying to fit in. We follow his life through his journal and are receiving information in first person perspective. We go through his struggles and sympathize with his pain. But what if we were to follow Sam - Charlie's extraverted best friend?

The tone and mood would be entirely different.

Sam's life is much more chaotic and extraverted than Charlie's. By following an extraverted character and seeing their relationship potentially develop with Charlie, we would get an entirely different feeling as compared to following Charlie. Since Sam's life is much more extravertedly-driven, we would experience more characters and more external stimulation, compared to Charlie's calm and internally focused life.

Even more interestingly, we would be able to truly understand how Sam feels about Charlie and not what we are seeing from Charlie's perspective. We would get the absolute truth.

By changing perspective in The Perks of Being a Wallflower from Charlie to Sam, we would experience an entirely different story, filled with much more external stimulation and true feelings. 

Fiction Skills Post - Lamb to the Slaughter

Lamb to the Slaughter is a terrific story written by Roald Dahl. In the story a woman kills her husband by smashing a frozen leg of lamb into him after hearing some horrifying news. As the story continues, investigators arrive at the house and begin searching the crime scene, as they search, the wife offers to give them dinner, and they eat the leg of lamb together.

Roald Dahl is an absolute genius. His use of dramatic irony in the story is so marvelous and delightful to the audience. The audience is aware of the fact that the leg of lamb was the object used to kill the man. This fact is present in our heads as the detectives search through the entire house, not finding any large objects capable of smashing his skull.

Roald Dahl's amazing mind ends the story with;

"Personally, I think it's right here on the premises."

"Probably right under our very noses."

The irony of this quote is extreme, it's so cringe-worthy. As the investigators are eating the food, and contemplating on the location of the weapon, they are eating it and saying that's it's probably under our very noses, when in fact, they are eating it.

 

Powerful Themes in The Revenant

The Revenant is a action-drama film by Alejandro G. Innaritu, starring Leonardo DiCaprio. It is a story that focuses largely on man's relation with the natural world and focuses on several important themes.

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In the film, Hugh Glass - a fur trapper - is mauled a grizzly bear and left for dead by his team, which abandons him and leaves him without any weapons to survive. He wrestles with death as he fights his way through the harsh winter of the American mid-west and eventually gets discovered by the large team and saved. Despite his security, he goes on his own personal mission - while half-dead - to find the man that betrayed and abandoned him. 

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The main themes of The Revenant:

1. Revenge as an act that is God's responsibility.

Throughout the film, Hugh Glass' goal is to get revenge for his betrayal and abandonment. He wrestles his way through nature in the dead of winter to find Fitzgerald, the man who betrayed him. At the end of the film, Hugh Glass hunts down Fitzgerald and has him killed. But before he can deal with the final blow, he realizes that revenge is in God's hands not his. He let's go of Fitzgerald and pushes him into a flowing river, sending him into the path of the Arikara Native Americans who end up killing him.

This scene is incredibly symbolic of how the Native American's are the "gods" of their land and that we should respect their presence and not drive them out as we are doing today. The fact that Hugh Glass wants revenge to be taken care of by God, but ends up sending Fitzgerald to the Arikara is a deep message from Alejandro G. Innaritu that the Native Americans are the owners of their land, and that we should give them total respect.

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2. You can survive any amount of suffering if you have something to live for.

"I ain’t afraid to die anymore. I’ve done it already." - Hugh Glass

Hugh Glass survives near-death and pushes himself behind his physical and mental capability to drive himself through the harsh winter of the mid-west to achieve his goal of revenge. If Glass did not have this goal in his mind, he would've died off - satisfied. But the fact that his betrayal and the murder of his son by his betrayer, gives him something to live for - another reason to stay alive and keep fighting - results in him pulling off a miraculous fight to get what he truly wants; revenge.

3. Man's relation with the natural world

Throughout the film, Hugh Glass and his team are dwarfed by the incredible vistas and landscapes of the American wilderness. They are at the mercy of nature, emphasizing how humans use to once live and how we have completely thrown that privilege away. 

Leonardo DiCaprio emphasized this when he won the Oscar for Best Actor for his role in The Revenant:

"Making The Revenant was about man's relationship to the natural world. A world that we collectively felt in 2015 as the hottest year in recorded history. Our production needed to move to the southern tip of this planet just to be able to find snow. Climate change is real, it is happening right now. It is the most urgent threat facing our entire species, and we need to work collectively together and stop procrastinating. We need to support leaders around the world who do not speak for the big polluters, but who speak for all of humanity, for the indigenous people of the world, for the billions and billions of underprivileged people out there who would be most affected by this. For our children’s children, and for those people out there whose voices have been drowned out by the politics of greed. I thank you all for this amazing award tonight. Let us not take this planet for granted. I do not take tonight for granted."

The Revenant is a terrifying tale of how one man's thirst for revenge and justice can drive him to the limits of human survival and total perserverance. 

 

 

 

The Printer That Never Stopped Printing

“The package has arrived.”

That was all that was heard on the voicemail. It was a muffled, deep voice - almost like the voice was fake. 

He hurried down - with the anticipation of a large, hefty box awaiting his presence at the front door. Each step down was a moment closer to opening the package. He seemed curious and anxious, despite the confidence that this was what he was waiting for. Not much really got him excited in life, for he always had a resting grumpy face, unaware of the opportunities that life presented at his doorstep. 

This however, was something special. His fascination for typography led him to purchase an advanced, high-power laser printer, in order for him to experiment with different typefaces. His house was empty, only a sofa and a small 4:3 aspect ratio television, the kind you might find at your old grandmother’s house. 

Wealth was non-existent in this family, despite this, he worked hours a day to hoard money in order to make his dream an utter reality. As each week passed by, he gained more and more money, and this had direct correlation with his happiness. Unfortunate - but sympathetic for him. 

He frantically unlocked the door, and pulled the handle back. The moment had arrived. He was face to face with the box. A large smile gradually grew as he escaped his existential vacuum. He had been trapped for a while, unsure of his true purpose in life. But this special new gimmick put all of that to bed. His mind was finally back where it belonged — reality. 

He ripped open the bag like a bear tearing at a piece of fresh bloody meat, inconsiderate of the mess, only caring of what truly mattered. Dust exploded and flew high in the air, and he sneezed frequently. 

Inside it, lied a massive printer. The printer was glistening and shining pure white, as white as the brightest angel in heaven.  He emptied the contents of the box and assembled the printer in an instant. 

As he plugged the socket into the wall, the small LCD screen on the printer lit up. The printer roared into life and the sounds of gears and springs started rattling throughout the room. In no time, the first page was printed - a typical test page - testing the colors and alignment of the cartridges. 

The young boy had nothing more to print, so he instructed the printer to turn off. The printer says shutting down

Moments pass by…

The LCD on the printer continues to say “Ready”. 

The printer is still running and is ready to print. Below the LCD on the printer screen lies two lights, one to indicate the receiving of data - which shines green, and one to indicate an error - which shines red. 

The boy walks away to grab a snack in the kitchen. He joyfully strolls there, excited to spend some time exploring his new and fascinating possession.

Unbeknownst to him the green light on the printer starts to blink. 

Once again, the gears and springs cry into life, and paper gets sucked beneath the cartridges.  

A page spurts out in an instant. The text is large and clear, impossible to misread.

“I knew it was you”.

Adjacent to this room, the boy is busy relaxing and grabbing his snack. Little does he know, what is occurring behind him in the nearby room. 

As he has finished his snack, he calmly walks back, unsure of what to expect. He enters the room, and is shocked to find this page on the printer. He picks it up. His eyes are stupendously shocked. Confusion rapidly fills all levels of his mind.

Before he can process it, the printer starts to run again. This time, a new page comes out. The words are large and they each take up their own line. The boy can only read the message word by word.

“Why” 

“did”

He is startled. He believes that something is inside the printer and he spanks it hard. Regardless of this action, the printer continue with its task. 

“you”

“do”

“it?”

The boy gets even more confused. He has absolutely no context for this message and has no entire understanding of its meaning. The gears continue to run, and the printer continues to spurt out pages.

It’s not stopping now. The pages continue to print. Bit by bit, each line reveals a greater meaning, yet the boy is unable to grasp the entirety of it all.

“I’m getting you back for it”.

It makes no sense, whatsoever. 

“Oh well, at least you tried”.

No sense at all. Baffled and appalled, he shook his head.

“Be careful, I am watching you”. 

He looked around, interpreting that phrase literally. He is terrified, unsure of what to expect in his surroundings. He swallowed his saliva, and rubbed his finger against the palms of his hands to release the perspiration that gathered as a result of his thoughts. These thoughts increased his heart-rate and gave him sudden bursts of anxiety and bone-chilling stress.

A page continued to come out, but the boy unplugged the printer, causing its life to die. He was unable to come to a consensus of what was going on. 

Upset and disconnected, he returned to his room, trying to understand the situation he found himself in.

His room is as minimalist as can be. There is one small mattress on the floor, surrounded by a teak floor-mat, the kind you might find in a traditional Japanese ryokan. One small lamp hangs down from the ceiling, providing the room with a source of light. It’s not so bright, but it’s adequately sufficient. On the far corner, lies a notebook titled Do Not Open. It clearly has something secretive and malicious in it. Why would a notebook be title that anyways?

He glances over at the notebook, contemplating whether to open it or not. His deepest thoughts and memories are recorded inside this notebook, and opening the cover could release all the memories that have been suppressed by the unconscious mind. 

He’s in deep thought. A state of unattainable, collective focus. As his mind is ripped into two, he does his best to hold it all together. He follows the part of his mind that demands him to peak in and to find the truth. It’s almost like he has lost control of his muscles, and they have succumbed to the pure irresistible force of curiosity. He takes a few steps closer to the notebook. He slowly reaches his arms out, every muscle in his body tingling with anticipation. His hand slightly shakes as it resists the force of gravity. 

Perspiration permeates throughout his neck, and his pupils dilate. It’s the moment of truth. He places his hand on the notebook and opens it. The text is large and clear, almost impossible to misread.

January 19, 2005

I miss him. I remember getting a phone call in the middle of the night, and being largely undisturbed by the sound of my phone ringing at 2am. 

I picked up and heard screaming. It was loud and chilling to the spine. I heard one distinct word.

“HELP”. 

And that was it - silence. 

I thought I panicked, but at 2am, I couldn’t care less.

It only made sense when I woke up. 

He was now gone.

He panicked and starting gasping for air. The pure revelation of the events of that faithful night shocked him to the bone, and he was filled with disbelief and denial. He slowly realized that this person was his friend - someone really close to him.

It was over ten years ago, so it was stored away in the depths of the unconscious. It was a painful thought to understand. He didn’t want to think about it, but he was left with very little choice. He was inconceivably confused, his mind was surely messing with him. 

How could he have been at fault for the death of his friend? It couldn’t have been his fault - he wasn’t even there. He was confused - but before he could fully understand himself,

The doorbell rang. It grabbed his attention aggressively - almost like getting grabbed from the back and put into a headlock, forced to stare at something.

He wasn’t in a great rush, but he passively rushed down, full of sorrow and guilt. His arms hung down his sides, lifeless and purposeless. Occasionally, sudden misfits of anger took control of him, and he stomped down the stairs. As he reached the door, he was reluctant to open it. He asks the age-old question,

“Who is it?”

His mind ponders on endless possibilities, each one more frightening that the previous. He wasn’t sure as to why it mattered who it was, his depression was getting the better of him.

“Why does it matter?”

Reluctance. Pure reluctance. Should he open it? He’s tired of dealing with curiosity - he opens the door. The door slowly opens and light arrives through as the cascading warmth of the sun shines through the small passage opened by the door. A shadow of a tall slender man encases the boy. Fear grips him by the throat and suffocates him. His heart-rate sharply rises.

The mouth of this tall, shadowy figure opens. The boy braces himself for the force of uncertainty. 

“So. Why did you do it?”, he muttered.

He pleads his innocence.

“I didn’t do it! I wasn’t even there.”

The tall shadowy figure shakes his head. He reaches for his pocket, inside his dark wool coat. A reflective surfaces shines bright against the boy’s eye. His hand slowly comes out of the coat.

In no time, a gun is fired.

BOOM

The boy falls to the floor and is lying face up. His eyes gaze open - lifeless. Blood seeps from his scalp, permeating the ground beneath him. It’s a horrifying sight - it makes you sick. 

The tall shadowy figure steps over the laying corpse, without any physical sign of remorse. He enters the house, taking large gaping steps towards the printer. 

The sounds of grinding ramble throughout the house. Apparently, the printer has turned back on. It continues grinding out pages, each of them filled with utter nonsense. 

But then, a blank page spurts out, but beneath the vast emptiness of pure white, lies a bone-chilling message. It’s a message that’s hard to swallow for us, but for this man, it’s all he wanted to see. 

“Thank you”. 

 

 

 

Fiction Skills Post #3 - A Special Place

The constant humming of two Rolls Royce engines keeping your life intact. 

The quite noise of air conditioning radiating through the cabin. 

It's a comforting sound and it provides me with a sense of tranquil calm. Despite the sheer tension of the fact that your life hangs on these two things, I feel pure tranquility. 

It's dark, the sun is down, and everyone is fast asleep. I look out the window, gazing at the stars - pondering life's questions. It's a frigid -60 degrees outside, but inside, I'm covered with a lush, thick blanket, and a nice glass of room-temperature water. 

The roof of the cabin is covered with the sky-interior technology, emulating the night sky. 

The smell may not be the most pleasant, air freshener doesn't always smell good - especially when it's one of the few that you don't like.

To me, being on an airplane in the middle of the night, while everyone is fast asleep, is the most comforting thing on the planet. Up at 35,000ft, nothing matters, life is put into context, when death can occur at any instant. 

You finally only care about what truly matters. And that is why this is my special place. 

 

The Handsomest Drowned Man in The World

In this story, a man washes up on shore, covered with jelly-fish, seaweed and the remains of fish. The village gather around to examine the corpse that washed ashore. Confusion sprang throughout the village and they spent day and night searching through neighboring villages to determine if anyone was missing. Alas, a few people noticed that the man looked similar to someone called Esteban. They couldn't find a bed big enough to lay him on, so they buried him right away. It was the most beautiful funeral for a drowned man, the handsomest drowned man in the world.

The author uses Esteban's corpse as a way to reveal the setting. It works incredibly conveniently because Esteban has spent a significant time in the water, after he had drowned, so the setting has essentially adjoined him. The author could've normally just revealed the setting like anyone else. Instead, he uses his skills to use the character as a means of revealing the setting - not figuratively, but literally. The various bits of the setting that exist on Esteban's corpse combined with the frantic search for his identity results in the setting being dramatically revealed in an incredibly unique and fascinating way. 

A Dilemma by S. Weir Mitchell

A Dilemma by Silas Weir Mitchell is an incredibly interesting and mysteriously written short story. It is a story about a man whose uncle had died and he was left with an iron box containing a wealth of riches. However though, if the box is to be opened with the key, it will activate a plethora of dynamite inside and will explode into bits. The narrator is informed of all of this by a letter which was left by his uncle on his bedside, shortly before his passing. 

The conflict of the story is entirely internal and results in a huge dilemma of anxiety and self-doubt as the protagonist decides and contemplates whether to attempt to open the box or not. In addition, he fears that someone else may try to open the box with the key and be blown to shreds. He confronts a doctor about his dilemma and eventually moves away to a new place, changes his name, and hides the box. 

It's incredibly fascinating to see how a small box and curiosity can drive a human being to so much trouble of anxiety and reluctance. I had to read the story a few times in order to fully understand what the character was feeling in his entirety. 

We root for the character and want him to be safe. We are challenged with this thought as he tries to open the box, "Then [he] sat down, as yet hopeful, and began to exert [his] ingenuity upon ways of opening the box without being killed. There must be a way." (3). As he gains anxiety, the doctor also "warned [him] that [he] was in danger of losing [his] mind with too much thought about [his] rubies (which were inside the box)" (4). 

The protagonist is a pure representation human curiosity and how it can drive us to anxiety and mental instability.