Sunday, August 28, 2016

Hummingbirds and the Oncoming Storm

The first week of school has gone and I am no less concerned about what my last year is going to bring. I have confidence that I will make it, but I am nervous. I will say though, that I am a little less nervous than I was last week. My English teacher read a part of my assignment from last week aloud in his lecture, and that felt pretty darn cool.

This assignment was a special to me because one of the readings this week was about hummingbirds. The other reading was about the 1900 hurricane that happened in Galveston. They were both very powerful reads for me and I am happy that I got the chance to read them.

<3 Catherine *Riki

Creative Nonfiction Literature
Questions:I want you to speak to the power of language in these pieces. How it serves the story, how it conveys the drama and meanings the writers are intending. I also want you to comment on how Erik Larson, in Isaac’s Storm, can have you on the edge of your seat about an event that has already taken place. Provide examples for your answers to both questions.

I grew up on a Mono Indian reservation in California. The name I was given was Pis-coo-too, which means Hummingbird. I have always been proud to be named after the hummingbird, their beautiful red and green feathers shined at the feeders that hung along the back porch gutter at my grandparents home. Hummingbirds are a quiet storm, constantly beating their wings with a ferocious determination that I hope to emulate in my own life. I like to think of hummingbirds as tiny self-contained storms, so the similarities between the readings were easy to draw for myself. The fear that Isaac felt at the storm drawing near, the fear that hummingbird feels at their storm coming to an end. The inability to sleep for fear that the storm will consume him, and the inability to sleep for fear that the storm will not begin again. In regards to keeping me enthralled; I felt compelled to continue reading both stories. Ackerman writes of a daily phenomenon and Larson writes of a century old hurricane, in a way that feels new and exciting. Both writers show that it doesn’t matter if something has happened over a hundred years ago or yesterday, a writer’s ability is separate from time not contingent upon it.

Monday, August 22, 2016

Memoir & Family Reader Response

This is my first assignment for the semester. It was surprisingly tough to write and answer the question asked instead of just writing what I wanted to say. I guess though I am used to having to write reading responses, I am not used to writing directed reading responses. I guess this makes some sense though. This is for an online English class and having everyone answer the same sort of questions in their response should make for some good discussion in the forum. I don't know. What I do know is that I need to start studying for my GRE soon if I hope to do well. Enjoy!

<3 Catherine *Riki

Creative Nonfiction Literature
Questions: Discuss how these writers use compassion, humor and language to depict the conflicts with their parents. Do they treat their mothers and fathers fairly? If so, how? Provide specific examples.

“Cherry” Mary Karr (Ch. 1)
This was a difficult read. Not because of language used, or the situation of a young woman leaving home, but because of the word, “you”. Not only did I find this an off putting way of reading a story, but I also found it to be a way to shift blame. Karr behaves in a manner where nothing is her fault. “You can’t admit to yourself that you first turned your back to him. So you invert the rejection - this distance, your scorn. They’re now his attitudes aimed at you” (10). She openly shifts blame for her feelings onto her father, her mother, and by use of the word “you,” onto the reader. I can’t honestly say that this is fair for her to do, but I can’t say it’s uncommon either.

“No Name Woman” Maxine Hong Kingston
I am emotionally exhausted and I want to know more. Kingston was raised by stories told by her mother and she listened. She listened and respected her mother’s telling of the story, but I don’t think that fairness is a part of that. Kingston listens for the missing parts. Is that fair, to listen for the parts her mother doesn’t say? Yes, she is respectful, but I saw nothing of fairness. I think she could be seen as being unfair, by trying to fill in those gaps left in the story. Yes, she is curious, but her mother likely left out parts for a reason. Kingston says that her mother does things with purpose, doesn’t that include not doing things? Is it fair for Kingston to dig for more information about her nameless aunt?

“The Girl Next Door” David Sedaris
This story broke my heart in a few ways and none of them were fair. The conflict Sedaris has with his mother is so infuriating, I wanted to jump in and shake her by the shoulders. However, Sedaris voice is clear and mostly positive when it comes to his mother. He loves her and respects her position as his mother, but that doesn’t mean that he doesn’t see her bad side. Brandi is right, and even his mom agrees, but she takes care of her son and he appreciates her help. I would say he treats her fairly. He lets her have her negative words and he gets to be cared for.

Saturday, August 20, 2016

The Beginning of the End

I really just wanted this to sound a little more dramatic than it really is. I have officially begun my final year of my undergrad. I should be happy, and excited, but I'm just scared. I'm scared about what this next step in my life is going to bring. I'm scared about how hard it's going to be. I have this hope that things will be well and good. That I'll take my GRE and get into the school that I want to and I won't have to take a year off, but I really don't know. The not knowing always kills me. I like to have a plan. I like to always know what is going to happen. Anyway, I've got to get back to my current plan, which is making the dean's list this semester. So, I'll leave you with this piece I wrote a couple semesters ago.

<3 Catherine

Not Enough 
I was on the phone with my mom yesterday and she was telling me how I would get in trouble for reading when I was suppose to be doing other things. She said that I would hide a book under my bed and pretend to be cleaning, I would hide a book in my bible at church like other kids would do with comics or magazines (I told her I bought the bible-looking Ultimate Hitchhiker's Guide so I could read it in church with no one noticing, she laughed and said, "Well, I guess you got away with it,") and I would completely ignore people talking to me.

I love reading, I love everything about getting so absorbed in a book that nothing else matters. I don't need to eat, I don't need to drink, the only thing I have to do in this moment is read. If I don't find out what happens next, I will surely die.

Lately I've had the daunting task of required reading for my literature classes. I read quickly and get through the books when I don't like them, but that's all I'm doing. I'm not spending time with each page, each sentence, each word. I'm only getting through, I'm only getting by.

As a reader, this is devastating to me. The professional texts we are reading for my classes exclaim the importance of pleasure reading between required difficult reads, and I am simply not finding the time for what I *want* to read, for what I *need* to read.

If the time isn't allowed for personal reading, for pleasure reading, the reader starts to lose parts of their person. I’ve begun to feel empty. I no longer look forward to my time spend reading because it hardly engages me. Now it only makes me sad and a little heart broken. Reading is my greatest love and I'm starting to resent it.