Sunday, December 2, 2012

Words to Live By

The following quote came from Ralph Waldo Emerson in Nature on page 243 of our textbook Volume B: “Yet line for line and point for point, your dominion is as great as theirs, though without fine names. Build, therefore your own world.” What profound words! They say to me: life is what we make it-do not be dependent upon another person or thing to build your life, your world. It is your world for the taking and the making! It takes work to build a world, but it is within each and every one of us to do so. The quote also says that everyone is created equal, no one is any better person than anyone else, we all are imperfect, we all make mistakes, and we all have emotions. When we realize that we are equals on this earth, then we can build our own world. Do not let anything hold you back-go on and build that world!

Another great quote from our textbook, again Volume B, page 269 (I almost overlooked it) reads: “Ne te quaesiveris extra”, which means: “Do not search outside yourself”. This goes along with what I have been saying and I could not have said it better myself. All there is, is in us, there is no point in trying to find happiness outside of ourselves, it is generated inside. I believe the first step to internal happiness to have self-love, and then inner peace comes along with happiness.

Saturday, December 1, 2012

Remembering a Time Not So Long Ago

I just finished reading Louisa May Alcott’s selection in our textbook (pp. 1750-1756), which is taken from Little Women. I admit Little Women is one of my all-time favorite books, along with Jane Eyre! I have read Little Women several times over my lifetime so far, with the last reading being about 5 years ago.

I have fond memories of this book. I first read it as a child of about 10. I fell in love with the characters, the setting, everything. My favorite character has always been Jo, the writer of the family, because she is very determined and independent. All she does, she does for the sake of her family.

The story itself reminds me of my childhood- running around everywhere with pencils and notebooks, to write my poetry, short stories, and plays. Most of all it reminds me of my simple, laid-back, slow lifestyle. I grew up in the mountains of southeastern Kentucky, in the Daniel Boone National Forest to be exact. Life was different there. We grew most of our own food, we cut our own firewood, we were basically self-sufficient and most important, we were a very close-knit family.

The story reminds me of watching Daddy build our house from the ground up, of our large wood burning stove, and a foot of snow on the ground outside, being in the warm house and eating homemade beef-stew, which simmered on the wood burner all day! This is the setting for my first encounter with Little Women. We, like the March family, pulled together for the best of the family, we had to and loved every minute of it! Unlike Mr. March, who was gone because of the war, Daddy came home from work at the telephone company every evening; yet like Mr. March, Daddy did always have words of encouragement for me and my aspirations!

I lost my precious Daddy to cancer in July 2009, almost 3 ½ years ago, but his memory is alive and well within me and in all the people’s lives that he so dearly touched. The story of Little Women always brings me back to my happy childhood memories!

Friday, November 30, 2012

My Thoughts on Hester Prynne

Until the reading for class, I had never before read “The Scarlet Letter”, nor had I watched the movie. I didn’t know what I was getting myself into. I loved it. I loved Hester Prynne, she is my new hero! Hester was a remarkable woman. So what that she committed adultery, her husband did basically abandon her. Myself, I am not an adulteress, nor do I condone it, but I can relate to Hester and the utter loneliness that she must have felt for years.

Hester walked the straight and narrow regardless of that letter “A”. She could have buckled under the shame, but she kept her head up and kept persevering. She kept her pride as a human being and a woman. Hester was a help to anyone and everyone who needed her, and she did it with no ulterior motive. She provided for herself and for Pearl without help from anyone else. She did it all!

Hester made her a place in the world, no matter the scorn she received. She, unlike them, had respect for everyone, except for her husband. Who could blame her? Hester was strong- willed and strong-minded. She had faith and a beautiful heart; she had much patience and was of quiet spirit. Hester also was most courageous and thought things out thoroughly before she spoke or acted.

I think very highly of Hester Prynne. I would not mind being the beautiful person she was- I hope to attain most of these qualities during my life; some I have, others like speaking BEFORE thinking, I need to work on! We all have flaws and have done things that we are not proud of, but we must learn from our mistakes. Hester was the most independent woman that I have ever had the pleasure of meeting! This is a story that I will not soon forget!

Saturday, November 24, 2012

Dickinson, Poe, and Plath

What a cold, dreary day outside today. I love it. I enjoy morbidity and dark literature. It started as a young girl, reading Emily Dickinson. Then in about fourth grade I met Poe- I had gotten the book "Fall of the House of Usher". I was in love, I read that book many times!
I am right at home with topics such as death, suicide, and such. (No I am not suicidal-I love my life) I know what it feels like to be at the bottom and looking upward for some thing to cling onto. I know what it feels like to be spiraling out of control and just barely grasping enough sanity to try to hang on. I can relate to these poets. Their poetry makes me happy, makes me think. At the present time, I am going through a very painful divorce, painful because I do not want it, but it just may be what is best for me. Who knows? I am slowly getting through it and my depression doesn't help, but these wonderful poets do, they remind me of everything good in my life, which honestly speaking is quite alot.

I look at each day as the beginning of my life and I make the best of it. I especially like Dickinson's "I Could Not Stop for Death" because it reminds me of how short life really is and that we are not promised another day- live each day like it is your last! (One day it will be and I need to make the most I can out of each day!) Another poem I really like by Poe is "Alone"- I like the lines which read: My sorrow-I could not awaken/My heart to joy at the same tone--And all I lov'd-I'd lov'd alone--

My favorite poet of the three is Sylvia Plath (who did commit suicide). Her poem "Lady Lazarus" is a wonderful, self-revealing poem. She tells of her previous suicide attempts. She compares herself to a cat having nine times to die. I like the following stanza: Dying/ Is an art, like everything else./ I do it exceptionally well. I do too, everyday, I take it as yesterday as being dead and to be reborn everyday. I feel as though I understand what she is feeling but on a different level. I have gone through two divorces, and have "died" many times, in between. Life goes on and I look forward to each new day!


Sylvia Plath


Numb, but I hurt
Heart bleeds,
Spinning in circles
Brain racing-won't stop;
on the verge of insanity.
Numb, but I feel.
Heart, aches, is heavy; 
turning to stone.
Hate the lies, 
the deception.
Damn the numbness-
making me crazy.
Nothing is happy.
Days are dark.
To smile now,
would be to die.
So numb-
can't touch happiness.
This a poem I wrote during a particularly depressed time in my life, I wrote it about eight years ago. I am thankful, for it is the season of Thanksgiving, that this poem is no longer me.

Monday, October 22, 2012

My Favorite Thoreau Moments

First let me say it has been rather hectic at my house for the last few weeks! My daughte and my 4 year old grandson have been staying with us and I have really enjoyed getting to know Gaberiel better! He is a very active little boy, always wanting Grandma's attention, so reading has been a little tougher recently!
     I have read most of Henry David Thoreau's "Walden" and so far I love it!

This is just a little ramble of Thoreau uotes that I particularly like and some are rather humorous.

"You must live within yourself, and depend upon yourself..." (Thoreau, Resistance to Civil Government)

" There will never be a really free and enlightened State, until the State comes to recognize the individual as a higher and independent power, from which all its own power and authority are derived, and treats him accordingly." (Thoreau,  Resistance to Civil Government)

" sight has been whetted by experience..."

"We worship not the Graces, nor the Parcae, but Fashion. She spins, and weaves, and cuts with full authority. The head monkey at Paris puts on a traveller's cap, and all the monkeys in America do the same." (Thoreau, Walden)

These are some very true words. I find them to be as true today as they were in Thoreau's day.

Wednesday, October 17, 2012

History vs. American Literature?

      Let me be the first to say that I loathe history. It was never my favorite subject, but American Literature has changed that opinion somewhat. So far, most everything I have read has been interesting and has kept my attention, which is hard for me with my Bipolar Type 1 and ADHD. Some of the stories and excerpts have that really caught my attention, I did a little more background reading on the subject. History, though, has never been fastinating to me, but how better to learn history than to read actual accounts and writings of the period? This is much more interesting to me than is someone else's version.
     I had never actually read our Constitution or Lincoln's Gettysburg Address-now, I can appreciate these writings. In high school, 20+ years ago, I had to memorize and recite a portion of the Gettysburg Address, I did it perfectly, but I did not care to understand what it meant nor what it was saying. Wow, how things change!
     I plan on keeping my American Literature textbook set and I plan on reading both volumes in their entirety as soon as I get the time. I also imagine that these volumes will be of use to my grandbabies when they get older. I remember looking at my Aunt Joan's American Literature textbooks before I could actually read, but rather pretending to read and looking at the pictures. The very first thing I learned to read out of that book was a drama by Emily Dickinson. I was probably in 3rd grade at the time. I had read the book "Helter Skelter" about the Charles Manson murders, by the time I finished 6th grade. I have always been an avid reader and this class has broadened my knowledge of history. I guess times change but history remains the same.
     As of this writing my two favorite stories so far have been two of my all-time favorites: "The Legend of Sleepy Hollow" by Washington Irving and "The Fall of the House of Usher" by Edgar A. Poe. The most memorable person that I have so far read about and did some research on was Sojourner Truth. She is such an inspiration!   

Ode to Dead Love

Ode to Dead Love
Midnight, violet, indigo sea of melancholy
of a love no longer found.
Not in azure eyes,
reflection of adoration-
two no longer bound.
Pink and peach, fair color skin-
touch no longer lingers,
all that’s left is a yearning.
Crimson passion-gone-
in her wake-sanguine,
ink, the color of burning.
Now faded to ash.
Affection once there evermore,
turned to mauve and lime like death.
Dead love-once blossomed
with rose and lemon dreams,
once before, the other’s breath.
This cherry love now past,
hurts like black and blue;
magenta, tangerine sky aglow,
remember times shared,
when all was not lost
to a dead love of not so long ago.
This is just a random photo I had found and thought it fitting for this poem I have written. I just threw this into the mix because all the colors in the poem remind me of a beautiful, vivid fall day.

Tuesday, October 16, 2012

My Thoughts on Reading

     I love to read. I read about everything, yes, even the back of cereal boxes! I have a large collection of books, which I love. They are all based on my likes, so I have a very broad assortment, I never realized until now how many I have and how different they are. Too bad the majority of them are still stored in the basement. Hmm, I guess I need to go get them out now that I have some room for them. My favorite books are my Bible, an old copy of  Jane Eyre, an old herbal book, and a copy of Memoirs of a Geisha. I have never seen the movie, but the book is wonderful! I love books of all sorts, from the Classics to modern horror/psychological thrillers.
     To be honest, I do not even own a television, nor do I really ever watch movies (they put me to sleep). The stupid box called t.v. doesn't really entertain me at all.  When it comes down to it, I would rather read the book. They are always better than the movies anyhow.
     I was just glancing around on Pinterest this morning and I found this quote: "There's more to life than books, you know but not much more." I do not know who wrote it to give proper credit. In my life this is a fairly true quote, but I admit I like writing just a little better. Currently I have 5 very different journals that I am keeping and none of those include my poetry journals.
     American Literature is my all-time favorite subject. This is my fifth semester at Ivy Tech and I can honestly say that this is my favorite class. I am taking a second course next semester and I look very forward to it. I have enjoyed all my English classes, and they have been very helpful to me. The value of these classes will show, when I decide to have my poetry published. I also dream of writing my book about what Bipolar Type 1 feels like, along with the feelings of the deep depression that sometimes occurs. I guess I have put that dream on the back burner for now, in favor of my poetry.
     I think the best gift that a child can receive in material things, is an age-appropriate book. My young grandchildren love books. I love to have one of the little ones come and say, "Mamaw read me a story." or now that two of my grandbabies are in school: "Mamaw can I read you a story?" Reading books helps unlock the imagination and is a key to learning.

Sunday, October 14, 2012

Autumn Day

Autumn Day
Before this day is done,
I yearn to walk
along the path
of burning embers
of the trees.
Before this day is done,
I yearn to trek
along the banks
of whispering brooks
clad in autumn's splendor.
Before this day is done,
I yearn to hear
the last
of the songbirds
before their yearly flight.
Before this day is done,
I want to laugh
with the joy
of autumn
before it's gone!