It is a well-known fact, by this point, that many people in Paris, France suffered because of an organized attack that was linked directly to the organization most commonly referred to as ISIS. This terrorist organization was unhappy with France as it increased military support in places such as Syria, and decided to take action on the famous tourist site in order to send a clear message to the government officials in France. This topic came up in my Geography class and we had an interesting discussion on it, and what the motives for such an attack could have been and the previous statement was the best idea that we came up with. I am disheartened to know that there’s such an outcry of rage in the world that a place like Paris, full of tourists and people from various countries, has been attacked as a direct result of ISIS and those they have influence.
ISIS, as we have discovered, is able to communicate with each and every one of us through our social media accounts – I’ve had one or two encounters, myself, with people who are trying to rally and recruit others through social media. This group of religious extremists has angered a nation that ought not be messed with—in the past, when France has been enraged, they have gotten their revenge. Now, in an age where everyone is connected and you know about a battle halfway across the world with a few characters typed into a search engine, you have power to make things happen and make people more aware of what is going on.
I truly wish that those in Paris who witnessed the events are not scarred for their lifetimes, but rather take this as an experience to learn and to persuade others into being more aware of what is going on around them. I’m not saying that they should be able to predict an attack by now, but I would like to see some more coverage from young adults like me on the topic. Even the hacker group known as Anonymous has stated that they will try to eradicate ISIS. What are we going to do?
Fortunately for me, I have rarely received bad advice, though that partially has to do with the fact that I almost only take advice from my father. He is a man who has been around the block a time or two, having lived quite a long time and living a full life outside of raising a child. As I approach adulthood, I find myself asking for his opinions and his advice more often than not, and one thing he has always drilled into my head is that I need to get an education. I can hear him now, standing there saying, “Get all the schooling you can get. I don’t care if you don’t have a job until you’re twenty-five, you need to get an education.” I am a firm believer in that, and I appreciate him for being my drive, alongside my personal wishes. I do not want to be unsuccessful. Perhaps that is just a fear of mine.
This is some advice that I would like to pass along to anyone who is thinking about dropping out of something as easy as High School. As a person who has already experienced dropping out (albeit unwillingly), I have to say that it is much harder to get a GED than to go to high school day-in and day-out. I’ve tried. I’m a personally-motivated person, and it was still difficult for me to try, and the costs weren’t something I could afford. Returning to high school was one of the best decisions I’d ever made, along with moving to a place that had a better education than what I was previously living with. Please, if you’re thinking about dropping out, rethink your decisions and make sure that you are absolutely clear on what your life will lead to.
Recently I’ve watched an interview with Tim O’Brien, the author of The Things They Carried, and found that many of my questions posed during a class discussion of the book have been answered. One of my most prominent questions was, “Why make a character with the name Tim O’Brien if the author did not want to be associated with it?”
An interviewer brought up this topic and Tim’s response was quite different than the one I received in class. He said, “That was part of me. I suppose my strategy of writing in this book. I wanted to write a work of fiction that would feel to the reader as if this has occurred or is occurring as I read it. So I would use every strategy that I could think of as a way to give readers a sense of witnessed experience.”
I think that, as a writer, is something so important and so key to pulling in a reader and keeping them hooked on the story. The lines between fact and fiction in this book were quite blurred for me, as I read. I saw this book as more of a memoir of Tim’s life, rather than a work of Historical Fiction.
However, I will argue that it belongs as a work of fiction, despite being a great reference piece to the occurrences of the Vietnam War. As Tim said, it is important to distance oneself from their work in order to let their imagination flow, instead of getting caught up on details that may or may not matter to the reader. He wrote this for an older audience, despite later speaking that he wanted a target audience of older teenagers, so I can understand his distance from the story. “Young people need to understand the complications and ambiguities of war.”
“Literature is not Happy Hour time.”
If you’re interested in observing the interview that I did, feel free to find it here, on PBS.org
Good Charlotte — The River (Feat. Synyster Gates & M. Shadows)
Lyrics & Song
This song really means so much to me, despite it being by one of my favorite bands when I was younger (and still standing). It speaks of a man who has seen what direction his life is going in and that he realizes that if he doesn’t return to a sense of right in the world, that things can only go wrong from here. He confesses that he has done things wrong and that he is begging for retribution, be it from those he has wronged for from God, himself. Realizing that the place around him isn’t everything that people said it was, he wants to return home and swears that he still believes in all that is right in the world.
He has seen the ugliness in this world and has thus become stronger because of it — you shouldn’t keep your children holed up forever. They will break out and find the world outside of what you’ve been painting for them, and once they are on their own, they will make mistakes. Those mistakes are a part of growing up, and there is nothing wrong with wishing to return to a time where all was well because your friends, family, or religious leaders will still welcome you home with open arms
The runner-up for the selection of one of my favorite quotes comes from a Television Series that got quite a nice reboot this year by the name of Gintama. It’s typically a rather silly series that you want to watch and have a good laugh, but there are some deep elements once in a while. My favorite occurrence happened to be a quote from the main character that really hit home with me.
“Stand up. If you have time to think of a beautiful end, then why not live beautifully until the last?” — Gintoki Sakata (Season One, Episode Five)
This quote really resonates with me because of the struggles I’ve had with trying to plan out my own beautiful death, being preoccupied with how my life will end rather than how it should be continued.
The Big Read | The Things They Carried by Tim O’Brien
This article, published by a popular website called The Big Read, includes an exclusive 2008 interview with Tim O’Brien, the author of The Things They Carried. Josephine Reed asks questions to O’Brien and earns a more in-depth explanation from him as to why he decided to write the things he has. As a young man, O’Brien grew up in Minnesota with an ‘all-American’ childhood, his father having been a veteran from World War II.
With the inspiring stories of Okinawa and Iwo Jima having been published by his father in The New York Times, O’Brien knew that he wanted to become a writer. However, he received a draft notice and spent his tour of duty (1969-70) stationed in My Lai, where he was then sent home thanks to a piece of grenade shrapnel having been lodged in the man’s body. A purple heart was received and soon after, O’Brien’s writing experiences began.
As explained in the interview with Josephine Reed, O’Brien stated that his famous novel (The Things They Carried) is “A book that centers on Vietnam and a platoon of soldiers. In one sense, it’s about the Vietnam War, but it’s also about storytelling, how stories rule our lives, how they’re told and retold as we look for an elusive truth. And finally, it’s about writing itself—writing as an effort to pin down with language the truth about a subject.”
This article gives a reader, whom has never or rarely had contact with O’Brien’s famous works, a sense of what kind of man he is and his reasoning for writing such a novel.
Discourage an artist… and you get absolutely nothing in return, ever.
A comic on Gavin Aung Than’s popular webcomic site called Zen Pencils really caught my eye, and it’s called ‘It costs nothing to Encourage An Artist’, which I find to be very true. The message relayed with this fantastic piece of work really resonates with me, being an artist as well. Many times in my life I have been praised and encouraged with my art, and I find that it only makes my passion for it grow stronger. People who really put their heart into things are absolutely crushed when someone doesn’t react the way they wish for them to, and I know that all too well. Two weeks of work on a project only to get an ‘Okay’ when asked if it looks good can really put a damper on one’s spirits.
If you encourage an Artist to do their best each time, their skills will only grow and their love for their work will only grow. Not only does this apply to artists, but musicians and glassblowers and anyone else that truly loves their craft. Do not discourage anyone from doing something they’re really passionate about, because you will get nothing in return for putting their dreams down. When you discourage someone, you take away their passion and they begin questioning everything they’ve ever done. Most often, people express themselves through their medium and when they show their work to you, it’s a sign of deep trust.
They trust you not to hurt them, but there’s always that risk that someone will toss their work to the side and tell them to do something better. Artists take that chance each time they risk showing their work, but they’re proud of what they’ve done and want to share with you. Please keep that in mind the next time someone shows you something they’ve worked hard on. Even if you don’t care, you should encourage them to do their best.
Zen Pencils Comic: It Costs nothing to Encourage An Artist