Sunday, January 27, 2013

Final Thoughts

Favourite Assignment? Why?

My favourite assignment was definitely putting together the bucket list. I found that the introduction of the unit with the Buried Life show and book really inspired me to make a list that’s not only personal, but also sincere. It was a nice change not to have to write paragraphs upon paragraphs of reflection, and the list came to me easily. The final bucket list project was also really rewarding to complete, as it was a step towards the “Now What?” for me. It made me feel that much more ready to get out there and actually take action when it comes to completing the items. In general, I probably learned more about myself through this project than any of the others.

Least Favourite Assignment? Why?
My least favourite assignment(s) would probably be the reading reflections. I found that they dragged on and on, and I could never finish them in the class time provided. It was difficult to figure out what to discuss and I never knew what was expected of me when it comes to them.

Friday Reading?

I actually really enjoyed the Friday reading periods! They were a very nice way to both start off a Friday morning, and to finish up the week. I liked being in the loop and always prepared for what’s happening during our Friday classes.

Monday Written Reflection?
I didn’t mind the written reflections we did based on our assignments. It was a good opportunity to conclude our assignments, explain ourselves, and share our thoughts about them in general.

The WRN?

I think the fact that I had to ask Taylor “What is the WRN?” is an answer to this question all on its own. When the WRN was introduced, I had assumed that I’d be doing the majority of my work and planning in it. I attempted to use it a couple of times, and eventually caved into the world of technology. I found the WRN very convenient for the sake of taking notes and referring back to them, but otherwise, not much writing was done in it.


Blogging became fun once it was second nature. Just like Twitter, it was rather overwhelming at first. I didn’t know what may or may not have been significant enough to blog about, and the full creative freedom was too much. In the end, it was really neat to see a blog come together so quickly – especially one that is reflective of me as a person.

I really didn’t expect to enjoy it. At first, I found the vast world of Twitter to be a little scary and overwhelming. Once I got used to it and realized just how casual it is, I started to appreciate and respect it a little more. I had always assumed that Twitter could only be used for insignificant things like updating people on what it is you’re eating (or maybe that’s Instagram?) However, I was pleasantly surprised with what you can find out and how productive you can be on Twitter.

The integration of technology into the course?

I thought that the integration of technology into the course was very well done; especially considering the restrictions placed on us when it came to the lack of Wi-Fi, school division security block of certain sites, etc. We were creative (pun not intended) and managed to get around these things!

What you learned about yourself as a reader, writer, and thinker, creator?

I’ve learned that some forms of writing are actually enjoyable and are great for self-expression. I also found out that despite being a rather private person, sharing some of my work with the public can be beneficial.

Comments/Compliments/Constructive criticism for Ms. McLauchlan about the course

Though not what I expected when hearing the name “Creative Writing”, the course was very interesting and different from anything else I’ve seen in high school. I will definitely take many of the ideas and inspiration with me, and feel like I’ve figured out a new little piece of myself through the course. It would be really nice to get some more time in class for reading others’ blogs to get inspiration as well as feedback.

Thank you, Ms. McLauchlan!

Advice for future CW students?

Keep up with your work! It is so stressful to have missing assignments pile up (as it would be in any course, but I guess this is the first time I’ve really experienced it.) Also, don’t be afraid to share your personal thoughts, experiences, and ideas. That’s what the course is for. Keep in mind that incorporating cats into your assignments will probably give you bonus marks... All in all, good luck!

Thursday, January 24, 2013

Personal Addition #73... I wish. - The Difference
I honestly can't remember the first time I stumbled upon this image, but what matters is that it really provoked some thought in me. On a daily basis, we hear something about persecution of people based on race, gender, religion, and physical appearance in general. Someone thinks that someone else is a lesser person for being different when it comes to one of those categories, and discussions and arguments start. This can easily be found all over the internet, in history, in the present, and even within places like schools. Think of the LGBT group and Black History month. These are both fine examples of what we've done in attempt to solve this issue. The unfortunate thing is that it still exists... What the image is trying to show is that despite all the differences, we are all the same on the inside. We're all human, and we should be able to live in peace with our equals. I just wish more people would see it this way.

Reading and Writing Reflection #4

Book: Water For Elephants

Author: Sara Gruen

Pages Read: 1-13 (part 2)

I clearly have a lot to say about the prologue and the first chapter, as this is the second part of the reading reflection. (Hooray for sticky notes! Despite it being a little annoying to have to stop part way through reading to write something down, it is also so helpful! I used a total of 6 sticky notes just for the 13 pages, which is definitely a record for me. Since I prefer to read later in the evening, I usually don’t have time to write the reflection right after. The sticky notes have made the reading reflections a breeze!)

Back to the book, the first chapter is Jacob seventy years later, at a care home. He starts the chapter off by making a good point about old age. He says, “You call your child by the names of all your children and finally the dog before you get to his.” I can relate to this, considering my mom does this all the time. “Lena, Maggie (dog), I mean Jane! Come here!” She’ll yell (translation from the Russian language.) The best part is that she isn’t even old. She’s only about half of Jacob’s age…

Jacob goes on about his longing for normal food. He says, “Sometimes I think that if I had to choose between an ear of corn or making love to a woman, I’d choose the corn.” My automatic reaction to this was laughter, of course. Once it sunk in a little bit, I really felt bad for Jacob. The statement is actually very sad if you think about the situation… Lonely old man that can barely walk is stuck with nothing but his thoughts and doesn’t get to enjoy the rest of his life… Not even some decent food! I would hate not being able to eat good food.

He reminisces about his life at the circus, which makes me want to experience the classic circus environment, as I don’t think that I’ve ever been before. This description makes me wonder if circuses like that even exist in this time period. I hope they do… it’s something that I’m going to add to my bucket list ;).

Later on, Jacob brings up something else that really amazes me and makes me sympathize for him. He talks about being widowed. The woman was his wife for 61 years (wow!) and died of cancer. A question instantly popped into my mind – was the woman Marlena?! I secretly hope it was… Something Jacob said that really played with my heart strings was “…I’m glad she went first. Losing her was like being cleft down the middle. It was the moment it all ended for me, and I wouldn’t have wanted her to go through that.” This quote really showed me just how much Jacob cared (and still cares) for his wife. You can tell that he depended on her greatly, and she seems to be the only family he ever had, so it must have been devastating for him to lose her.

Six Word Memoirs:

I tend to have difficulty shortening things and getting to the point, so having a project where an entire story or fact has to be told through just six words was a little challenging for me. I found myself rewording the same phrase over and over again to fit the word limit and to make it sound better. Let’s just say that the thesaurus was my best friend. The best part about using the thesaurus was that despite the great substitutes and words I had found, I usually ended up sticking to the original line or simpler wording. So in the end, I mostly used it for reassurance more than anything else.

Something that I really enjoyed was putting the words together with the visuals. Finding something that really fit in my eyes was a little bit of a challenge, but seeing the finished piece is definitely worth all that trouble. As far as I know, the students that didn't join the course a month late (so everyone but me,) had to find visuals within the school. I am definitely glad that I wasn't one of those students... This would've been so difficult to do, and would definitely call for a lot of creativity. Hmm... Maybe next time. This project has made me realise just how sentimental one image can be. Yes, we have hundreds upon hundreds of pictures lying around, but it seems like every single one of those pictures tells a story. Overall, the project is one I really liked!

Six Word Memoir #6

Photo Credit: Jane R.

Last summer, I flew over to Quebec City for a five week program called Explore. The point of the program is to be living in a French speaking environment while attending classes and participating in various activities that are also in the French language. I spent most of my down time walking down the little streets of Old Quebec and simply taking in all the beautiful scenery around me. I concluded that Quebec is like a little piece of France within Canada, after seeing the huge European influence on the city and its people. The more time I spent exploring (ha ha, pun not intended) the city, the more deeply I fell in love with it. I felt truly at ease with being in this new place, and for once, felt like I belonged somewhere. I assumed that I could easily blend in as a French girl, just walking around, going to the local boulangerie, eating gelato (which was everywhere in Quebec, despite its Italian origin), kind of like I actually lived there. It’s a little silly because I used to always tell my mom that I will live in Quebec City at some point in my life (without having seen it in person,) and the trip just confirmed this desire of mine.

Six Word Memoir #5

Photo Credit: Jane R.
When it comes to big draws, games, contests, etc. I haven't been too lucky. One day, a friend and I decided to grab some hot beverages and warm up at Tim Hortons. Just think of my excitement when I finished my coffee, chewed on the rim of the cup (in attempt to unroll it,) and saw something other than "Thank you for playing." or "Please try again." I was so excited!!! You may be thinking, "but Jane, you just won another coffee..." and yes, you are in fact correct. However, it wasn't about the prize itself, it was about the satisfaction of actually getting one. In the end, I gave the free coffee voucher to an old man writing in a journal in the corner of the cafe. He seemed a little lonely, and I figured that a little act of kindness could make his day.

Six Word Memoir #4

Photo Credit: Random Family Member
This six word memoir is a confession near and dear to my heart. As you may already know, I immigrated to Canada almost 10 years ago, leaving my family behind. This means that I've grown up without grandparents, uncles, aunts, cousins, etc. around me and haven't seen anyone since. I have changed and grown a lot over the past decade (as would be expected.) The unfortunate thing is that living on the other side of the world has drastically shaped the person I am, and I am extremely worried that this person isn't what would be accepted by the traditional views of my family members. I figured that the best way to visually represent this memoir is to use a photo of who it is I'm referring to. I decided to protect their identities by cleverly blurring their faces, and turned the photo into black and white so that I could have an intense contrast between the photo and the red lettering.

Six Word Memoir #3

Photo Credit: Jane R.
The neat thing about this memoir is the fact that I had created in years ago, without the intention of it ever being seen. I didn't know what a six word memoir was at the time, but simply doodled this out because the phrase was one I connected to. Stumbling upon it years later, I found that the message is still one I can relate to today. Sometimes when things are no longer in your hands, the only thing you can do is be patient - only time will tell how things will turn out.