As a single mother living in Greensboro North Carolina, Laura Hundley enjoyed sending her son Cannon to private school. Due to the financial costs of the school and separating from her husband, she had to withdraw Cannon from the school he loved.
According to Laura, her son Cannon blossomed in Wesleyan Christian Academy. From Laura’s perspective, private school teachers demand respect from their…
In the society of men he was bored and not himself, with them he was cold and uncommunicative; but when he was in the company of women he felt free, and knew what to say to them and how to behave; and he was at ease with them even when he was silent. In his appearance, in his character, in his whole nature, there was something attractive and elusive which allured women and disposed them in his favor; he knew that, and some force seemed to draw him to them. Anton Chekhov.
How Americans Are Reading
There are more individuals reading a print book in the past year, even as e-reading continues its…
In Defense of Self-Expression
The day of an essayist simply expounding on something close to his heart or mind is pretty much…
Once upon a time in Westphalia, in the castle of Monsieur the Baron von Thunder-ten-tronckh, there lived a young boy on whom nature had bestowed the gentlest of dispositions. His countenance express his soul. He combined solid judgement with complete openness of mind; which is the reason, I believe, that he was called Candide.–
Voltaire, Candide, or, Optimism
Monday First Sentences | Every Monday, we offer the opening sentences of a Penguin Classic to start the week
While I am writing, I am having garlic bread and bacon for breakfast. I just have some random thoughts and observations across the scene. This is just a personal invitation into my insanity.
There is no such thing as a”thought leader.” Despite the cogent advice from a friend, I still do not understand this phase. Aren’t there more suitable words? The world has enough experts, scribes, scholars, and commentators. Besides, thought leader sounds like an individual in charge of a cult.
I really love quiet time and spaces. There is enough noise pollution to go around for everyone.
Do you believe the children our are future? If the children are our future, we are in so much trouble. The shrinking attention spans and ever-expanding waistlines are not reassuring. What is going on with this knockout game? Are kids becoming so desensitized that they think random acts of violence are fun?
The most important three word phrase is I don’t care . What about I Love You? Sorry, no one cares about you outside of your family and friends. The world subjects people to so much crap. Some members of humanity are unworthy of your time and attention.
Speaking of my fellow members of humanity, my first impression of Washingtonians was hardly positive. Beltways maniacs seem rude and inconsiderate. When did ”excuse me” become so inconvenient when you bump into someone?
There is something I realized after the occasional person to person collusion. Commuters are checking their phones, reviewing the paper or reading a book. Sometimes, I get the loud conversations and singers practicing for their American Idol auditions. Despite this, most people are leaving me alone and minding their own business during my daily commute. What a wonderful world.
Can you smell the psychological scarring? The scent resembles bad coffee and toast. The daily grind just keeps getting better.
Does anyone have time to write letters by hand anymore? Mason Currey examines this question in The Death of Letter Writing published recently in the New York Times.
Mason expressed concerns regarding the death of the literary letter. He cites the publication of Saul Bellow’s letters in 2010 and William Styron’s last year as examples. Some critics are speculating regarding the future of such collections. At this point, no one knows if there is demand for the correspondence of writers. Is anyone waiting with batted breath regarding the e-mail collection of J. K. Rowling?
Letters are nice way of staying in touch. Also, writers use letters as an opportunity to tweak idea and to get feedback. For some writers, letter writing provides a nice transition to ease out (or into) more demanding writing. According to Mason, Ernest Hemingway turned to his letters when his fiction writing wasn’t going well. Letters (for Hemingway) offer a welcome break from what Hemingway called theawful responsibility of writing.
Ironically, I believe e-mail provides a nice pause from juggling tasks that pile upon my desks. Is e-mail truly different from the handwritten letter? Some individuals think that e-mails are a distraction. Unlike the old fashion letter, e-mails are far more active. There is a chance that users cannot put the e-mail message out of their minds. Also, what do people do when there is a pile of unanswered e-mails? We do not want to ignore or disrespect the sender. However, managing e-mail is just another task on the never-ending to do list.
What is the price for all of this progress? There is never enough time in the day. Meetings and deadlines dominate work. We make time for family and friends. After this, we go home and start this vicious cycle all over again.
There is no bigger fan of e-mail and social media than yours truly. I use such tools to stay connected . Are we really accomplishing anything with all of this connectivity? Some of us may not have the time or patience to discuss the details to important matters. Some individuals experience frustration regarding all the e-mails, text messages, voice mail and all the projects at work. The best of us are very skillful at multitasking. While for others, multitasking is making several mistakes simultaneously.
No, I do not think e-mail will mark the end of humanity. In other ways, I do believe are losing out. Sound bites have replaced a thorough discussion of important issues. There is no adequate substitution for the specifics.
Sometimes, we need enough time and space to give work and task the appropriate attention. In writing letters by hand, there are so very important takeaways. Letter writing demands focus. The handwritten letter demands you carefully build each sentence. This process allows the writer to convey something both clearly and heartfelt. Maybe we can learn something very important from this so-called archaic form of communication.
Is there anyone participating in National Novel Writing Month? Aspiring novelists from across the country will work on their manuscripts beginning next month. The objective is to write a 50,000 word opus (which is around 175 pages) by November 30. The goal is to encourage individuals to take up writing. Is this inspirational or complete insanity?
The opportunity to write something longer than an online piece or article is appealing. I just do not know. Lately, my mind is churning over what Christina Thompson wrote for online publication Essay Daily. Thompson serves at the editor of Harvard Review. In Prose Matters, she provides a meticulous description of her criteria regarding a submission.
Of course, it’s not really true that I don’t care about content. But what I mean was that I don’t judge work based on its subject matter. I am not looking for pieces that make certain points or take certain positions or express certain views. I am not essentially, interested in the political angel. What I am interested in is artistry that is, an author’s demonstration of mastery of his craft.
Although Thompson’s forte is essay writing, this viewpoint is applicable across the board for the journal she edits. She is providing invaluable insight from the other side of the process. For some individuals this specific point is obvious. No editor wants to review a work that is not polished or incomplete. The following passage really caught my attention.
What I really like-what I’m always looking for-is writers who know what they’re doing. This is not necessarily the same as those who have written for a long time, though, to be sure, practice helps. The real difference, I think, is between those who see writing simply as means of communicating something they feel needs to be said, and those who see writing as an art form. While there is certainly place in the world for the form, it is not Harvard Review.
Fascinating, are all my efforts to develop informative work is for nothing? Shakespeare, James Joyce, William Faulkner, Ralph Ellison, Langston Hughes and Saul Bellow are artists. These authors have reached immortality. My goal is to draft a crisper form of prose with each piece. This is just great. Dr. Thompson’s conclusion hits home like the Peanuts comic strip. After reading this, she is playing Lucy and I am Charlie Brown. She just yanked the football away.
After landing on my back, my brain starts churning. Good writing must evoke sensation in t readers. For example, the fact that it is raining tomorrow is irrelevant (from a writing point of a view). As an aspiring scribe, I must capture the experience of the rainfall coming down on someone. This is an example of the artistry Thompson discussed. I must develop this in my style of writing. Unfortunately, I am not there yet. However, this is something worth striving toward.
At this point, I will not take part in the National Writing Novel Event. Writing is a solitary activity. This event offers a chance to connect with the writing community. Regardless, I want to wish everyone participating in this event good luck. In time, I must think more like a painter and less like a carpenter.
Have you ever watched a jaw-dropping performance by an incredible artist or athlete?
Growing up, I idolized NFL wide receiver Lynn Swann. He never defeated his opponents with lighting caliber quickness. Swann would jump up in the air to catch the pass and float pass his rivals. He smoothly defied gravity with the greatest of ease.
Also during my childhood, I witnessed an awe-inspiring performance by the Alvin Ailey American Dance Theater on PBS, of their signature work Revelations.The choreography captured my emotions and imagination. The dancers executed each move with so much strength, elegance and style that it still resonates with me so many years later.
What do sports and dance possibly have in common? Both activities require a crazy amount of hard work, sacrifice and dedication. Dancers and athletes are extremely fit and very competitive. People enjoy watching them because of the power of that grace that both dance and sports demand in order to achieve greatness.
Lately, I have been wondering how I can include lessons on grace in my life. Ironically, I am the most awkward and clumsy individual I know.
However, very few people can match my heart and hustle, the relentless drive and determination in my system. Some former mentors have accused me of stubbornness.
I’ve spent a lifetime battling demigods and demons. There have been educators that didn’t think I had the intellectual capacity to finish high school, let alone college. Since I entered the workplace, I have found numerous land mines and obstacles in my way. Some people made the mistake of underestimating my resolve. However, I have always known that I will fight in my sleep in order to fulfil my dreams.
I take this Olympic-caliber effort into every aspect of life, including my yoga practice. For example, I struggle with the posture Marichyasana C. Both my shoulders and hips are very tight, which makes this specific posture very difficult. Thank goodness my yoga teachers have a great deal of compassion and patience: specifically, Jen Rene of the Flow Yoga Center. She sees me struggle and provides the appropriate modifications. After her adjustments I sit there, covered in sweat, feeling frustrated and depleted. This is hardly the behavior of a gentleman. Despite these types of displays, I am fortunate enough to practice there.
While taking a step back, I realize the importance of the practice. Grace truly is the balance of ease and effort. Grace is floating like a butterfly and stinging like a bee. Virtuosos inspire audiences because of their exceptional skill and the power to pour their personalities into each performance. Musicians like Yo Yo Ma really enjoy their job and make it look easy.
The following are just some qualities which are important for forging a more graceful path.
No, I have no plans to emulate the dance moves of the beautiful ballerinas in The Washington Ballet.Poise consists of a dignified, self-confident manner, being or composure. The best performers and athletes maintain their confidence regardless of adversities. Ironically, they welcome challenge as an opportunity to test their skills.
Life will test us all regardless of where we stand. Have you ever noticed a professional athlete’s expression or reaction after a loss? Some athletes have the ability to handle their defeat in a very dispassionate way. They must have confidence to let go and move on because the next game is coming soon.
Life offers a lot of uncertainty beyond death, taxes and change. Yoga is the art and science of living. Also, the practice is a skill-building exercise. The workplace demands that individuals be willing to extend their expertise.
I admire artists so much because they have mastered an activity that requires great skills. Regardless of how much effort I exert, if I cannot produce worthwhile results I cannot move forward. My spirit may be willing, but I cannot move forward if my skills are nil. Uncertainty will demand that we have the dexterity to face difficulties.
As clichéd as this may sound, haste truly makes waste. In rushing because we are managing so many priorities, quality may become compromised.
Grace requires meticulousness and this means that every detail is covered. When this happens, execution will seem effortless.
So, am I still envious of the awe-inspiring performance of athletes and dancers? Of course, but I will not take for granted the sweat and sacrifice behind the scenes. Grace embodies so many wonderful qualities that are worth cultivating. This may take me a lifetime to learn, but in the end it will be worthwhile.
The journey demands striving for something extraordinary.