Wednesday, May 30, 2012

My Family is Weirder Than Yours (and More of My Life in Stick Figures)

So, this is the return of the stick figures of my family. In the past week (actually, it hasn't even been an entire week) I have observed my family and their oddities (er, our oddities) so I can prove to you that my family is weirder than yours. All of my cartoons are pretty much recreations of what was actually said, except, y'know, my family members wear clothes and have... flesh...

Oh, and for the record, my dad doesn't actually have blue hair, that was just the colour of the marker (stupid markers that LOOK black but aren't!)

Exhibit A

We spent all of last week analyzing my brother because he was sick, and came up with the conclusion that he needs to express his feelings more.

Exhibit B

My parents and I had a late-night discussion last week about... Star Wars.

Exhibit C

...and then my dad and I discussed and researched the difference between a "nerd" and a "geek". (Yes, I ask a lot of weird questions...)

Exhibit D

I was watching my brother the other day when he was looking for the ketchup in our pantry closet, and then all of a sudden he steps inside the pantry and closes the door behind him!

Exhibit E

Sometimes we burst into song randomly. (Okay, mostly my dad and I, but the rest of my family has done it, too.)

Exhibit F

This just... doesn't make sense.

Well, I had recently told my dad a story about a relay race where kids had to put petroleum jelly on their  noses and use it to get cotton balls out of a bowl, but normal people just don't say these things suddenly in other conversations which have nothing to do with the topic, which is what my dad did.

Exhibit G

My dad thinks this lame calculus joke is the most hilarious thing in the world. You can read the joke here. If you've taken calculus and you think it's funny, well... maybe you and my dad can be friends.

Exhibit H

According to my mom, my dad cries "at the drop of a bucket". :)

...and if that's not enough proof that my family is weirder than yours, well... I don't even know. Anyway, if you DO want to prove that your family is weirder than mine, give me proof in your own blog post or in the comments. I know my sister wasn't in any of these cartoons, but trust me, she's weird too.

How is your family weird??

Saturday, May 19, 2012

Love Letter to Books, Writing and Imagination

Yesterday  I started reading a book. Threeish hours later, I finished the book - and it was amazing. It was one of those books that opens you up to the world, gives you a fresh persepective on life and puts into words things that you knew but could never quite describe on your own. 

I felt like dancing around singing "I love books. I LOVE books." And I really do. They are so powerful, both in fiction and non-fiction form.

Anyway, today I was thinking of how much influence books have had on my life, ever since I was really young. Before I went into kindergarten, I knew how to read. I also loved to write and use my imagination. I'm sure a big part of the development of my imagination came from reading books. Yes, my imagination has gone running off on its own sometimes, but sometimes it's helped me.

A few months ago I was going through some old school stuff and found a bunch of random notebooks from grade 6. Grade 6 was the year where at first I had no friends, and then slowly I became best friends with this one girl, and then others. Anyway, this one girl and I spent our lunch hours... playing pretend. We made up an entire kingdom, and we were the Princesses Emerald and Topaz, based off our birthstones. We had an entire world, I tell you. The notebooks I found had notes outlining this world.

Another game of pretend that we played was during the winter. Snowplows would come during the winter and clear off the snow from the school grounds, and then huge piles of snow would be piled up on the school field. My friend and I used the huge piles of snow and made a fort for ourselves.

That was another thing I found in the notebooks. Apparently, some guys were bugging us and destroying our fort or something. In my notebook were nicknames for these guys and plans for "missions" that would thwart their bullying.

Yeah... I was a strange kid.

Anyway, as I was looking over this notebook, it made me wonder. At the time, it was all just fun and that was how I spent my free time at school. I never considered myself a victim of bullying, and I wasn't bothered by it. Yet as I was looking through these notebooks, I thought that maybe that was how I dealt with these bullies, though subconsciously. I made up things, and used my imagination to deal with them. It's a very curious thing, and it kind of makes me want to go back and psychoanalyze my 12-year-old self.

Even after middle school, my imagination and my writing and reading helped me. In grade 10, I wrote a lot of poems (well, a lot of poems for me) that helped me express things. And I still haven't stopped using imagination, writing and reading to help me. I am beyond grateful for all of these things.

So, I want to know. How has writing and/or reading and/or your imagination helped you throughout your life??

Oh, and I'm 18 now (as of May 3). That is why my thoughts have all of a sudden turned wistful and philosophical. (Haha). :D Have a great day, everyone!

Thursday, May 3, 2012

Cliff-hanger Endings: Are They Really That Bad?

Hey guys! In order to make up for my silence over the last while, I thought I'd just give you a short update on what's going on, and then I'll start my post. So, I'm actually in the midst of exams right now so I am taking lots of time studying and writing those (normally my exams would be in June, but because of the kind of courses I'm taking, they're in May). I'm also getting ready for wrapping up school completely and graduating high school in only twoish months! Eek. :D Let's see... I'm also trying to prepare a short story to enter in a local writing contest. I hope to start some fun new blog stuff after I'm done more of my exams, so you have that to look forward to. I have a few ideas up my sleeve. ;)

Anyway, I wanted to talk about endings. The two books that my English class most recently read were A Stone Angel by Margaret Laurence and A Handmaid's Tale by Margaret Atwood. Neither of them had very satisfying endings. A Stone Angel ends with the two words "And then..." and that's where the novel ends. The story ending of A Handmaid's Tale ends with the main character being taken away, and whether to safety or to her death the reader doesn't know. Then the last line of the epilogue-like ending is a university professor asking his students "Are there are any questions?" which is funny because, um, YES.

A lot of the students in my class complained loudly about how these endings were horrible, you don't get to find out anything, it wasn't wrapped up nicely at all, etc, etc. Then they write the entire book off as awful because you don't get to find out anything - and what's the point of reading a book that doesn't answer any questions it raises?

Well, that's a discussion for another day. But are these somewhat cliff-hanger endings really that bad? I feel like they are very effective, and they make you think. That is what I like about these endings - they force you to think. If there is anything that makes me love a book, it is that it makes me think. That's part of the reason why I loved Jellicoe Road so much. The intertwined and complicated plots required a whole lot of thinking to figure them out.

I think this is also why those "20 years later" epilogues sometimes really bug me, such as the one in Harry Potter or Rules of Attraction by Simone Elkeles. I feel like they shut down any opportunity for the reader's mind to wander and wonder further about the characters and story. Basically, it shut downs any opportunity for the reader to think about the book.

Yes, endings need to wrap up loose ends and whatnot. But I think they also need to be left at least somewhat open-ended to allow the reader to think and wonder.

So, I want to know what you think about all this... Do you like books that make you think? Do you like endings that wrap up completely, or that are left open? What books have made you think the most?


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