20 November 2016

The Once and Future King...Now and Forever Relevant

Has it ever struck you as interesting that English teachers, especially high school English teachers, analyze the same set of books with their students every year? My English teacher recently informed my class that the literature he is teaching this year is the same set of literature he taught last year, and the year before that, and the year before that, etc. Why is that? How is it that a specific set of literature can be so meaningful to a teacher that they are capable of teaching the same set of literature to hundreds of students for several (*cough* 30 *cough*) years?

His explanation was that he teaches this same set of literature to his students every year because the reactions of his students are predictable. Every year, certain students will appreciate certain works, and that is because as a generality, humanity itself is predictable. He explains that the first time he read the these works of literature, each composition affected him in a manner similar to that of his students. Thus, because humanity is predictable - the reactions of his students are predictable, and because the reactions of his students are predictable, he teaches the same set of literature every year. These books obviously maintain a deep relevance to his personal life if he teaches them every year, but considering the novels analyzed, I have realized that these works have affected my classmates and me in a predictable manner. Predictable, because like many of his students prior, my perception and understanding of humanity and civilization have furthered in a similar manner.

The first novel analyzed was The Once and Future King by T.H. White. I have realized that my English teacher analyzes this novel every year because the truths regarding humanity and civilization addressed throughout the novel are not only relevant to the medieval ages, nor the year of publication, but now and forever. Humanity is predictable and because humanity is predictable, this novel is relevant to the lives of those from when it was first written, to modern times, and forever into the future. (Hence the name, "The Once and Future King.")

If you have read the novel The Once and Future King and are interested in my analysis of decency and civilization within the novel, I posted my synthesis essay below:

The Relationship of Decency and Civilization
“Each person has inside a basic decency and goodness. If he listens to it and acts on it, he is giving a great deal of what it is the world needs most. It is not complicated but it takes courage. It takes courage for a person to listen to his own goodness and act on it.”
Pablo Casals
Although the perception of humanity as decent is admirable, in relation to the novel The Once and Future King, Arthur was unable to effectively establish civilization because he maintained this faith in the decency of man. This ideal, represented through his statements and actions, influences his reign.  Throughout various texts, the authors outlined and characterized the consequences of perceiving man as genuinely and inherently decent. Therefore, because Arthur maintains this perception of humanity, his actions often correlated with the consequences and conditions described within these texts.
Although Arthur consistently maintains faith in the decency of man, it is not until the conclusion of the novel, The Once and Future King, that Arthur recognizes and understands this underlying constant during his reign. Reflecting upon the lessons he learned through experience, Arthur recounts, “He had been taught...that man was perfectible: that he was on the whole more decent than beastly: that good was worth trying: that there was no such thing as original sin” (White, 628). Thus, as exemplified through this quotation, Arthur believed that man, inherently decent, was not capable of wickedness and immorality. Consequently, Arthur attributes his failures at establishing civilization not to the basic immorality of the knights themselves, but to external influences - in this instance, his own, ineffective methods of unification. “[The] goodness of man...deludes people into thinking that they are always victims, never villains...It dismisses responsibility...It can excuse any crime, because it can always blame something else” (The Enduring Revolution). Therefore, though Arthur intended to unite his knights under an established system of morality, because he altered the dynamic between his knights and morality rather than developing their basic character, he encouraged the belief that the knights were victims of external evil and not the villains themselves. By fostering this belief within his knights, Arthur excused their wrongdoings and allowed the knights to attribute evil to their environment. John Eldredge, the author of the nonfictional text, Epic, emphasizes that because God provided all human beings with the both ability to love and to reject Him and morality, God created life’s greatest enemy - the tendency of the individual to excuse and disregard indecency and immorality. “[People] don’t live as though the Story has a Villain...the incarnation of the very worst of every enemy you’ve met in every other story” (Eldredge, 39). As Eldredge lists a series of vile incarnations of evil, it is apparent that individuals often excuse and disregard the greatest evils in order to preserve their own morality - or lack thereof. Therefore, in relation to The Once and Future King, because Arthur allowed his knights to live as victims and not villains, his knights never learned to address the vile incarnations of evil, and the evil of their own immorality. Therefore, because Arthur regarded his knights as beings of decency and victims of a cruel environment, he allowed the force of immorality to reveal itself through the consequential actions of the knights later within the novel.
Though Arthur consistently attempts to establish civilization, his last attempt, a codified system of moral principles and policies, was ineffective because he continued to maintain faith in the decency of man. Believing that “human nature [could] be perfected by government,” as Arthur attempted to bind the force of might through law, his faith in the decency of man influenced his codification of evil. This is so because although this established system of laws addressed individualized immorality, it did not directly address the ethical conduct of organized groups.“The Principle of Might had sprung up behind him in another shape - in the shape...of numerous armies insusceptible to individual laws. He had bound the might of units, only to find that it was assumed by pluralities” (White, 629). Therefore, though a strict system of laws temporarily prevented the materialization of immorality, the individualized nature of Arthur’s system of laws could not withstand the force of organized groups. As Arthur attempted to establish civilization through the foundation of a codified system of law, “[He] pledged to move the world, but could only stain it with blood” (The Enduring Revolution). Arthur intended to bind the force of might through the regulation of the immorality of individuals, but might materialized in violent war and conflict. As brutal wars erupted throughout Europe under Arthur’s reign, all previous moral progress from the codification of evil was contradicted. Furthermore, as outlined in “If you believe that people are basically good,” because Arthur perceives man as basically decent, he did not reinforce his code of laws with religious morality. “The crowd that believes in innate human goodness tends to either be secular or to reduce God and religion”(If you believe that people are basically good). Consequently, Arthur's systematic code was unsuccessful because of its individualized, secular nature. However, if Arthur maintained a perception of inherent decency in men, and not individuals, he may have developed the character of humanity as a plurality - rather than improving civilization through an individualized system of law. “The world in all its beauty shall be ours again - forever...And it’s the word ours that pierces me” (Eldredge, 84). Cited from Epic, this quotation indicates that in the instance humanity possesses morality collectively, the world in its beauty shall be that of humanity. Therefore by practicing collective morality, the true beauty of the world is revealed to humanity - the beauty of morality. If Arthur had established an ethical code that was influenced by his religious values and also addressed pluralities instead of individuals, Arthur may have succeeded in establishing civilization. However, his faith in the basic decency of man prevented him from effectively establishing civilization.
As Arthur conceptualized the Round Table, the basis of which was human decency, although he acknowledged the presences of might and immorality, he attempted to redirect these forces  rather than directly improving the character of his knights. After Arthur had established the Round Table, he instructed his unified knights to convert their right into morality and act accordingly. “He had sent out the men of might to rescue the oppressed and to straighten evil…[until] the ends had been achieved, but the force had remained upon his hands unchastened” (White, 629). Reflecting upon his experience as ruler, Arthur recognizes that rather than emphasizing moral development, in order to redirect the force of might - he redirected the knights that practiced might over morality. Believing man was basically decent, Arthur allowed these knights to distinguish between might and morality. Thus, Arthur did not influence the force of immorality itself, but instead harnessed and redirected might. As Arthur allowed his knights to subjectively and individually distinguish might from morality – he fostered the development of moral relativism within the knights. This moral relativism excuses all actions of immorality – as one individual’s interpretation of morality often deeply contrasts with another. According to Mark Twain, the capability to individually determine distinction is the greatest infliction upon man. Thus, because no one perception of morality is superior to another, all actions - even those that are wicked - are excused as moral. As Mark Twain emphasizes, “The infliction upon man [is] of the Moral Sense: the ability to distinguish good from evil; and with it, necessarily, the ability to do evil; for there can be no evil act without the presence of consciousness of it in the doer of it” (The Damned Human Race). Twain concludes that evil actions cannot be committed without an evil conscious. Twain also contradicts the notion of moral relativism – as the Moral Sense man was afflicted with was not intended to be individually and subjectively determined. Rather, this Moral Sense finitely distinguishes morality from immorality - without the loose interpretations of morality from secular society. Therefore, because Arthur established the Round Table on the decency of man and fostered the development of moral relativism, he allowed society to “[abandon] its transcendent values...each individual’s moral vision [became] purely personal and finally equal,” (The Enduring Revolution). Consequently, Arthur not only fostered moral relativism, but the notion that all interpretations of morality are equally valid. Therefore, because Arthur established the Round Table on the decency of man and also enabled the development of moral relativism – he was unsuccessful in establishing civilization. Arthur’s civilization degenerated into an amalgamation of individual moral perceptions. Thus, Arthur’s faith in the decency of man caused the development of moral relativism and the equality of moral perceptions, and consequently prevented the establishment of civilization on the principles of morality.

Although Arthur was correct in his intent to establish civilization, because he maintained an unwavering faith in the decency of man, Arthur was incapable of successfully establishing a civilization of true virtue and morality. Though Arthur was able to physically unite his knights – this unity was not a perfect civilization. Arthur aspired to establish civilization, but each attempt at civilization was counteracted by the materialization of immorality and might. Therefore, although Arthur often improved civilization, it was always short of perfection. In the ninth book of the Republic, as Glaucon converses with Socrates, he states: “But the city whose foundation we have been describing has its being only in words; there is no spot on earth where it exists.” Paralleling this statement, though Arthur conceptualized a perfect, moral civilization, this conception did not develop into a physical reality. Socrates replies: “No; but it is laid up in heaven as a pattern for him who wills to see, and seeing, to found that city in himself. Whether it exists anywhere…is no matter.” Thus, Socrates emphasizes that although a perfect civilization may never be physically established, Arthur, a man of decency, was capable of establishing perfect civilization within himself.

04 September 2016

Rex the Traveling Dog

Yesterday, as my siblings and I went strolling about the neighborhood park, our loud dog was unusually quiet. Cautiously easing forward on his paws, he gently strained the leash, tugging us forward. As we wandered around the dense shrubbery, a friendly, smiling face greeted us.

As our dog encircled the unfamiliar form, his silent prowling had ceased, and he burst into a series of growls and barks that echoed across the park. As my siblings attempted to calm our dog, I examined the plastic figure more carefully, noticing the detailed waves in the fur of the dog. My eyes soon wandered to the letter tied to the soft collar of the dog. Slowly untying the knot and unfolding the letter, my eyes darted across the paper, scanning the surprising contents of the letter.

According to the note, the dog is Rex the Traveling Dog, and he has ventured across the United States and visited many cities and states.

As my siblings pored over the note beside me, although we were tempted to bring the plastic dog to our house, we ultimately decided to move the figure to a more obvious location and snap a few pictures.

Although this post did not involve any of my personal writing, this post does prove that writing is everywhere (including attached to the collars of plastic dogs hidden at the park).

To close, here side-by-side pictures of Rex and my real dog:

31 July 2016

Happy Birthday Harry! (and J.K. Rowling, Of Course)

In order to celebrate the birthday(s) of Harry Potter and his talented creator, J.K. Rowling, and the release of Harry Potter and the Cursed Child, I went over to a friend's house for a Harry Potter themed party. Although the party itself was entertaining, the intricacy of the decorations was the best aspect of the party.

30 July
Walking into the house, I was greeted by a cardboard cutout of none other than the Boy Who Lived himself. In the dining room, handmade candles fashioned from paper were suspended from the ceiling - creating the illusion of levitation. (Wengardium Leviosa, am I right?) The faces in family portraits were amusingly replaced with printed images of characters from the cinematic films. Lettered envelopes erupted from the fireplace as well. However, my favorite room in the entire house was interestingly the bathroom. A message was painted in red across the mirror, reading: The Chamber of Secrets has been opened, enemies of the heir...beware

Although a creative addition itself, the writing on the mirror was overshadowed by a sticker in an unsuspecting location. Behind a closed door, my immediate reaction to this sticker was a hysterical outburst of laughter.

The food at the party was also creative - my favorite snacks were the rich chocolate frogs and creamy Butterbeer served. Although I have minimal understanding of the recipe for Butterbeer, it was delicious.

 Besides the snacks, the activities were also entertaining, especially wand making. Though a simple concept requiring few materials, it's always good to stick with the classics. Did you attend an awesome Harry Potter party? Tell me all about it in the comments!

31 July
This morning, I also visited Pottermore, the official affiliated Harry Potter website that features a series of quizzes and short stories written by J.K. Rowling herself. Frantic to create an account before a wave of users surged to the website, I created an account and completed the quizzes. If you're interested in my results, here they are:

Hogwarts School of Witchcraft and Wizardry:

Ilvermorny School of Witchcraft and Wizardry:

21 July 2016

Just. Write. It.

Today, July 21st, is Just Write Day. Although a somewhat underground occasion, thanks to the writers and editors of a new creative writing magazine for teens, Just Write Day has become a much more involved occasion.

The magazine I am referring to is the British Illustrated Chronicle, (BIC), an inventive and informative literary magazine that features original flash fiction, comic strips, and short stories centralizing the theme, (in my own words), "writing over typing". Furthermore, the literary magazine is entirely created by hand. The content of the magazine is inventive and informative, but even more so I the creative layout and design of the publication. Custom, artistic fonts vary the style of the headers, complemented by unique borders and designs.

Nike Swoosh Copyright of Nike Inc.
Although the British Illustrated Chronicle has their own tagline and logo, I decided to create one of my own. (Just for fun, of course.) I mean, why "Just do it", when you can "Just write it"?

Here's what makes the British Illustrated Chronicle so interesting:

Typing? Never.
Rather than slapping their fingers across keyboards for hours each week to draft and edit articles for the B.I.C, each page, each paragraph, each sentence, and each word was painstakingly copied onto paper by hand - even as severe hand cramps settled.

Digital Imaging? Don't Mention it.
Instead, each contributor the magazine was depicted in a colorful caricature and added to creating the welcoming introductory pages of the chronicle. Furthermore, all depictions are original artwork created by the editors and contributors of the magazine.

Computer Generated Fonts? (I'm looking at you Times New Roman) Definitely not.
Although the text of the magazine is written by hand itself, the headers above this text is also originally handwritten. The header of each article is unique, featuring varying color schemes and styles. Though the final headers were stunning, I guarantee that it required a boatload of effort and practice (that's probably why I don't use hand-drawn, custom fonts).

Bottom line, if you're looking for quality entertainment that doesn't directly (and indirectly) involve electronics or anything digital, take a look at the British Illustrated Chronicle website and check out their new magazine!

20 July 2016

Patience in Painting

As I promised, here is another entry in the contest hosted at the Creative Writing Ink website. Although this prompt was updated on June 30th, here I am busting it out today. This painting, a piece of Edouard Manet, depicts a gentleman and a lady in a fine boat on the water. Thus, in my opinion, it was a lot more difficult to draft a corresponding short story for this prompt. Either way, I hope you enjoy reading it as much as I enjoyed writing it!

Patience in Painting
  "How about you move a little to the left, Madame Dane? A little bit more. Perfect."
  As I waved my hand to the left, gesturing to my subject to adjust her position, the back of my hand collided with a ceramic paint jar, hurtling it toward the patterned brick below my feet. Instinctively turning away, I winced at the sound of the jar splintering into shards. Worse, the paint within the jar was no longer resting on my easel, rather staining the red brick a deep blue. 
  Closing my eyes, I clenched my palette in my left hand, and massaged the hairs on my paintbrush with my thumb - spreading the paint onto my pale fingers. Sighing, I turned to my painting, relieved that I had completed the majority of the lake background and would be able to finish the piece with little difficulty. 
  Filling in the contours of Madame Dane with a thin brush, I used short, brisk strokes to add texture to her dress. Raising my brush, I added the final details to Madame Dane, stroking in her lips and flashing texture along her figure to maintain consistency.
  Stepping backwards to admire my work from a different angle, I noticed my other subject, Mister Ducort, glaring intensely at me. He displayed a menacing sneer, raising a single eyebrow and lightly twitching his lips.
  "Mr. Ducort, I do realize that is a difficult position to maintain, and I apologize for your discomfort, but could you please flash a smile for me? Thanks."
  Grunting, the man shifted his expression to a strained smile. Unsatisfied, I relieved him of smiling and requested that he maintain a neutral expression.
  Nodding his head, the man ditched smiling and settled for a more relaxed posture and resting expression. Having reached an agreement, the man did not bother to challenge his current pose or intentionally shift his position. However, as I moved to highlighting the water, I noticed a small object resting on the splintered bench of the boat.
  "What is that?" I asked, gesturing with my paintbrush in hand.
 Unsure whether to speak or not, Mr. Ducort and Madame Dane remained silent, maintaining their posture and not even casting a glance in my direction.
  "Mr. Ducort and Madame Dane, one of you please tell me what that is, it's altering the lighting and shadows on the bench."
  Sliding his leathered hands over to the object, Mr. Ducort hesitatingly clasped it in his palm, completely concealing it. Swallowing, the man knelt on one leg, extending his hands toward the heart of  Madame Dane, and produced a small box. Opening the box, an exquisite ring was neatly folded into white lace.
  Swallowing once again, Mr. Ducort asked in a bold tone, "Madame Dane, beloved, will you marry me?"
  Madame Dane did not exhibit any form of reaction. Unblinking, she maintained her posture and expression, refusing to glance toward Mr. Ducort. Flustered and disappointed, Mr. Ducort held his pose. I could tell that in his eyes, he was desperately hoping for Madame Dane's acceptance.
  Unsure of the proper way to react, I cried, "Madame Dane, forget posing for this painting and get on with it, will you?"
  At these words, she leaped from her seat and swung her arms around Mr. Ducort, knocking him to the floor of the boat.
  A smile glowing on her face, Madame Dane refused to stop repeating, "Yes, of course!"
  In order to offer the couple privacy, I gathered my supplies in an uncaring manner, and tossed them into my satchel. Still wet, I left the painting on my easel and walked in the opposite direction. However, before I had left the street, Mr. Ducort darted from the boat and trod over to me.
  "Thank you, Mr. Manet. Thank you for your patience and your time."
  With a grin, I replied, "Your happiness is the only currency I know, but I would still like to be paid."  

19 July 2016


This is another entry in the contest hosted at the Creative Writing Ink website. The picture below was provided by the website as inspiration for a short form of prose for the week of June 16th. However, I modified the picture so that it is consistent with the flash fiction.

   Although the air outside was warm, I shivered as I wandered throughout the long hallways of my house. Though I modestly refer to our residence as a house, it's really a mansion. This massive three story structure towers over the neighborhood, matched only by the extravagant floral display encircling our mansion.
  As I walked along the hallway, I admired our conservative family portraits, noticing our grim expressions and erect posture. The space between each portrait was consistent, forming a simple pattern throughout the hallways. My family and I were clothed in finely pressed garments and were positioned before a waterfall of black fabric cascading in the background. Although I enjoyed the portraits themselves, the most stunning aspect of the images were the frames that enclosed them.
  Unlike the pictures, which were nearly identical except for our age, each frame was unique and original. The most expensive frame was carved from raw gold, and engraved with our names and the intricate branches of a delicate tree. Conversely, the least expensive was simple in style and fashioned from plastic. However, the most striking frame was carved from ebony and depicted rolling waves along its border.
  The longer I admired the frame, the stronger the urge was to admire the frame without the distraction of the portrait of my conservative family. Running my tongue over my dry lips, I glanced in each direction, ensuring that I would not be discovered. Hesitatingly extending my limbs toward the frame, I barely managed to remove the frame the wall.
   Crouching, I silently dismantled the contents of the frame, removing the cardboard base and secondary layers. However, as I continued to bare the frame, I noticed a small, yellowed rectangle resting in a corner of the frame. The writing scrawled at the bottom was indecipherable except for a single word that I recognized: Katherine - my mother's name.
  Turning the slip in my hand, I recognized my mother's brown, flowing hair, but I did not recognize the boy with blonde hair running behind her. Clutching what appears to be my mother's hat, the boy was dressed in a drab gown with bright stockings and polished shoes. Although I did not recognize the young boy, something about him was familiar. Shifting the paper over again, I squinted my eyes and distinguished the penmanship of my father.
  Brimming with joy at this discovery, I pressed the image to my chest, closed my eyes, and imagined the waves frothing on the shore, the warm sand brushing my legs, and the childish, uncontrolled laughter of my young parents.
  I realized exactly what this image depicted - the first time my parent's had met, and it wasn't even framed.

15 July 2016

Push and Poll

Hey all! I'm letting you know that this post isn't about me or my experiences, but about you and your preferences. Here is the rundown: I've realized, (like many others), that Scribentia is a snooze button name for a blog (including a writing blog.) Thus, I've compiled a list of names, (and by that I mean only two). I would be very grateful if you took the time to vote at the poll below and decide between the two names I've configured. If you have a suggestion, please leave a comment below, I accept all recommendations and ideas.

This poll will remain active until I say so, (which means I have no idea when I will close it).

Here are the choices (so far):

Takes One to Noll One - This blog title is identical to the common phrase "takes one to know one", except I swapped in my list name. Easy to remember and straightforward? I think so.

Noll and Void - I'm especially intrigued by the opportunities posed by this blog title, because my tagline would be: Noll and Void - anything but. (Let's face it, that's also easy to remember and it's mildly humorous - which is a great combination.)

Scribentia - Sometimes, you have to stick with the classics. Although this name is the "same old, same old", if you like this blog title vote for it below. However, the purpose of this post and the corresponding poll was to find a new title for my blog.

Suggestions - If you think that your idea is a really good one, like I said before, I would love to hear it! Simply post in the comment below.

If you submit an answer to the poll, (that's right, as in clicking a button), leave a link to your blog in the comments and I will personally subscribe to your blog and comment on the most recent post or a post of your choice. Thank you in advance for all suggestions and answers submitted to the poll below!

What should the new title of my blog be?

Takes One to Noll One
Noll and Void
Sage Quotes

12 July 2016


Last week, as I was searching for writing prompts, I stumbled across Creative Writing Ink, an appealing writing website that weekly posts images. These images serve as creative writing prompts for bloggers and writers. These prompts are uploaded every Thursday, and are helpful in inspiring creativity and challenging a writer to draft a piece in any genre that relates to the image. (Although I'm over a month late for this first prompt response, I decided to draft one anyway.) I will continue to publish my responses to these prompts if (although I hope I do) finish responding to all the prompts. For more information about these prompts and the affiliated contest hosted on Creative Writing Ink, visit the links within this paragraph.

(Note: The image used for this prompt is a copyrighted image of Piotr Mamnaimie.)

© Piotr Mamnaimie

Alone - (Creative Writing Ink Prompt June 2)
  I was alone. Again.
  Lydia Bager, the manager of this cosmetic clinic, requested that I stay after hours to organize a recent shipment of facial products. Unnecessarily gesturing with her hands, she condescendingly explained that I was to arrange the products in an intricate display. The organization of products in layered tiers is a daunting task collectively. Individually, I knew that I would be at the clinic for many more hours.
  Sighing, I searched for the loose keys in my pocket. Randomly selecting a key on the ring, I viciously sliced through the tape expanding across the cardboard boxes. Tossing my keys to the side, I hefted each box into the air, and allowed its contents to spill onto the cold tile. Grabbing an armful of samples, I began arranging them.
  Hours later, as I was massaging my back from hunching over, the familiar form of a display became distinguishable. Relieved by my progress, I efficiently organized the remaining samples until I completed the arrangement.
  Allowing myself to grin slightly, I rose from my crouched position to leave the clinic. I then awkwardly shoved my arms into the sleeves of a long overcoat. Remembering that I had absentmindedly tossed my keys away hours earlier, I squinted my eyes, hoping to notice the reflection of my key ring. Wandering around the clinic, I recalled tossing the keys a short distance away from the samples. Returning to the display, I glimpsed the keys under a glass counter.
  Walking toward the keys, I mistakenly tripped over my long coat, stumbling into the display and scattering the arranged samples. As the display collapsed, I collapsed, tears streaking down my face in rivulets.
  Motionless, I realized that I was alone. Again.

10 July 2016

anecDON'T - Bee Up My Nose

It was a glorious day in the middle of spring. The grass across the street was a vibrant green, and the trees were fuller than ever. Peering out the window, I grinned, eager to venture outside. Frantically shoving my feet into my shoes, I laced a loose knot and bolted out the front door. I was greeted by a warm, welcoming draft that whistled across my face. Walking for a few steps, I then broke into a comfortable pace, jogging with ease.

I circled around a local park, and continued to the track of the neighborhood junior high. I was physically and mentally satisfied. The light exercise was relaxing, and allowed me to clear my head of jumbled thoughts. My hair was flopping in a steady rhythm, and my thin sneakers were pounding on the pavement in brief staccato. Approaching the dirt track, I slowed to brisk walk. Darting forward, I looped around the track four times.

After the fourth lap, I glanced at my watch: 5:27.

"Not bad, but I could probably go a little faster," I whispered to myself under breaths of warm air.

Resetting the stopwatch, I began to sprint forward. However, as I breathed in deeply, I felt a strange form squirming in my nostril. Shrieking, I crazily ran in all directions, constantly blowing my nose into my hands and forcing the shape into my palm and out of my nose. With tears streaking across my face, a bee popped out of my nose and continued flying, unfazed. Clutching my nose, I dragged myself back to my house.

Fortunately, when I returned to the house, no one was home, so I plopped myself onto the couch, gasping choked swallows of air. Although I did not immediately discuss this peculiar (and life threatening) incident with my parents, I was forced to explain what had happened as my nose became swollen from irritation.

Although this story is (unfortunately) true, I hope you enjoyed this anecDON'T. I plan on continuing this series on my blog and publishing other anecDON'TS in the near future. In the meantime, stay tuned!

02 July 2016

Comics, Comics, and Comics

I apologize for not posting this entire week, (mainly because I was occupied with a new obsession) - comic books! Comic books consist of sequential panels that represent the consecutive scenes of a graphic narrative. Many panels also contain word balloons that represent the dialogue exchanged between characters. However, uninterested in physically collecting comics, I purged the library for the few graphic novels they had, and unhesitatingly requested an abundance of accompanying graphic novels. 

Although I've only been reading superhero comic books, I've realized that these graphic novels are not only entertaining, but helpful in writing and creativity as well. This is especially true because regardless of the characters' variety, the characters are intricately connected in ways that could not be explained in either traditional novels or movies. Also, because comic books are narrated solely through dialogue, I've noticed that even within the past week, the dialogue within my writing has become more authentic and original. Comic books also differ from customary literature in that descriptions are unnecessary, because engaging images illustrate sequences of action without explanation.

Full of inspiration from reading comic books during the previous week, I was excited to create my own original comic strip! (No, this comic strip does not include the action, supernatural abilities, or entertainment of superhero comics.)

(And yes, I am aware that this comic strip is not remotely amusing, but it's the best I could come up with.) My concluding perspective on comic books is that if you are in need of inspiration or entertainment, comic books are a great option. They not only improve creative writing, especially dialogue, but they are also enjoyable - detailing the heroic exploits of superheroes and their companions.

My final words of encouragement:
in you writing abilities

26 June 2016

Five Kingdoms: Death Weavers Book Review

Brandon Mull, a modern fantasy author renowned for his inventive tales and descriptive language recently published his most recent work in his critically acclaimed Five Kingdoms Series: Death Weavers. Although this is the fourth book in the series, this work is not necessarily his best in the series thus far. This series details the adventures of Cole, a teenager abducted from our world, and his efforts to restore balance throughout the Outskirts, the intricately crafted world of the Five Kingdoms Series.

Plot: In relation to the plot, although the overall arc of the Five Kingdoms Series is intriguing and engaging, this work was lacking in the development of the plot. The introductory action of the novel was decently written. Within this introductory action, Cole strikes a bargain with an echo, (a wandering soul equivalent to a ghost). Mull then expertly foreshadows the severity and possible ramifications of this seemingly harmless bargain. However, as the consequential occurrences of this bargain unravel, the plot soon begins to unravel as well. His friends captured, Cole is alone, forced to rectify his mistakes by entering the echolands, an intermediary stage in the afterlife. Although I will not delve into the specific conditions of the echolands, within this setting, Cole treks across great distances to visit and converse with a series of people in hope of discovering the whereabouts of Destiny Pemberton, a princess that is critical to the revolution enacted throughout the arc of the Five Kingdoms Series. Although this in itself is a stable plot, as Cole continues to converse with others in the echolands, he is consistently redirected to another person that possesses the crucial information . Thus, the plot becomes redundant and unnecessary.

Setting: The setting of this novel is my favorite aspect of this work. Consisting of two contrasting environments - the echolands and the deadlands, these two regions compose the kingdom of the Necronum afterlife within the Outskirts.
 - (echolands) - Vivid descriptions, character to Mull's writing style, are seamlessly woven into the plot as this setting is characterized. However, the most intriguing aspect of Mull's description of the afterlife is the clever and original decision to incorporate various sounds into the setting - intertwining these sounds through correspondence with the inanimate and breathing objects of the echolands.

 - (deadlands) - Contrasting to the echolands is the deadlands, decaying territories directly opposite to the idyllic paradise of the echolands. The deadlands are ominous settings, adding depth to the darkness lurking there.

Characters: Mull's characters are often complex - acting in predictable and habitual manners and are thus perceived as authentic and believable. However, in this novel, although certain characters develop, some remain static throughout the novel - imprisoned or undeveloped.

 - Cole - Cole, the primary protagonist of the series, is the character within this novel that develops the most. Although Cole primarily exemplifies a glorious bravery, in this novel, without his companions, Mull represents the vulnerable aspect of Cole's character - introducing a more desperate courage than his expected bravery.

 - Mira/Jace - Although these two character are briefly mentioned - after their capture toward the beginning of the novel, they are imprisoned for the majority of the novel and do not develop. Although I acknowledge that in order for the vulnerability of Cole to be represented the absence of his companions was necessary, Mull could have included some description of their imprisonment or possibly failed attempts at escaping.

This is my first book review (ever). I hope you found this review informative and engaging. Although my recommendation of this book is not great, I do recommend investing the time in reading the Five Kingdoms Series, as the series itself is very interesting. If you would like to read other books by Brandon Mull, you can visit his website here.

20 June 2016

Ars Antiquua, Stipes Novus - (Old Art, New Post)

As I was purging through my closet yesterday, (besides a colony of spiders), I found a painting that I had created during one of my years of junior high. Prior to the assignment of this painting, my class and I had been studying African American artists, including painters, writers, sculptors, and weavers. As we progressed through this unit, we also read the poem: "The Creation", composed by James Weldon Johnson, and cited from The Book of American Negro Poetry. After being read this poem, we were distributed copies of this poem and were asked to find a passage that we felt that we could easily portray in a painting. After the first reading aloud, I knew exactly which area I would like to depict. 

(Although I did not include the complete poem, a link is posted above. However, I did include the passage of the poem that I chose to portray):

And He set that sun a-blazing in the heavens.
And the light that was left from making the sun
God gathered it up in a shining ball

Inspired by this passage, this is the painting that I created a few years ago (and found yesterday):
I hope you enjoyed this post, and I look forward to sharing new (and old) art and writing that I may find!

15 June 2016

Newbery Honor or Newbery Medal?

There are two distinct Newbery Awards - the Newbery Honor and the Newbery Medal. The John Newbery Medal is a prestigious literary award granted to "the most distinguished contribution to American literature for children", as inscribed on the insignia of the medal. The Newbery Honor award is granted to contributions of literature that although are recognized as significant, receive the worthy title of "Newbery Honor Book" instead of receiving a prestigious Newbery Medal. The Newbery Honor Books are often perceived as "runner-ups" to Newbery Medal Books.

For many years, although I was aware of the Newbery awards, I have remained unsure about the difference between a Newbery Honor and Newbery Medal. Frankly, when I read my first Newbery Honor Book, Charlotte's Web, I was not aware that this novel even received such a prestigious literary award. However, considering this novel, I realized that Charlotte's Web did affect me in a more moving and profound way than any routine series of chapter books. As I began to immerse myself in the lengthy list of books granted Newbery awards, these are the novels that most significantly influenced me as I read them, and long thereafter: The Westing Game, The House of the Scorpion, The Wednesday Wars, The Graveyard Book, The Underneath, The One and Only Ivan, The Island of the Blue Dolphins, Charlotte's Web, and recently, Bud, Not Buddy. (These books are in no particular order). 

Other Newbery Award Books
Although this second list of novels received either of the two Newbery awards, these books did not influence me as profoundly as the previously listed books. However, regardless of personal preference, these contributions to literature are not generic novels, and certainly received a Newbery Honor award for a reason. Therefore, my personal preference should not stop you from delving into any of these works: The Golden Goblet, The Bridge to Teribithia, The Great Gilly Hopkins, Dear Mr. Henshaw, The Sign of the Beaver, Hatchet, The Giver, and Paperboy.
What are your favorite Newbery Honor/Medal Books? Post in the Comments Section below

14 June 2016

An Acrostic for "Acrostic"

noun: acrostic; plural noun: acrostics
  1. a poem, word puzzle, or other composition in which certain letters in each line form a word or words

As stated by the dictionary definition of an acrostic, this form of poetry, puzzle, or general composition is a form in which specific letters in each successive line form a word(s). As I was contemplating how I could relate this interesting form of composition into a blog post, I realized that although I try to write at least every other day (hopefully more often), it is often difficult to think of creative writing prompts or exercises. Thus, as I stumbled upon acrostics, I decided to compose an acrostic for the word "acrostic". Although I created an acrostic for the term "acrostic", this creative exercise can be completed using any word - including the names of characters and places. Although acrostics limit detailed descriptions, this form of composition aids in flexing the creativity of a writer as a casual prompt. 








Creative Writing

(Although this acrostic for "acrostic" is a stretch, it is the best example that I could create.)
Also, if you would like to share any acrostics you have created, please post your acrostics in the comments section below this post.

11 June 2016

Centum Verbi (One Hundred Words) for One Hundred Pageviews

Today I earned the hundredth view of my writing blog, Scribentia. Having begun this blog on June 6, I am appreciative of the progress that this blog has made since that date. However, I am aware that one hundred pageviews is not an impressive number, especially considering that the most popular blogs attract over one hundred thousand unique viewer daily (and acknowledging that at least a dozen of the pageviews are my own. ) Regardless of the amount of pageviews, I will attempt to publish frequent posts that continue to maintain substance and relevance, and not sacrificing quality over quantity.

08 June 2016

Top Ten Reasons I Enjoy Blogging

10. It is very satisfying to view published blog posts
9. I can develop in my passion and interest for writing through research and publishing blog posts
8. I have the opportunity to write about writing
7. My writing is not restricted by specific assignments/prompts
6. (Although I am yet to have any comments on my posts), as soon as my blog posts are commented on, I will be able to discuss writing with other individuals that share my appreciation for literature
5. (As monochromatic as the Blogger themes are), I am able to customize and personalize my blog
4. My creativity is strained thinking of blog posts - even though it is only Day Two
3. Breaks are not dictated by the ringing of a bell
2. My summer break does not solely involve sleeping in/taking naps
1. I have an excuse to drown myself in caffeinated drinks - especially coffee and tea

During the academic school year, I was assigned a project with a similar premise. This "Top Ten" list was assigned for my Modern World History class and consisted of a compiled list of reasons relating to the historic downfall of an empire. Thus, I was inspired to produce my second blog post, in which I listed the primary reasons I enjoy blogging. However, do you have any suggestions that you would like to add to this list? If so, please comment in the area below. I would like to hear all suggestions.

(Although this is a drawing of a coffee cup, I prefer tea.)

07 June 2016

The Meaning of Scrībentia - (Pillar Post)

Scrībentia, the name of this blog, is a Latin term that directly translates into English as "the writing things". This name was chosen because although I am especially appreciative of classical literature; I am also fascinated by the Latin language. Thus, as a high school student, I am developing this interest through enrollment in a successive Latin course. However, this appreciation for classical literature translates to my own writing, as I  aspire to represent the sophistication of classical literature within personal composition. The posts that I publish and draft will be relevant and interesting, centralizing the themes of writing and creativity. In addition to detailed posts, I hope to include complementing visuals that I will originally produce and display. Valē, and thank you for your interest in this blog and in reading this post.
(Scrībentia written in detailed calligraphy)