Our Darker Side

One of my favorite Disney characters is Maleficent. The evil fairy of Sleeping Beauty. The Queen of all evil.

There are numerous other bad guys that I love. Why is that?
Dr. Horrible’s Sing-Along-Blog explores the bad guy. How he is really a good guy and the good guy is really the bad guy.
Why do we have a tendency to explore the darker side things? Why do we feel the want of dark power, the intrigue of mystery?
What is it that causes the villains to be evil, to be against the hero? What happened in their past to lead them to this stage? What are their thought processes?
How about Mirage from Incredibles, who has a weakness for power.
What about Meg from Hercules who sold her soul to Hades for true love, only to have it turned on her?
What about Harley Quinn? Harlene Quintzel was interested in the thought processes of the villains of Gotham City and became Arkham’s psychologist. However, during her sessions with the Joker, she came to understand him, hate Batman, and love the Joker. She became Harley Quinn to give Joker laughs and lift up his day.
It is this that I want to discover with my main character in the novel that I am working on. I am so intrigued by this prospect of good turning evil. My main character has power beyond anything else and is expected to save the world, but to save her love, she turns to Darkness. I can’t wait to write it.

History and Literature

I am a history teaching major and an English teaching minor.
My entire life as been so deeply embedded in these two subjects and I can’t imagince life without either one. In fact, I can’t imagine either subject without the other.

History is a form of story-telling. Has been since the beginning of time. The oral tradition was just that–a way of telling stories before written language. However, it was more than just stories, it was a way to pass down geneology and information as well as myths and legends.
Throughout time, history has influence literature, but literature has also influenced events in history.

I love both subjects so much and am amazed when people can’t see the connection between the two. I can’t wait to become a teacher and teach both subjects. I want to be abel to create an integrated class program. A class for both history and English. A high school version of Humanities.
I feel that is the best way we can learn about ourselves.

History is a novel for which the people is the author.

(Alfred de Vigny, Réflexions sur la Vérité dans l’Art)

"Once Upon A Time"

A poem I wrote about how history is a form of story-telling.

“Once upon a time,”
Starts every story, every fairy tale;
throwing us from the fire in the present
To the smoke of what was, and has been,
 All once upon a time. 

Once upon a time,
There was a princess with hair of fire.
 Gloriana was her name, a future Fairy Queen.
Knights in shining armor came to court
only to be turned away and sent across the sea.
Elizabeth the first ruled mighty England,
All “once upon a time.”

Once upon a time,
A mighty warrior rose from the misty plateau,
Shamans, with their runes, at his side.
Like a mighty plague, his army rode
thundering across the barren waste land.
Genghis Khan almost conquered the world,
All “once upon a time.”

Once upon a time,
A humble, barefoot tribe of forest dwellers
Connected to the spirits of the land,
Were invaded by pale men with lightening sticks,
Only to be saved by an unlikely couple.
Pocahontas meets her John Smith,
All “once upon a time.”

“Once upon a time”
Begins myth and legend, story and song.
“Once upon a time”
Begins our past, our story,
Our history.

Book Review | Nightjohn

4 of 5 stars
Nightjohn by Gary Paulsen
This is a very short (less than 100 pages) very young adult novel by Gary Paulson that only took me 45 minutes to read.

A twelve year old slave begins to learn the meaning of letters when NightJohn is brought to the plantation.

This short story has only a handful of events and it moves very fast. The characters are kind of flat and the plot isn’t real deep, but it was still a good read.

However, as a history teaching major, I see this as a very good opportunity to use in a middle school/junior high class as supplementary reading. Although linguistically, this book isn’t the greatest at all, it does allow (young) young adults to discover and step into the harsh life of a slave (even if it is a bit extreme). But that extremity pushes the beliefs and thoughts of the students, which is always good. 

Book Review | Kit's Wilderness

3 of 5 stars
Kit's Wilderness by David Almond
This was a very interesting, almost paranormal, fiction. However, it took a variety of sharp turns in numerous places.

Kit is from an old mining family and has just moved back to the old mining town where a few other children play a game called “Death.” As he becomes better friends with Allie and Askew, Kit learns the importance of stories and how they can become truth.

So, for the first 50 pages or so, I thought Kit was a girl! But then again, I grew up on American Girls and Kit was one of them.

Also what confused me a lot is the fact that other than the town name, we never know exactly where Kit is…I am guessing Wales, Ireland, or England, just based on some of the character traits of the old mining families.

The beginning was very grasping. It built up a lot of suspense and even though they got caught playing “Death” a 1/3rd way through, I knew there was still something bigger and darker to come. However, the ending was very lackluster and anti-climatic, I thought. Especially because Almond seemed to be leading the reader into a paranormal winter. (I won’t say more than that because I don’t want to spoil the ending.)

I do really love how Almond describes the process of storytelling: how you write what you dream and end up dreaming what you write. Story telling is truth and imagination at the same time. Writing is magic. All of these descriptions is exactly how I, as a writer, feel.

Pretty good book to curl up next to a fire and drink hot chocolate with. Middle school aged teens would even enjoy it.